Blog: How Much Is Enough?
Organize Your Closet for Smarter Shopping
There are several ways to organize a clothing closet. The most common is by type of garment; pants with pants, tops with tops, sweaters with sweaters. If you want to know more about how you wear your clothes and gain intelligence that will help you shop smart try this.
Organize your closet by how you wear the item. Think about your life and the 3-4 main categories of clothes you need. For example, if you work in an office that's office casual but also see outside vendors or clients and dress differently on those occasions, that's 2 categories.
The best way to jump into this is to go through your closet and just start making piles on the bed. For every item ask yourself, "When do I wear this?" (Naturally, if the answer is never it should go away to charity but this posting isn't meant to cover that entire topic.)
If you wear it in multiple situations (to the office as well as out socially) change the question to "When do I wear this MOST?" Common answers to these questions are 1) To work 2) Socially/out (dinner out with husband, date, wine tasting with girlfriends etc. This category might contain everything from a sequin top to your go-to jeans) 3) Weekend street wear. (What you wear running to the mall, a soccer game, a play date, coffee etc.)
4) Weeknight/weekend loungewear (What you wear when you're pretty much not planning on leaving the house.)
As you sort the items you should begin to see some trends. Whichever category you like the most you will likely have the most of. If you love fun tops for going out, you probably have a disproportionately high number of them. If you love hoodies and sweats, same story. Whichever category you like the least, you'll probably have the least of. If you HATE going out tops, you probably don't have many, and are always thinking "I don't have anything to wear!" when you are going out. You do have something to wear, but just not in this category. This sorting should be done for all types of clothing, including pants and shoes.
Put the items back in the closet in a way so each category is together. Live with it for a few weeks. Start noticing that you don't always feel like you have nothing to wear, you just feel this way when dressing for a day requiring whichever category you are low on. Make mental, and literal, notes of where the gaps in your wardrobe are. Example: Work – need shoes, social – need jeans, weekend - need yoga pants.
Not only should this help you dress more quickly (you only need to stand and stare blankly at one section of your closet now, right?) it should also help a lot on your next shopping trip. The next time you are shopping you've got that mental list of things to keep an eye out for. You need work shoes, great jeans and yoga pants.
But there's also goign to be the times when you forget to keep focused on that list. We all go into a store, try things that catch our eye on, and then have the moment. Where we try to decide whether or not to buy it. We hem, haw, justify, calculate and more. In the past you might even have tried to be disciplined and asked yourself "Do I really need this?" withoutknowing how to really answer that.
Now that you know your wardrobe my hope is that this moment should be different. Of course you want to ask yourself if you love it, if you can afford it but also ask a few simple questions like "Where do I see myself wearing this? Where does this fit in my wardrobe? Is it filling a gap? Is it something I already have too many of?" You know the answers now! One key benefit of intelligent shopping is certainly that you should end up buying things you don't need less often. The added benefit is that when you do buy something that you love, and can afford…AND you know it fills a gap…you don't even have to feel guilty about it! "Do really I need this?" isn't such a bad question when the answer is "Actually, I do."
posted on: 12/9/2007 8:00:00 AM by Elisabeth Shake
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How Much Is Enough?
by Elisabeth Shake
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Elisabeth Shake is the owner of Yourganized, a professional organizing firm based in Chicago, IL.