The Wardrobe – A Reckoning

So Mama Fearse over at The Fearse Family blogged about her wardrobe, and set a {little?} challenge – do you dare count your clothes?

I’m game, I thought. This should be a good way to get motivated and started on the decluttering project.

Now I was feeling pretty confident I’d score well at this task. Two years ago I did a major wardrobe purge, and then again twelve months ago. My rule for clothes was that they all had to fit into my wardrobe (a two door, six drawer unit). Prior to the first purge this was impossible. The wardrobe and a drawer unit were both overflowing with clothing items that just could not fit in the available space. After some ruthless sorting I was able to send hubby off to the charity store with 3 large garbage bags of clothes plus another bag to the rubbish bin. The second purge was meant to be a maintenance one. It resulted in another garbage bag to charity and a few worn out socks in the bin.

Definitely an easy task then. I knew I had bought very little over the last twelve months so a stocktake shouldn’t be a big deal and it was a good time to sort out my summer and winter outfits properly.

I was so wrong.

The stocktake was mortifying. As I went through and counted each clothing item I felt more and more ashamed at the sheer excess in my cupboard. My total? 351 items. I got rid of 14 items as I sorted, leaving me with a current total of 337.

The big shock was t-shirts – 80 in total, counting long-sleeved and short-sleeved. That’s a t-shirt a day for the next two and a half months. Who needs that many t-shirts? Where did they all come from? When do I ever expect to wear them all?

The second biggest shock was just how much of a mish-mash everything was. I obviously have colours I prefer wearing and that look good on me (blue, I’m looking at you). Rather than a few nice ensembles in those colours I have a mismatched collection of whatever was on a sale rack at the time.

The most useful bit of advice I took away from Mama Fearse’s article was that of getting to “know your wardrobe and the way you use it before you start reducing”. It’s started me thinking about my usual “go-to” outfits (yeah, 80% of the week that’s jeans and tees) and what I can purge around these staples (11 dresses and skirts currently hiding in there – seriously? I NEVER wear dresses or skirts!) It’s also got me looking further into the capsule wardrobe concept and how I might use this as an opportunity to build myself a more workable collection of clothes (incidentally, I love this explanation from the Vivienne Files on how to build a wardrobe by fours).

I truly have to thank Mama Fearse for the prompt to do this stocktake. It has opened my eyes to the way I view my wardrobe (ie. with no thought at all) and made me consider some better ways of managing it.

Now that the stocktake is done the real work starts.