Melissa Schmalenberger, Published August 25 2013
Ms. Simplicity: Between seasons closets need a thorough examWith the change in seasons comes a change is clothes. At least that is what I thought.
With a new school year brings the time when we wear our new school clothes of corduroy pants, jeans and sweaters!
But wait – it is supposed to be in the 90’s this week. We still have plenty of summer clothes wearing days left! The temperature gauge says I can still wear summer dresses and skirts. But I also have this feeling, almost a need to go through all of my clothes and purge to make room for the cute fall clothes that are on display in the mall and online.
For many of us, we simply don’t have room for two seasons at once in our closets. For me, I only have so many hangers and if I want to add something new, I have to take something away. So if you are like me, you may need some tough love when parting with some clothes.
When going through closets they are often the holder of secrets and obsessions and sometimes just odd items. Each item of clothing has its own story. In order to be effective in your closet overhaul you need to ask a series of questions with each piece of clothing. So as part of my tough love, here are some questions that I ask my clients when going through their closets:
1. Have you worn this in the last nine months? I usually like six months but with our four seasons we need more like nine months to get an accurate assessment. Not sure? Turn all of your hangers backwards in the closet. When you wear something, put the clothes on the hanger the proper way. After nine months you can quickly see what you are and are not wearing based on the position of the hangers.
2. Does it fit? We seem to hold on to clothes for that day when we suddenly can fit into those size 4 jeans. But every time we see those jeans we realize that we are not that size and then we go and eat a cookie. Release those clothes and know that when you are that size, you will be excited to buy the newest fashion and it is ok to say goodbye to your acid washed jeans. As an added point, don’t assume something fits, try it on.
3. Do you look great in it? Seriously, do you look great in it? Have you received a compliment while wearing it. Have a friend come over and help you with this part. Try on the clothes and have a fashion show. You will be surprised what others think you look good in!
4. Is it comfortable? I always like to try the sit-down-in-it test. If it feels good when I sit down it is a keeper. For me, anything with wool makes me itchy. I kept a wool sweater in my closet for way too long. I should have gotten rid of it 10 years earlier!
5. Is it in your closet because it was a “good deal”? I am guilty of it. I bought something because it was such a “good deal,” or I may have bought it in one color and decided to buy all the other colors because of the “good deal.” Be OK with letting that “good deal” go.
6. Did you pay too much money for it? This is the opposite of the “good deal.” We often feel guilty of paying the price and so we keep it, never wearing it an getting mad at ourselves each time we look at the item. Let go of it and free yourself of that feeling. Go the extra step of taking it to a clothes reseller or go on eBay or poshmark.com to see about selling it. Just get it out of your house and stop feeling guilty. Don’t wait too long or the unicorn appliqued sweater with shoulder pads will go out of style and nobody will want it confession ... I paid too much for that unicorn sweater back in the day … gulp!
7. Does it need to be mended/patched/ironed/washed? And are you going to mend/patch/iron/wash it? If not, get it out of your closet. Make a plan to do the mending/patching/ironing/washing within seven days or it is gone!
8. Is it in good shape? Imagine those shirts with the frayed collars or that sweater with a snag. I have this thing with clothes with little pills on them I think that is what those things are called}. The clothes with the pills just hang in my closet, not being worn. Yes, I know they make those little machines that will razor them off – I better buy one and get it done in the next seven days or out of my closet those clothes go!
9. Does it have a sentimental hold on you? Most closets contain an outfit or two that we are holding on because: a) we wore it on our first date. b) we wore it on our honeymoon. c) we wore it when we got engaged. d) we wore it when we won an award. e) it is our lucky shirt. f) it is our lucky tie, etc. Really take a look at it and see yourself wearing it again. Can you take a picture of it? I will let you in on a secret: the clothes didn’t make that special event happen, you did!
Giving yourself a closet overhaul is not an easy exercise. Take this list of nine questions to ask yourself as you tackle your closet. Break it up into smaller bite size chunks. As the saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Maybe you do 10 items a day. Or maybe you start with your spouse’s clothes. My husband’s clothes are easy for me to purge.
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a professional organizer based out of Fargo and her website can be found at www.mssimplicity.com