Friday, August 5, 2011

Decluttering My Wardrobe - or - Where the Heck did All This Stuff Come From???

So, I've been reading a few articles lately on living minimally, reducing our footprint on the planet and becoming less consumer-driven, etc.  This idealism has mostly come about as a result of 6 people living in a smallish townhouse with too much stuff.

I saw an episode of Hoarders on Foxtel the other night - scary but addictive viewing - and one of the poor ladies sobbed to the camera (while sitting on a mountain of stuff that had swallowed all the furniture in the house and was about a metre off the floor) ..... "I feel like a speck of sand in a tsunami"

And I thought to myself 'you know what Hoarder Lady, so do I!'
p.s. this is not my house!  It hasn't quite got that bad yet!

A lot of the stuff that is bugging me is clothing.  My laundry is full of it, naturally.  The family room is being swamped by something that is starting to resemble Mount Everest but is actually my 'putting away" pile.  And my bedroom floor, well let's not even go there.
p.p.s. unfortunately this IS my house - and my pile of washing to be put away, sigh

Unfortunately, both the Rock God and I are fashion victims.  At last count he had over 30 pairs of jeans.  30 pairs of jeans!!!  He could literally wear a different pair of jeans every day for a month.  And do you know what happens to those jeans?  They end up in a big pile on the bedroom floor in the washing basket for me to wash/dry/fold/put away and it doesn't really matter because there are 29 other pairs to wear, grrrrrr.

It would be great if I could point the finger at the Rock God and say 'you are to blame for this over-consumption!' but sadly, I am just as guilty.  There are clothes hanging in my wardrobe that I have never worn.  At last count there were 6 black cocktail dresses - heck, I don't even LIKE cocktails.

The 20% / 80% Rule

The truth of the matter is, we generally wear the same 20% of our wardrobe about 80% of the time.  This is known as our 'capsule wardrobe' and consists of the basics like a good pair of jeans, black pants, white t-shirt, a trench coat or winter jacket, etc.

Then there is all the other stuff.....peasant skirts from when I was going through my 'bohemian' phase, a Hooters souvenir tank top from my Vegas trip last year *oh dear, I must have been very drunk*, my engagement outfit from 10 years and 4 kids ago (which, realistically, I will never fit into again) all those bargains which I bought on sale and wore once (yes, I'm looking at you bright floral tunic).
Have you ever stood in front of a wardrobe bulging at the seams with clothes and thought to yourself 'I have absolutely nothing to wear'.  The problem is, your 20% of wearable clothes are being hidden and suffocated by the 80% of clothes you know don't suit you, are uncomfortable to wear, out of fashion or just plain ugly.

2 hours and 5 large green rubbish bags later......
Oila!  My wardrobe is now one fifth the size it was.  Its compact, its co-ordinated.  Its the stuff I actually wear most of the time.  I know I can pick anything out of the rack and it will make some kind of super stylin' outfit that I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen in.

Andrea from Fox in Flats has a great post on the 13 essentials items every woman should have in her wardrobe - I'm particularly in love with her trench - mine definitely needs updating!

My De-cluttered Capsule Wardrobe

So, what did I end up with in the end?  Here is what I kept in my wardrobe.....(keep in mind I live in Melbourne and you cannot survive in this place without a good assortment of cardigans/jackets/thermal underwear!)
  • Jeans - 2 pairs
  • Black dress pants
  • Black leggings - 2 pairs
  • Grey leggings
  • White capris
  • Chino capris
  • Denim capris
  • Black wool mini skirt
  • Grey stretch pencil skirt
  • Denim mini skirt
  • Navy & white summer skirt
  • White t-shirt x 2
  • Black t-shirt x 2
  • Grey t-shirt
  • Grey sequinned shirt
  • Navy & white striped t-shirt
  • Blush tank top
  • White button up shirt
  • Blue stripe button up shirt
  • White linen tunic
  • Lilac cami top
  • Orange cami top
  • Grey cardigan
  • Grey wrap cardigan
  • Black wrap cardigan
  • Lilac cardigan
  • Blush cardigan
  • Black turtleneck jumper
  • Grey wool jumper
  • Oversized beige wool jumper
  • Black jersey stretch dress x 2
  • Black maxi dress
  • Navy maxi dress
  • Peach summer dress
  • Orange summer dress
  • Grey summer dress
  • Black & white summer dress
  • Navy & white summer dress
  • Black cocktail/going out for drinks dress
  • Black business like/funeral dress
  • Pink silk tunic/dress
  • Black blazer
  • White blazer
  • Navy blazer
  • Grey blazer
  • Red cotton jacket
  • Navy cotton jacket
  • Khaki trenchcoat
  • Black trenchcoat
  • Cream leather jacket
So, I think that comes to about 50 items (I didn't count the doubles) which is a nice round figure but still A LOT for a minimal wardrobe.  Never mind,  I'm getting there slowly! And I feel better.  I feel lighter.  I feel slightly less like a speck of sand in a tsunami.....which can only be a good thing.

How about you?  If you feel inspired to have a massive wardrobe cull, or have already been on the wardrobe war path, I'd love to hear from you!


  1. My goodness! That is quite a wardrobe. You should have a garage sale with the leftovers - might make yourself some money to spend at the shops. I did a challenge earlier this year - wear the same six items for a month. You should try it! x

  2. Spending at the shops is what got me into this mess!!!! 50 items is probably still too much, but I don't think I can go cold turkey straight away. I do have a "30 items for 30 days" challenge set for next week so after that I might be able to cull it down even more.

  3. I am in awe your wardrobe, I have a lot of clothes ... have some clothes so old and shabby but I have no idea why I keep them.
    I am inspired to do a massive cull ... I agree about the 20% rule.
    Multiple mum I could do that I do now pretty much - thanks for the challenge idea.

  4. oh my goodness! wow great job! I need a wardrobe cleanout sooo bad. In fact, we have 4 weeks and then we are couch surfing to save money for a euroupe trip; so I'm going to have to cull!

  5. @•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• I actually got rid of one dress I have had for 19 years, which was probably the last time I wore it! why I would keep it for 19 years I have no idea.....probably so I could look at it from time to time and think to myself 'once upon a time, you were THAT skinny!' :)

  6. @wait until the sunset ahhhhh, I'm so jealous!!! A European trip - imagine the fun I could have planning my travel wardrobe :) I'm the type of gal that likes to have an "appropriate plane wearing" outfit planned in advance hahaha

  7. I did exactly this today! 5 garbage bags full of ridiculously sized (and fashioned) clothes of mine that I've been waiting to shrink/grow into. I'm down to bare minimum now, stoked. I LOVE decluttering. Pity the supertrucker is such a hoarder!

  8. @Kate way to go Kate! It feels so much better doesn't it. What's with these hoarding husbands???

  9. @Eloise
    OMG That is so cool!!! I've never done that before! As a plane-planning pro, I think you need to chose me a travel outfit. (and bonus you already know my style and favourite shops from the blog!)!

  10. I have two homes (well, a house and an apartment for work) with two huge closets. I work at a job where I have to dress up and sometimes where themed sweaters (I manage a retirement community & the residents love to see what I'll wear next). And of course I would prefer wearing jeans & a tee for errands around town. And then there is the comfy stuff I'd rather wear at home.

    You have inspired me. I am going to clean out my closet at home. Today!


Thanks for commenting, I appreciate you taking the time xxx

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