New closet, new rules

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As described in an earlier post, Cleaning out the closet, I pared down my wardrobe to 50-ish items before moving from my mother’s house to my own flat.  I am slightly ashamed to say that I did rescue one sweater from the purge pile, but I did add another shirt to the purge pile in its place.  I also have a plan to make sure I only possess the articles of clothing I actually wear.  I am going to share that strategy with you now!

I put my hangers in backwards.  Every article of clothing in my closet went in on a backwards hanger.  As I take out items to wear them, and they go back into the closet, the hanger gets reversed to the “normal” position.  At the end of a certain period of time, whatever is still on a backwards hanger gets donated or sold, because I’m clearly not wearing it, so someone else should get the chance.  Some of the things in this closet have the tags on, and they were purchased months ago. Yikes.

Tee shirts are in an under-bed storage bin, all facing down.  As I wear them, they can get put away facing up.  I rarely wear tee shirts so that should be an easy purge in a few months.

Typically, I sort by color, but I sorted my clothes by type this time.  Tank tops, short-sleeve blouses, pants/shorts, dresses, sweaters, dress clothes.  I think, for dresses, pants, shorts, tanks, and short-sleeves, I will re-evaluate in six months and take a look at what I wore and what I didn’t.  For sweaters, obviously I’ll need some colder weather before I evaluate that. Ideally I would like to own only one suit, but my mother (she should get her own tag) assures me that, in case one pair of dress pants rips, I should have a backup.  And a backup for my backup.

I’ll wait a few months and probably pare down the dress clothes too.

I would like to — ideally — end up with a color palette of “stuff that goes with black” or “stuff that goes with brown” and not have to deal with both… for now, I have blacks and browns and I love them both.  Baby steps.

18 thoughts on “New closet, new rules

  1. helen says:

    I love your tip with the hangers, brilliant in its simplicity!

    I’m off to rearrange my hangers now, thank you!

  2. Tiffany says:

    Caitlin, I decided I was not going into another year with clothes I did not wear because of size or the weather did not allow me to. A few years back, I purchased some boots I thought I had to have didn’t get a chance to wear them, because the weather didn’t permit me to it never get that cold where I stay to wear something like that I knew it ,but went head first into buying them when I think about that I reflect back on Miss Minimalist post about her fantasy self buying things you know you want use never anymore I donated and felt so much better after the purge.

  3. Lana says:

    Hi there. May I suggest a book (you can borrow it from a library) called “Color me beautiful”? It is an older book, but it gives an excellent description of which colors might suit you (and so based on that you can pick black or brown as a base) and really minimize your wardrobe and make sure that everything goes with everything. I think it works well with minimalist philosophy.

    • Caitlin says:

      I’ll look for it at the library! I have a good handle on what tones and colors work for me (lots of years of trial and error) so I feel pretty confident, but I am always happy to see some new ideas. Thanks for the tip!

  4. verdant1 says:

    UI’ve come to you form Miss Minimalist – one of my favourite blogs.
    I love the idea with the hangars and folding. Much easier than the speadsheet I ran for a while when I did Project 333! I will head off to re-organise my wardrobe shortly🙂
    BTW I found in the past that a lot of browns go fine with black: I went for several years with a wardrobe that was mainly chocolate and black! I prefer a wider range of colours now (I’m easily bored!), but have recently committed myself to palettes for cool and warm weather with some crossover colours (because, like you, I don’t see the point in owning tonnes of stuff).
    Colour Me Beautiful is a good book – your library will probably have lots to choose from. I’ve found Brenda Kinsel’s books quite sensible, though aimed at women older than you.

    • Caitlin says:

      Glad you like the hangers idea! And I am finding that browns and blacks can go together as well🙂 Thank you for commenting and for your tips!

  5. Natalie says:

    Pairing black and brown works excellent for me. Acutally, my favorite outfit is built with a pair of black pants and a brown cardigan. To that I would wear a white top to brighten things up a little. In summer I would match with black ballet flats and in winter with brown boots. (: Other colors that I find go well with this (and that look good on a color-me-beautiful autumn) are navy, olive green and orange. But those could be substituted for just about any color in my opinion. So for my brown-white-black base I would add one of those colors to make the outfit more interesting. That’s what works for me. Good luck finding your color palette! (:

  6. JMK says:

    I believe that Color Me Beautiful book was from the 80’s when “getting your colors done” was all the rage. My mom and I went to a consultant and had it done. They cover your hair (if you colored it) and then draped various colours of fabric across you to determine what suits your skin type the best. In the end you are identified as a Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall. Then you are given a set of mini color swatches (like those paint chip samples that fan out) to carry with you when you shop. At the time I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but it was brilliant. I didn’t immediately take their advice and replace half my wardrobe, but going forward I stopped buying things in colors that just didn’t work with my complexion. Turns out I’m a Winter and have the perfect hair/skin colour for black/white primary and jewel tones. Certainly explains why a lovely brown/cream/teal outfit could looked great on the manequin but not so much on me. I look pale or even ill in those colors. But change that to black, white and turquoise and I look fabulous. FYI – there might have been a tan in my spectrum of colors, but definitely no brown. Black, tan and white would work together (if you are a winter), but if you buy into this theory nobody should be using both black and brown as a base color – they are meant for two completely different skin/hair families. The hair is the issue for most people – I’d venture to say most people who color their hair pick a colour they like, but which doesn’t occur naturally with their skin colour. Then you try to dress to compliment two things which don’t really belong together.
    I find at least having the color theory info in mind when a new trend hits is helpful. If orange is all the rage, great. Knowing your season just helps you filter through all the oranges and only consider the appropriate tones (peach vs pumpkin). There isn’t anything orange in the winter palette so if I absolutely have to take part in the orange trend, I’ll buy an orange notebook or pen. In hindsight, wearing a pure white wedding dress was right for me, but imagine all the brides who automatically wore white without considering ivory when it might have been much more flattering. On the other hand, when I look back at our engagement photo I cringe at the coffee colored blouse I wore. It was beautiful, but completely the wrong color on me. I borrowed it for the occasion to coordinate with the brown suit my fiance had. Wrong color for him also. A year later we had another formal picture taken. By then he had a navy suit and I wore raspberry. We look so much better its like night and day.

    • Caitlin says:

      I look bad in pastel and light tones. I’m so pale! I’ve figured out over the years that some colors just don’t work on me. Part of the minimalist wardrobe for me is cutting out the things that are nice but just not for me. Thanks for commenting! Sounds like you’ve got your wardrobe figured out!

  7. Timmy says:

    Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to
    have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work.

    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

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