Wardrobe Management/Organization/Simplification - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-08-2005, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, ladies. I just KNOW you guys are LOTS more knowledgeable on this than I am. I love finding bargains both new and used, but tend to buy clothes based on price rather than usefulness. Hence, I've ended up with lots of clothes (I get hand-me-downs from lots of sources too) and only one or two ITEMS I actually like wearing. I've discovered www.stylemakeovers.com and it helped me find my colors (I love their quiz and it was free!) so I think that will help. They also had a closet cleanout checklist I loved.
Keep or Toss:
*I've worn this item in the last year (1 point)
*Fits well (3 points)
*Not quite right, but I'll have it altered (1 point)
*It's in one of my colors (3 points)
*It's in good condition (2 points)
*The styles are current and classic (2 points)

Score key:
8-11 points--keep
5-7 points--unclear
0-4 points--toss

Unclear:
1. Do you like wearing it?
2. Do you feel uncomfortable in it?
3. Does it mix and match well with at least 3 other pieces?
4. Does it fit or does it need to be altered?

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, get rid of it.

This really helped me to start discovering my style and what I like. I've also started what I call a "style notebook". It's a blank spiral-bound journal that I cut pictures from magazines & sale ads or print from the internet of clothes and jewelry and shoes, etc I like since I'm still trying to figure out what I like. I've tried for years to like wearing suits and finally realized that I always feel miserable in them and was finally able to decide that I am NOT going to wear something that makes me miserable. I'm switching to cardigans which I love. I've also discovered that I really, really love Blue Canoe bras and they hold up so well they are definitely worth the price. And I'm even looking into buying some things that are expensive, but worth it because they will last or in the case of shoes (I walk EVERYWHERE) keep me from limping because my feet hurt so bad or having to go see a doctor. But I'd really like to make a clothes buying schedule/budget. I'd like to be able to say, okay, every year I'm going to buy 2 Blue Canoe bras, 2 pairs of loafers, 2 sweater sets, etc or whatever. Oh, I should also explain that I live overseas where I cannot find any clothes or anything else (shoes are awful, bras are one-size-fits-all-except-me, and none of the clothes have enough room for either my shoulders or my butt.). I'm in the US for only a few weeks a year and what I buy/pick up then has to last the whole year AND fit in my suitcases. I'm also worried that when I have kids, how am I going to figure out how many clothes THEY need for a whole year! I really need some help ladies. Does anyone have any ideas? I'd also love to know what you all consider the best "mommy clothes". (You know, comfy, breast-feeding/pregnant/kid friendly, machine washable, but still decent to be seen in)

Oops, didn't mean to write a book.
TIA,
Kate
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#2 of 13 Old 02-08-2005, 02:14 PM
 
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I've been doing a major closet overhaul lately so I can tell you what I'm doing.
The first thing is that I'm still losing weight from being pregnant. I gained over 60 pounds and have lost about 40(trying to curb my sweet tooth is ht ebiggest obstacle now). Anyway the very day I notice something is too baggy it goes in a box for donation and I get it out as soon as I can. I don't want it around as a crutch if I start gaining again, and I don't want to waste closet space on stuff I don't wear.

I allow myself one duffel bag os stuff that's too small. About every 6-8 weeks I go through the bag. I usually manage to rescue a couple things that fit again, and toss a few in the donation bag.

I thought about what colors I wear a lot that work well together and now won't buy anything that doesn't fit that criteria. For me, it's black, white, gray, pink, and denim. Colors I like, they look good on me, and are easy to mix and match. This helped me get rid of a lot of those things I had, liked, and never wore because it didn't match anything else I had. I'm still holding on to a few things not in those colors that I've just had forever, but eventually I'll be able to give them up. In hte summer I plan to add turquoise to the list. It's also pretty easy for me because I almost never have to dress up- I don't need seperate wardrobes for work and weekend or anything liek that.

Everyhting needs to be machine washable. I don't have the time or money for special washing instructions.

As for mommy stuff- comfort is super important. Easy washing. I stay home with my toddler so I need to always be able to crawl on the floor, bend over to lift him up, not care too much if it gets dirty, and be able to lift my shirt for nursing. I mostly wear jeans and sneakers, but I like to look good in them. So jeans that flatter and have some stretch, shirts are fitted not baggy, layers that look nice. Nursing access for me means nothing so tight it can't be lifted without exsposing my whole middle, no halter tops that need to be untied and prqctically taken off, etc.. I've never bothered with nursing tops but some women swear by them. Good nursing bras help a lot but don't buy too many in any one size. In my experience your size and shape changes too quickly and you'll need a new size pretty often.

I no longer buy anything I don't absolutely love and know for sure I will wear. Having strict rules for myself about what I will keep helps me shop quickly and weed through hand-me-downs in a flash. I get lots of handed down stuff for ds and I both.

I'm not sure how I'd handle having to buy a years worth of stuff all at once. I'd probably start with brands I know I liked. Do a big wardrobe declutter before your trip and make a list of what you know you need. Definitely try everything on. How much to buy will depend in part on how often you change clothes and how often you can do laundry. Baby clothes would be tough for me too. Where I am we have 4 seasons so it would be hard to judge what size we'll need for different weather. If you're someplace that is pretty much the same all year it would be easier. Can you use e-bay and other online shopping for baby clothes or is shipping too expensive?

Well I can't think of anyting else but maybe hopefully my rambling will help you a bit, at least hearing what someone else does. Good luck.
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#3 of 13 Old 02-09-2005, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SarahNH,
Thanks! Your post was super helpful. I've also been keeping a small duffle bag of too small clothes! I've lost 50 lbs in the last few of years and seem to lose a few more each year as I tweak my diet into no meat, no sugar and now trying no dairy & eggs. This year, I brought clothes in three sizes because I wasn't sure how it would go. I've started opting for elastic in the waist so if I lose a little weight...it doesn't fall off. I love the six or seven color idea. At one time, I bet I had clothing in 40 different colors! : I think it's closer to 20 now. I'm going to go see if I can at least get it down to 10. Maybe after a month I can reduce further. BTW, did you choose certain colors for your dc's clothes as well?

Thanks again for your help. Wow!
Kate
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#4 of 13 Old 02-09-2005, 11:46 AM
 
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Glad it helped.
What I did to help decide what colors to keep/allow myself to buy was to decide which 'neutral' I wanted. In my mind there are 3-black, brown/beige, and navy. I like black the best, it looks great on me, and I already had a bunch. SO now I'll never have to worry about having hte right shoes in the wrong color or anything like that, y/k? And then pretty much all I wear is jeans. So I went from those two things.

I haven't done anything like it for ds for a few reasons. The first is, I don't have to buy his clothes. Seriously, we get so much as hand-me-downs from friends/family and gifts from grandparents, I can count on two hand the items I've had to actually go buy for him. Just a pair of shoes here, a hat there, to fill in around the edges for the season. Second, when I do go shopping for him it's hard enough to find anyhting appropriate for his age, size, and the season, that fits my tastes at all, I don't want to make it harder on myself by having more rules. Third, he mostly just wears really bright colors and a baby looks cute in color combinations that would be ridiculous on you or me. If I had to buy all his stuff and could afford to buy new/have lots of options I would probably do it.
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#5 of 13 Old 02-09-2005, 12:44 PM
 
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Oh, good questions! And if I can add one... What do you do with clothes you think you might wear again in 1.5 to 2 years after you're no longer pregnant and have lost the pregnancy weight? I'm struggling with this now as I have a bunch of stuff I haven't worn in ages, and have no idea when I'll be able to wear again. Like summer dresses that haven't been worn in 2.5 years because of pregnancy/nursing and likely won't be worn for 3 or 4 more years for the same reasons!

Ok, I guess I'm answering my own question... If it's going to face 4 years of non-use I might as well get rid of it!

My favourite (non-pregnant) Mommy-wear is yoga pants and t-shirts/hoodies. Jeans with a little stretch are also good. Next step up in the not-quite-as-casual category is basic khaki pants and a button down blouse.

My daughter wears whatever I come across that looks comfortable and practical. I hardly ever buy new clothes for her, and prefer to get most things gently used from other sources. I really dislike the idea of children walking around as advertisements for giant companies, so I try to avoid clothing that uses her as a billboard. Most times when I have bought something new for her it's been from a WAHM. Makes me feel good to support another mother, and she's always asking "who made that" so it's nice to have an answer.

Melanie
Magical Mama, joyfully home educating my three wonders: FR (12/02), EG (05/05), DK (06/09)
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#6 of 13 Old 02-11-2005, 04:10 PM
 
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If I had to simplify my wardrobe, I'd probably cut down on nursing clothes. Just a dress and a couple tops for going out (like today, when i had to nurse at the ped's office). Otherwise, I've found a simple top and cardigan work just fine. I didn't bother with much maternity clothing either. Just got comfy knits tops that were stretchy and boxy, which I can still wear post-preg.

I think the idea of having a base wardrobe of neutrals is a good one, then you can add sweaters, scarves or jackets for accent. Most of my wardrobe is black, and the rest are in what my friend calls "bruise colors": burgundy, olive, navy mostly. I still have a lot of things to weed out, which I never wear, like the few times I tried pastels or too-bright colors. About suits and jackets, I found that I can only wear blazers with high lapels or no lapel. Everything else looks ugly on me. Once I figured that out, it's been easier to shop for office clothes. I look for new or LN things on ebay--some sellers might ship overseas. Otherwise, you could figure out a designer that you like and go shopping at their outlet, if you are on a budget. Key thing when you're traveling is to make it easy to maintain. Merino wool sweaters hold up well and do not pill. I also like lightweight fleece separates for wearing around the house since they don't wrinkle.

Good luck!
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#7 of 13 Old 02-11-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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In my BC life (before child) I wore a suit everyday in my sales job. That was 3 years ago next month. I donated all but 2-3 that can be worn for a funeral etc if needed. I literally donated 76 suits and dresses total. I was a clothes horse. but, since I would not be wearing them again for a while they would go right out of style or look dated. So off they went. I still keep my leather briefcase that I think will be a diaper bag next time around. I had some unopended hosiery I donated to a woman's shelter along with a copier/printer/scanner fax machine and some very good stock paper for resumes. They were very grateful.

But if you have clothes you know you wont be wearing for a while, toss or donate them. They will be dated and my rule right now is- if its not from this century get rid of it!

I am of the mindset, if its in a box somewhere and you have not used it- let someone else use it or get rid of it.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#8 of 13 Old 02-11-2005, 08:29 PM
 
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wow, AllNatural, that is serious! :LOL

Here is my skeleton, ok there are 4, shoes, tank tops, skirts and jeans. I easily have 50 pairs of jeans, 100+ easy tank tops, too many high heels to count and many, many skirts (6 years in Phoenix=summer staple).

I cannot part with anything. Jeans are classic.

I did just give away ill fitting clothing. I was a 0/2, post baby, an 8/10, back to a 2/4. So I have everything on the spectrum.

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#9 of 13 Old 02-12-2005, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys always have such great ideas. I managed to decide on colors this week. Navy, denim, berry, pink, burgundy, blue, violet, cream. And for now I'm going to keep my black and white items until I can gradually switch them to navy or cream. I'm thinking I might add khaki at some point since it would work well with almost all of my other colors. I saw some pictures of myself in black a few weeks ago. It is NOT my color. But would you believe that 90% of my clothes are black.....hey, black matches black and it's easy to find! But looking like walking death is not what I'm aiming for. I should have listened to my mother and grandmother. They've been telling me I shouldn't wear so much black. I'm still working on a buying plan/needs list. Did you all know you could order FREE swatches from Lands' End on most of their clothing items? I just found out. And I ordered a bunch of the swatch samples in "my" colors. So I'll see which ones match clothes I have and which ones would go with what I have and take them with me when I go shopping to make matches! I want to go to someplace like Lowe's or Home Depot and get some paint swatches too.

So, do any of ya'll have a list like
3 pairs of jeans
3 summer skirts
2 denim skirts
2 winter skirts
6 tank tops
4 short sleeve tees
2 turtlenecks
2 pullover sweaters
2 twinsets, etc, etc, etc that you go by and each season you check off yep, got what I need for summer, oops, I'm going to have to buy a new wool skirt and twinset this season. The above list is just an idea. I'm wanting to work out something like that, but I've had a time trying to figure out how many of each item I need. I know, I'm kind of OCD on this, but if YOU had three months to go before you could buy clothes and you didn't own one pair of panties without holes, you had a stone tank top, a black long sleeve tee with a small hole over one breast, a really worn berry cardigan, a dressy black skirt, a white shirt, 4 flannel shirts (I hate to be cold), a denim skirt and a bark travel skirt.....YOU'd be pulling your hair out too! Everything else I've either given away because it got too big or thrown away because it got too holey or the sleeves were falling off. Oh, and a pair of blue yoga pants and thermal underwear, but I'd look awfully funny stepping out in my thermal undies! I really need a system. And I can't order clothes or have clothes sent here because it's illegal to send clothes by mail here. Well, I might be able to order them, but there's about a 50% chance I wouldn't get them. And given the prices of mail order clothes....that's not an option. I have made one decision though......NO MORE WALMART clothes. I swear, they're ready for the rag bag in 3-6 months and the only thing from there that lasts more than a year are my bike shorts. So, yeah they're cheap, but they're too cheap. I can SAVE money by buying more expensive clothes. My flannel shirts from LL Bean are 3 years old, still look good, and will probably last several more years. So, I can pay $20 bucks for a walmart shirt that lasts six months or $40 for a shirt that lasts 6 years. And I LOVE thrift stores, but I'm learning that stuff from there doesn't last so long either. Maybe I'll supplement with thrift store purchases.

Whoa, meco! 100 tank tops and 50 pairs of jeans! I have one closet at my parents with storage items (household, baby clothes---someday I hope, crafts, mementos, etc.) And here, I'm getting ready to give away everything that I can't pack because I'm moving to a new city next year. My wardrobe generally has to fit in a carry-on size duffle bag. I might stick a few other things in my check luggage but that's mostly books, crafts and household items.....and shoes. But I love living overseas and exploring a different culture, learning a new language. Really I do! I just hate trying to figure out how many clothes I need!

Did I just write ANOTHER book! Sorry, but MDC is a life saver. I am the ONLY English-speaker here right now and have NO ONE to talk to. Fortunately the other foreign teacher gets back this week. I will be SO glad. So, forgive me for writing a second volume! LOL
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#10 of 13 Old 02-12-2005, 07:52 AM
 
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I envy you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllNatural
Whoa, meco! 100 tank tops and 50 pairs of jeans! I have one closet at my parents with storage items (household, baby clothes---someday I hope, crafts, mementos, etc.) And here, I'm getting ready to give away everything that I can't pack because I'm moving to a new city next year. My wardrobe generally has to fit in a carry-on size duffle bag.

Well, my issues are:

1. I love vintage jeans. They are worth a lot to me. And I wish my mom had kept hers to give to me. So I keep mine. I fit into them all And I wear them all. I love them all.

2. And tank tops came from living in the HOT desert for 6 years. I can still wear junior clothing so I shoped a lot. And if something is on sale, and I love it I buy several. I wear tank tops all year round, as a top, layered under clothing and to bed. I did take large vintage T shirt collection to my parents house to keep the tank tops. I wear all of them. Some are fancy, some are casual, I have all kinds.

3. I love skirts. I do. I love wearing fun skirts all the time. So I stock up.

But I did give away MASSIVE amounts of clothes when I moved from a house with 4 huge clothes to an apartment with one tiny one. I seriously consolidated. I never wear sweaters, out they went. I also got rid of excess dishes, stuff, everything. I downsized majorly so I am leniant on the clothes. I have very little stuff now. Still too much, IMO. But a lot less than I had before (3 bedroom 2000+ sf house with 2 car garage to a 600 sq foot one bedroom apartment makes you though!).

I did just do another sweep of clothing, stuff that is too big goes to the sister. Stuff that is expensive and gets no use, eBay. The rest is given away.

Here is the worst, I keep wardrobes at my parents houses in Canada and Missouri so I can travel as lightly as possible.

I do need to part with a lot of it. Motivation needed Must follow your ideas :LOL

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#11 of 13 Old 02-12-2005, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, well, the jokes in my family are "Don't sit anywhere for too long or Kate'll throw you out" and "hang onto your plate or she'll take it before you're finished". I can't stand having stuff all over the place so I'm always throwing stuff out as soon as I realize I'm not going to use it. What I really need to do is stop buying stuff I don't need because IT'S ON SALE. Books are what I have trouble parting with. I wear tanks all the time, too. They're the best for sleeping. I get some nasty sunburns when I wear them driving though and only on one arm! : LOL
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#12 of 13 Old 02-14-2005, 11:58 PM
 
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Lol..that trucker tan I love tank tops. Hate that trucker tan.

I'm proud of myself right now. Purging stuff, it builds on itself. I went to goodwill last week, got rid of 7 bags of stuff. Within 36 hours of getting home I had another garbage bag full, ready to be donated! You know it feels so good to get rid of things, then you get home, look around, and wonder where the hack all this STUFF came from. If you just got rid of so much how come the whole house is still FULL of STUFF?! If I got rid of so many clothes why am I still CRAMMING things into the closet? Oy.

We're moving soon, and hte theme of this move is going to be PURGE PURGE PURGE.

I'm way off topic and I just don't care.

So I took that bag of clothes to my mom, so she could dig through it. Total mistake.
You're getting rid of THIS?
-yes
But I love this on you!
-I don't
But you've had it forever!
-yes. do I really need the same clothes i wore in middle school? that haven't fir in 2 years? and won't until I lose 29 pounds which is more than I plan to do? remember how you always mention how I was too skinny during the time that fit?
But you always get compliments!
-it doesn't suit my tastes, I have it because it was free. it doesn't match a single thing I own
But it's such a rich color!
-um-hm
But it would look great with that thing you have...
-yeah I got rid of that
But-but-but-but
-AAAaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhrrrg!


And I wonder why I have packrat tendencies
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#13 of 13 Old 02-15-2005, 12:03 AM
 
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ahah! i knew gaining weight had benefits! i have very few clothes!

i do have a few sweaters left from high school, but i still wear them. i parted with the last of my size 8s last amvets pick up.
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