Wardrobe woes

Once upon a time, I really had a handle on my wardrobe (thanks, Project 333!). It’s been a year or so since I stopped P333 because I felt like I’d learned the lessons I needed to and, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter how many items were in my closet. I’m a minimalist. I gravitate towards minimalism.

Ha ha ha, isn’t it HILARIOUS when you get all cocky about being a genius and then the world knocks you down? Karma in action! Because:

Johanna and I hit the Goodwill in the town next door a couple of weeks ago — the weather had turned quite warm and I wanted some “spring-y” t-shirts. Johanna just enjoys thrifting in general and always finds something. The problem is that once she finds it (and buys it), she doesn’t always like it later on. This is actually called “pulling a Johanna” in our household.

My “spring-y” t-shirts ended up being burgundy, gray and a black/white patterned tank — I guess I’m not cut out for bright colors. (I saw a pink cardigan that was kind of cute and asked Jo what she thought, and she was like, That’s not even you. True, kid, thanks for the wisdom. Gray it is!) When we got home, I began organizing my closet for the warmer months. Johanna decided to go through her closet and got rid of a couple of items, one of which was a striped navy number that I decided to add to my closet instead of the rummage sale bag.

My spring t-shirt situation was really starting to look up, but my closet was getting away from me. I started running out of hangers. And I refuse to get more hangers. I have more than enough if I keep my closet to 35 or so items. Um, that ship had sailed, so I solved that problem by folding sweaters and long-sleeve t-shirts and storing those in my standing wardrobe. Not ideal because I tend to forget about what I can’t see hanging in front of my face. On the upside: It did make things look more manageable, at least.

And then Abby came home for the summer — P.S. YAY — around 6:30 p.m. last Monday. She decided she needed her room completely clean before she went to bed (she is the most organized teenager ever), which seemed to me like an impossible task, just looking at all the boxes and bags and suitcases she had strewn around the place. I was tasked with hanging up her clothing.

“I have a lot of clothes,” she said, “but I love them all.”

No judgement, kid. It’s your life and your closet. I’m just over here, hanging it all up.

As she went through her suitcases, there were a few items she decided she no longer wanted … one being a baseball-style t-shirt she got in high school that I’ve always thought was adorable. Um, so that’s now in my closet.

And then the weather went from 90 degrees F last Saturday to 65 degrees by Wednesday. So all the sweaters I had folded KonMarie-style (damn you, Netflix!) are now hanging across the bar in my closet. So I can get to them. Because I’m out of hangers.

What were the lessons I’d learned about minimalist closets again? I’ve clearly lost my wits.

Anyway, here’s my solution, and I will tell you right now that it’s lame, but it’s what I’ve settled on so whatever: When I wear an item, I turn the hanger back-to-front (putting it in backwards?) so I can see what I’m actually wearing. Of course, whatever I’m wearing out of my standing wardrobe doesn’t get the same treatment, but I’ve decided that isn’t so much of a problem because it’s not prime real estate like my closet. At the end of the month (which is coming up surprisingly quickly), I will reassess.

Um, so the moral of this story is that I’ve got a little work to do. 😉

P.P.S. Some links on my experiences with P333 (that maybe I should read myself):

HERE (Just beginning and the issues I ran into right off the bat)

HERE (Putting together a spring and summer wardrobe)

HERE (Lessons learned from my winter wardrobe)

The Great Closet Clean-out of 2017

October 1 marked a new season in the calendar that is Project 333. Um, I decided this summer that I wasn’t going to do this anymore, but when you’ve been practicing something for so long, old habits die hard, even if you rename it the Trisha’s Minimal Closet and act all nonchalant about the whole ordeal.

So when the calendar moved from September to October, I felt an itch to get into my closet and see what was what … even if technically I didn’t have to.

My bedroom was a mess of epic proportions as I dumped everything onto my bed — closet, wardrobe, drawers — to see what I even had. Because I’ve gotten into a bad habit of when items make me uncomfortable for whatever reason (fit, needs mending, tired of looking at it), of placing those items in my wardrobe “to deal with later.” Spoiler alert: I never deal with anything later because I am easily sidetracked.

The pile on the bed was so impressive that when Johanna came in to ask me a question, she ended up snuggling down into everything and taking a little break. I really should have taken a photo of that, but you guys, I was on a mission.

Trisha’s Minimal Closet Rules*

Try everything on. Hey, it was already out, so what the heck. I pretended I was at the store, trying things on and deciding if I liked them enough to buy.

Would I buy this item today? If the answer was no, I put it in the rummage sale pile.

Find a home. If an item made the keep cut, I either hung it in the closet (I wasn’t counting, but I only have so many hangers, so I figured that would keep things from getting out of hand — I get overwhelmed by visual clutter, so while I’m not worried about meeting a certain number criteria, I didn’t want to stress myself out with too many items, either), placed it in the “mend or alter” pile (now I just need to mend or alter, which could be a problem), or folded it into a neat little package and placed into my wardrobe (my t-shirts and tank tops got this treatment, and they look like little books now. I found that way more exciting than I probably should have).

Clean out underwear and “I don’t know what to do with this” drawers, too. The underwear drawer is probably self explanatory 😉 but I also have a drawer where random clothes live that I’m not really sure what to do with. And I’m still not sure what to do with, so they’re still living in that drawer. Like an adorable Halloween dress from my parents with Johanna’s name on the front (any little Johannas out there who need a cute dress? I will send it to you!) and a couple of t-shirts from my youth basketball days (Abby wore one for some Homecoming Week dress up day last year). I also had some damaged items in there that I knew in my heart were trash but didn’t want to deal with before now, like a bag made out of some undistinguishable fake material. I tossed it. I promise I didn’t do that lightly and if there had been a way to save it, I would have. I  bought that purse before I understood the impact of my choices. I won’t make that mistake again.

Be picky about what gets donated. I was watching an episode of Sunday Morning in September about hurricane relief, and how people love sending personal items because they think anything they send will be helpful to somebody. (The lady mentioned they’ve even got used tea bags, “because you can always make another cup of tea.” Dude, WHAT.)  But here’s the thing: Just because you donate something doesn’t mean anyone else is going to want it. A stained sweater, a pair of pants that are ripped in unfortunate areas — I mean, if you were confronted with those items at the secondhand store, would you buy them? Secondhand stores are bursting at the seams, and if you want your stuff to actually get sold and worn (and not dumped in the trash), it needs to be in good shape. Maybe excellent shape. I have several snagged sweaters (thanks Bear!) that are now living in a basket until I figure out what to do with them (maybe make a quilt?). No one would buy these sweaters, and I don’t feel good about passing off my problem on to someone else.

Celebrate the victory. I’m very excited about how nice and organized my closet, wardrobe and drawers look at the moment. It’s always a good feeling to know that my closet is a little lighter and that what’s inside it are items I actually want to wear. Dance party in the living room!

The end, I guess? Anyone else do periodic closet clean-outs?

*This works for me. It’s okay if it doesn’t work for you. Mere suggestions, not mandates!

Photo: Finished closet (I sort everything by color), closet shelves that hold my pants (top) and items to be mended (bottom), and my wardrobe — PJs on top, t-shirt books in the middle, and items I’m keeping for next spring and summer on the bottom.