One of the first lessons I learned when I went on a year of no shopping is that your closet can make or break it. In fact, for me, it was often the trigger to go on a shopping spree. You know this story; you are trying to decide on what to wear for a night out and you come to the conclusion that nothing is cute enough or fits correctly and that you must go to the mall. Right? Except I would come back with the same pair of jeans I bought a few months prior because…shopping problems (hence the no shopping)…and I couldn’t find those freakin’ jeans in my closet.
Can you relate to this?
On the flip side, you know when you find an outfit that you feel so sassy in, and it’s really comfortable? It’s like winning the lottery (or so I’m guessing)! Yeah, it’s amazing. And I always think, Why isn’t it that easy every.single.time I get dressed?
I have a saying that I often preach: clutter breeds chaos. And friend, you can apply that to almost every area of your life, but especially your closet and your money. You see, we have to wear clothes every day (I know, I know) which means, your closet has a huge impact on you and on your wallet, so like your money, you have to take care of it. And organizing it is one of the first steps to building a closet you love that works for you and your finances. You can get started in three easy steps:
#1. Remove items that don’t fit (ahem) or feel amazeballs
Listen — I know you might think that those pants you are working to fit into are motivating (and for some people, perhaps they are), but for most of us, it is a reminder of where we are not instead of where we are now. But here’s the thing, friend: one of the keys to our happiness is loving where we are NOW. And that mindfulness, patience, understanding and gratitude is truly needed before we can move forward.
PRO TIP: Go through your closet and create three piles of clothes: Love, Leave, or Maybe. The Love pile goes back into the closet (neatly!). The Leave pile you donate or sell. The Maybe pile needs to get into the Love or the Leave. After one month, if you wear it and you liked it, you can keep it. If you didn’t wear it, odds are you won’t!
#2. Make sure you can see it so you don’t forget it
Because I am on a year of no shopping, I am “shopping” in my closet, and the phrase I keep freaking saying is, “I forgot I had that!” I don’t recommend this. You should be able to see everything in your closet, and if you can’t see it, it should be intentional. For example: you decide to move certain items you wear all of the time out of sight, so you can start wearing some of the other items in your closet. In that case, hiding is good. But let me just toss this out to you: some studies say that women only wear about 20% of what is in their closet…WHAT!? And I’m guessing a lot of that is because we aren’t keeping it organized or we don’t actually like what’s in it.
PRO TIP: If your closet is messy one week after you organize it, you aren’t making it easy to put your clothes away. It needs to be easier to put away your clothes than it is to get them out.
#3. Create some “mood” sections
You know emotions are driving a lot of our decisions, right? Well, we usually get dressed in the morning based on how we want to feel (at least I do). However, a lot of us organize our closets (usually) by function. To me, that doesn’t make any sense!
When I lived in NYC, I worked for a very busy PR & marketing firm, and we ran a lot of events. And, like most NY events, we were required to wear black. Fast forward to Denver and I found myself with a black wardrobe in a really sunny city and it just wasn’t working. But, I could not replace a whole wardrobe, nor did I need to. So I decided I could obtain small pieces that showed my personality more and began creating my “funky” section in my closet; crazy pieces that sing to my heart and are easy to pair with my black wardrobe. It was the zip I was looking for. I also have a “badass” section (which is my go-to for big meetings) and a workout section, which makes it really easy to grab clothes to hit the gym. Get creative and give this a whirl.
PRO TIP: If you are struggling to figure out what sections to create, simply think about the events, days etc. that have you trying on outfit after outfit, or times when you need it to be really easy so you can get out of the house quickly, like working out or driving your kids to school in the morning. Those moments are great indicators of a special closet section that might be beneficial to you.
So, if we are only using 20% of our closet…basically, the other 80% is clouding your decisions, slowing you down in the morning and taking up precious space! Let’s change that.
You don’t have to have a lot of items in your closet — you just need the right items. And when I say “right,” I mean ones that make you feel like a badass! Your closet is setting you up for your day, so let’s be sure it’s setting you up for success. Your time and your wallet will thank you.
Brianna Firestone is the founder of The School of Betty, a platform that empowers women to create better relationships with their money, time, and energy so they can build financial freedom and lessen stress. Download her 5 Actions to a Badass Money Relationship here.
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