A broken washing machine cleaned up her wardrobe

Declutter Your Wardrobe

by Chrissy C. Christiansen

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Last year, my washing machine broke down in the middle of summer. It was repaired and broke down again after washing one load just to stand still (as a part had to be ordered) for another four weeks. At that time, I did not know it would take that long and was not in the least worried. I had enough underwear to last me awhile. And my clothes experience began.

Believe me, I have tried it all. I tried the "three bag" system, the "making photos of myself wearing clothes to show friends and judge" system as well as the "I do not buy anything retail" system. Including shirts, jeans, dresses, bags, scarves and shoes, everything I had was in a nice color-coded order. I honestly can say I had tons of wearable clothes in good shape that I could easily access and see.

So as everyone would, I started with wearing my favorite clothes, shoes, and bags. As it was summer, I could not wear anything more than once, and I had to start wearing clothes I usually just "stored" and "looked at" in my closet. These items were either too "nice" or "large" or "small" or "colorful." Now I had to wear them, and I quickly realized why I was not too keen on wearing them at all.

If you spend nine hours at work wearing something you do not feel good in, it suddenly becomes very easy to give clothes away. Then I decided to get up a bit earlier in the morning and try on the clothes before going anywhere in them. This also gave me the opportunity to try out different styles and make-up. What I did not feel good in when trying on, I gave away. I kept on the things I was not sure about and "spent time" with them. At the end of the day, I knew whether I liked something and was comfortable in it. Actually having to wear the clothes made it a lot easier to decide whether they were meant to stay with me or not.

I not only reduced my clothes, but I also reduced my underwear, shoes, bags, and jewelry. As I was wearing items and styles that I usually do not wear, I also had to use other shoes, bags, and accessories. How many of us buy that pair of earrings or that bag for one special outfit? But what if that outfit is just uncomfortable and you do not want to put it on a second time? Then you can very easily give away the rest of it if it does not suit anything else. The same goes for shoes. They might look pretty, but if they are not comfortable, why keep them?

I've also learned to stop keeping items from past seasons that I might be able to wear another two to three times. They simply passed their expiration date. If I do not wear them at the beginning of the season, I probably will not wear them at all anymore, so I give them away.

When I started out, I really thought I had enough clothes, but a third of my clothes did not fit, were uncomfortable, or were not my style. It was the typical "my closet is full, but I have nothing to wear" feeling.

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These five weeks gave me the chance to experiment with my clothes and wear different styles. I combined items together I usually would not. It also gave me a chance to see that some things are just not for me. As much as I might like them on others, they are simply not suitable for me. Now, my wardrobe is much easier to look through, and the things I have I like to wear.

This experience helped me to decide which items I really will wear. I also learned to look more closely in the mirror before buying and to be honest with myself about the fit of an item.

In the end, I only had eight loads to wash (including towels and linens), which isn't much for five weeks!

Chrissy C. Christiansen comes from a frugal background and enjoys saving money and resources.

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