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Eliminating/Simplifying clothes clutter

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  • Eliminating/Simplifying clothes clutter

    I posted a similar post and got tons of answers that dealt with "how to donate/sell/discard clothes" that's not what I seek. I know how to donate/sell/discard clothes. My question is ideas on simplifying wardrobe.

    I am not wealthy and therefore have some clothes that are almost a decade old that I still wear. I rarely discard clothes becuase that may mean buying more later on. wardrobe feels a bit discombobulated. I've inherited a bunch of suits from my father, which I dislike. I like cheap 3-piece "my kind" of suits. I guess the goal is to have 3 good 3-piece suits I like. a set number of collared tie-shirts (I have like 17 collared shirts, how do you whittle those down??) athletic/workout clothes, and maybe 2-3 pairs of casual clothes (2-3 pairs of jeans 2-3 collared short-sleeve shirts, etc).

    I do the same thing with shoes. I don't want to spend money buying new shoes so old shoes even if I rarely wear them I keep. I'e had one pair of boots I've probably worn 3 times in the past 5 years that I keep because if I discover they might be useful for something, it'd be hell to buy them if I through them out. I think bare minimum i'd want/need would be 1 pair of dress boots, 1 pair of athletic shoes, and sandals.


  • #2
    I am rather wardrobe challenged, i struggle a lot with shopping.

    Basic tips:
    - get clothes that are easy to care for. If something is hand wash i rarely wear it. Same for dry cleaning, wash separately etc.
    - colour coordinate. Helps with laundry, and also means more clothes go together.
    - pick a uniform. Something you really like wearing that suits most situations you are in.

    The GTD part:
    Outcome: What situations do you need clothes for? Work, church, gardening, sports etc. Also take into account how often you need something and how often you do laundry. If you go hiking once a month, more than one set of clothes for that is overkill.

    So now you hopefully have some colours and styles you like to wear, and know how many of each.
    Next action: get rid of everything else. Fill in what is missing. If you really need to, box up some clothes for emergencies, but try not to use them. Set a clothes budget. Even if it's a small one. You ought to spend this until you have all the clothes you need from above.

    In the end you should hopefully have a wardrobe that's you, that you like wearing, that combines well and that fits your life.


    • #3
      Originally posted by vernek View Post
      II am not wealthy and therefore have some clothes that are almost a decade old that I still wear. I rarely discard clothes becuase that may mean buying more later on. wardrobe feels a bit discombobulated. I've inherited a bunch of suits from my father, which I dislike.
      First start by going through your entire closet and actually try on everything and see what fits and what you like. If it doesn't fit but you like it then decide if it can be altered by a tailor. If yes then put it in a get tailored pile and start a project to find a tailor. If it doesn't fit, can't be altered or you don't like it then get rid of it.

      A related parallel project is to figure out a set of core colors. The goal is to have a few base neutral colors and some accent colors. Once you've defined your basic color scheme you can define your purchasing by only getting things in those colors. There is a whole body of evidence that people tend to look good in certain sets of colors based on their hair, eye and skin color. Most use a seasonal approach, defining your best colors as spring, summer fall or winter. While I haven't seen much about seasonal colors for men I know it's out there.

      Another project is to define the places and events you need clothing for and build a capsule wardrobe based on those needs within your colors. Think of the basic pieces that you can then mix and match to get an outfit that will look pulled together no matter what. The goal is that everything in your closet can be worn three ways.

      Look at your body type/shape and pick styles that will make you look good. Both patterns and lines in clothing make a huge difference in how you look and what works for one size or shape may be completely wrong for another.

      Most of the on-line help is focused for women but if you google things like capsule dressing, seasonal colors and wardrobe basics you should get a start on how to decide what to keep and how many. Some of it will be based on your laundry situation, hubby and I wear the same size work jeans, we have about 15 pairs between us. I have 2 skirt/jacket outfits.

      A few other suggestions buy only natural fabrics and pay more for well tailored clothes or get them altered to fit. Natural fabrics (wool, linen, cotton, hemp, silk, ramie) will last longer, breathe better and be easy to care for. A well made conservative 3 piece suit in a nice wool gabardine may last and be stylish for 20 years or more. You can always update the look with a fancy shirt and tie. If it's a tweed you can wear the pants with a sweater for a more casual look or put the jacket over jeans to make them look less casual. Compared to a cheap polyester suit that takes oil to make, can't be altered easily and will wear out in a year or less the wool suit may cost 5 times as much but if it lasts 10 times longer it's still a bargain. Look at the cost per wear for all items.

      A lot of things that say dry clean can be laundered at home if done carefully. Just hanging up your clothes out to air and steaming them will do a lot to reduce dry cleaning on those things that must be dry cleaned.

      I have a black velvet dressy outfit I bought 15 years ago. I don't wear it often but when I need a really dressy outfit I have one and it should last me another 15 years if I don't change my weight too much. It was very expensive but a good value for the money. I have a couple of wool sweaters that I am the 3rd generation to be wearing. They should outlast me and I'll pass them on to someone else. They are at least 50 years old and still look good.


      • #4
        Hmmm this might be a good place to try using something like the Noguchi Filing System.

        Basically, take your laundry and hang it all up on the left-most section of your closet. If there's anything left over there from the last time you did laundry, move it over to the right.

        This should have a tendency to filter all your most-used clothing to the left side of your closet. On the far right might be things like suits or tuxedos or whatnot -- things you don't wear very often, but which you need to wear when you need to wear.

        In the middle is the stuff you don't really wear or want to wear and might be able to get rid of, or at least put into less-active storage. There might be some seasonal effects too.

        Hope that helps a bit,


        • #5
          Similar to the left/right sorting of your closet, another tip I like for simplifying wardrobe by eliminating unused items is to turn all your clothes hangers around so the hooks face forward. Do this on a memorable date (New Years, Birthday, etc.) or make a 1-year reminder. As you wear your clothing throughout the year, hang them up normally. At the end of the year, you can easily see what items have not been worn for a year and can eliminate or store for infrequent use.