How-to: Downsize Your Wardrobe

Since graduating college 34 days ago, I’ve already managed to go through a minor identity crisis. I found myself blankly staring at my closet the other day, utterly uninspired. It dawned on me that the clothes I’ve had for the past four years of my life seem almost like a time capsule of undergrad. It’s as if those clothes tell a story, but I’m already starting the next book in the series. Since an outfit is your unspoken first impression, I’ve not been feeling quite like “me” in the clothes I own. That sentiment, mixed with the new-found free time of being unemployed I’ve had the time to think. And rethink. And overthink. And…decide to downsize.

In this age of over-consumption, I have we all have too much stuff. I don’t know about you ladies and gents, but I for one am appalled by the amount of stuff I have: cosmetics, hair products, shoes, purses, costume jewelry, and CLOTHES. There’s no better way to force yourself to realize your “wealth” of goods than having to go through a move…into a smaller residence. After I packed up everything from my 850 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment in D.C. I had two hefty bags of donations for the Salvation Army—and this was after I sold many garments to girlfriends.

More recently I signed a lease to a 500 sq ft studio apartment here in NYC with significantly less closet space. What perfect time to weed out more unnecessary items, or anything I haven’t reached for in a while? Since this tends to be the time of year that many people relocate or maybe are just in need of a late “Spring Cleaning”, I thought this might be a good time to do a post for downsizing your wardrobe

1. Sort through and make three piles: Necessities, Consignment, Donations

Necessities: items you reach for multiple times a week for either work or lounge/leisure. Think blouses, blazers/jackets, suits, skirts, pants, work-pumps, totes/satchels, sandals, jeans, t-shirts, etc.

Consignment: “nicer” items you haven’t worn in over 2-3 months. If you haven’t reached for it since you came home with it, then you aren’t going to. NOTE: If the tags are still on, consider selling on eBay. If still within return policy, RETURN IT—there’s no sense in losing money over something you won’t enjoy using. Think: Theory, Rebecca Minkoff, Tory Burch, all the way to Alexander Wang, Balmain, and Dior, but for near-pristine designer duds, consider eBay before consigning for more money back on your investment ;)

Donations: items you haven’t thought to wear in over 6 months. These may be a bit more worn than some, less “nice” items (i.e. jeans, tees, flats, purses, sweatshirts, coats, dresses, etc). Think items from AE, Old Navy, Gap, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal…items you never paid over $80 for.

2. Anything you’re iffy on, put aside to go back to in a little bit.

* Ask yourself: – have you worn it in the past 1-2 months? Do you find yourself thinking about outfits around that garment? If not, it may be time to pass that garment on to someone else who will wear it. My philosophy: there is no use in holding on to something that takes up space if someone else will get more use out of it than you ever did.

3. Consignment + Donations

If you want to sell your stuff, check out: Second Time Around, local consignment shops

If you want to donate your stuff, check out: SAtruck.com to schedule a pick-up, Goodwill, Big Sister/Big Brother pickup, Savers

**Why didn’t wasn’t “Clothing Swap” listed? The aim of downsizing is to get rid of things that you do not want nor need. A swap will leave you with the same number of items even if you got rid of the ones you wanted to; it will still add to the clutter. Do not acquire if your wardrobe does not require.

Just remember: the less attached you are to objects the freer you’ll be.

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