I’m a hoarder. Not by TV-show standards, but I like stuff. And I’m not good at getting rid of it. People could play a pretty good drinking game with the key phrases I come out with while tidying – “But it might come in useful”, “But it reminds me of that time I…….”, “I can’t bin that, XX [who would never find out] will be so hurt”. Sound familiar?
So when two of my favourite bloggers – Laura from Wholeheartedly Healthy and Jemma from Celery and Cupcakes – both mentioned wardrobe clearouts within the same week as I’d pulled out a whole shelf-full of things (not intentionally), and realised none of them really fitted, I knew it was a sign. I’ve also been very aware of the charity pleas for warm clothes for the migrant crisis, and while I can’t pretend this was the main driving factor for the clear out knowing that someone else could also benefit from my clear-out certainly inspired me to keep going and be a bit more ruthless.
I was determined to go into this with a whole new mindset. The 20-something working-gal wardrobe, if that’s ever what I was (?!?), is long gone and I now need one that suits an [early] 30-something full-time mam of 1. I might have big ideas as to where I want to head, but right now I can have those in my pyjamas so I really can donate that suit I’ve had since sixth form (and only worn twice since). I also knew the “have you worn it in the last 6 months/last season?” wouldn’t work either as last summer/autumn I was either pregnant or a new-mum living in legging and big jumpers, and I absolutely couldn’t use that as standard!
I love the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe, which Laura talked about in this great post, but funds are very limited non-existent at the moment and I’m not in a position to plan one and then fill in any gaps. Instead I decided I just had to be very selective about what I’ve got, really looking at pieces and being imaginative about how I might be able to update them.
I found un-fancy.com via Laura and while Caroline, the author, is on a blogging hiatus at the moment the free tool was just what I needed to set me off in the right direction. It really made me think about how I spend my time these days, what colours I wear most of, what my most-worn pieces are and how I combine them. The tool is a printable pdf – I got to use my much-loved coloured pens to make a pretty pie chart and break down in a methodical way how I dress these days. It was actually really good fun, made me feel properly prepared for the change and having it in front of me as I pulled out every item kept me on track. It also helped that I had my mam staying for the first stint of the clearout so she ‘helped me see the light’ with some pieces too.
So how did it go? Well, I filled 3 boxed of clothes for the charity shop and I (and my husband!) made sure I took it in two days later so I couldn’t start raiding it. I also had one bin-bag of tat which wasn’t donate-able and one bag of items that are no longer in my wardrobe but I can use the fabric. After all when it’s painted on and framed who’s going to know those emerald jeans fitted terribly!
- My basic ‘uniform’ is actually quite adaptable – I’d already sort of have a capsule wardrobe without realising it!
- I have A LOT of scarves, and that’s ok as they’re all different, colourful and are actually baby-friendly (yay!).
- I have missed my accessories. Jewellery especially has always been a big thing for me, literally as well as figuratively, but since having Tigger that side of me has literally been boxed up. I think it’s time to get it out again!
- I have A LOT of gym which I need to stop squirrelling away and actually use it. I also have a lot of nightwear. I have no idea why I always think I’m short on both.
- It’s actually lovely looking through my wardrobe these days and I’m more confident in what I’m wearing as I haven’t gone through the confidence-battering of trying on 3 ‘wrong’ outfits first!
- And finally her honesty may be brutal at times but my mother loves me and I’m old enough to take it.
So I’ve now got a more streamlined wardrobe and it’s certainly easier to find things!
The whole process was really therapeutic and I know it sounds very dramatic but I do feel slightly freed – I don’t have to go through the process of picking out things from a previous life and then feeling I can’t wear it. There are some gaps that I’ll try and fill as and when I can but the whole process, and seeing just what I was able to part with, has made me want to create more for my wardrobe too. Which brings me neatly to Birthday Resolution #2: By my next birthday I will have 5 pieces in my everyday wardrobe that I’ve made, either from scratch or by updating something else.
Wasn’t it convenient that I’d just been to the Handmade Fair and bought some dressmaking goodies!