Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Six Drawer Wardrobe

Whenever I visit my parents in Utah I'm always impressed by how few clothes my mom owns. Weird compliment, right? Her closet just feels so fresh and light. There are no more than 20 pieces in it, but each piece looks new and has two other pieces that match it.

Similarly, when I go to Utah I pack so incredibly light. Days before my trip even begins I start picking out items. My goal, even for a two week stay, is always to take only four or five tops and three or four bottoms (including the outfits I wear while I travel and to church on Sunday). I try to pick things that mix and match well, and I make sure that even with such a limited number of items I have at least six or seven different outfit choices. When I come home I am totally in love with the clothes in my suitcase and I hardly even remember all the great items awaiting me at home. I never feel like I should have packed more. Most the time I actually realize I could have packed even lighter.

When we moved into our house I put all my clothes in Reid's closet. Not ideal, but our bedroom has just one small closet, and since Ben has a more consistent "get ready time" I let him have it. We shared the dresser and mostly had gym clothes and unmentionables in it. Well, you can imagine having all my clothes in my child's room wasn't ideal. But I couldn't think of a better solution. Then one day, I just had a light bulb go off. I decided I'd fit all my clothes into the dresser. Part of my motivation also came from this fabulous post on Living Well, Spending Less -- The 40 Hanger Closet. Ruth's before and after pictures and organizational tips are so simple but just the push I needed. I did not end up with a 40 hanger closet, but I do have a six drawer dresser.

In order to make my vision come to life, I had to get Ben's tee shirts and gym clothes out of the dresser. Luckily, this three drawer organizer fit just right in a quarter section of his closet.

The other 3/4's of his closet are organized by work shirts, casual shirts, and work pants. His casual pants are folded on top. The three dresser drawer is 1) unmentionables, 2) work out clothes, 3) tee shirts. We did have to put two night stands in our bedroom. They don't match each other. Mine is part of our complete bedroom set, Ben's is one we found at Goodwill years ago. I just had to get over my desire to have a nice matching bedroom set. I don't care if his night stand doesn't fit in. It holds his socks ... 2 drawers full of socks. My man loves socks. 

Likewise, my nightstand holds my socks and some unmentionables. The two smallest drawers on my six drawer dresser (combined they are the size of one regular drawer) hold my PJs and work out clothes. Those drawers are never organized very well (ie folded nicely) so I didn't take pictures of them. Sorry. 

I don't have before and after pictures of the whole process, but I can show you my system. Honestly, I have never enjoyed my wardrobe as much as I do now. While I went through and got rid of more than half my stuff, I also found myself going out and buying pieces I really actually liked. I was in the habit of keeping pieces simply because they still fit and they didn't look worn out. How silly.

I went through roughly three stages of purging. First, I purged stuff I hadn't worn in a long time or stuff that looked worn out. I did a basic goodwill sweep and got rid of anything I would have questioned cleaning out. Next I looked over items that were still in good shape and had been worn in the last year and asked myself if I'd buy it again today. I tired a lot of it on, and most of it ended up in the donate pile. Finally, I even started getting rid of items I'd recently worn. I basically just asked myself, am I wearing this because I love it, or am I wearing it because I have it and it works? This last purge didn't happen right away. The whole process took several months and seems to continue even now.

Truth be told, holding on to old clothes just wore me out. I always felt like I had nothing to wear, even though I had a 100 hanger closet. Now, with just six dresser drawers, I feel like I have more options. If I don't love it and wouldn't buy it again, there is no need to hold onto it.

The first big drawer has four rows of tops. Far left is casual spring/summer/fall button ups. Some also work as undershirts during the winter. The left mid row is summer tee shirts. The right middle row is undershirst and tanks. The far right row are light or 2/3 sleeve sweaters.

This is my pant drawer. Jeans are folded pocket up on the left and pants are folded into a pile on the right. Winter scarves and hats are in between. Soon I will sort this drawer out and store things I'll only wear in the winter (scarves and hats) and make room for shorts. The drawer below will also be sorted for seasonal rotation. I do have one medium tubberware of clothes in the basement. It is mostly full of maternity clothes, but also has some summer stuff in it.

Cardigans, dress shirts and bulkier button ups and sweaters go here, second drawer from the bottom.

And this mess is my skirt drawer. I also have my swim wear stuffed in there somewhere. Skirts are my weakness. I don't think I purged a single skirt in this process. I love skirts, or maybe I just have a knack for only buying skirts I'll love forever.

Thanks to my many years at The Buckle, I have perfected folding hundreds of clothing pieces into tight spaces. That is a must have skill if you are going to fit your entire wardrobe into six dresser drawers. Thre are tutorials on pinterest about how to fold tee shirts into drawers so that you have optimal space and selection.

Speaking of The Buckle, I remember going to my bosses house one morning and looking through her closet. It was as sparse as my moms. I was shocked. I knew she bought more clothes than me, where were they all? The answer was simple and she told me without hesitation "I donate everything that is more than two years old. I only keep my favorite items for two years, most things get donated after just one year." What?!?! What about use it up, wear it out, or do without? Well, I have decided that when it comes to clothes that is NOT a motto one should live by. Now, I'm not saying everyone should buy new clothes as often as a manger of a retail store. I'm just suggesting we stop hanging onto items we no longer love.

I still have jeans that are 7 years old, my favorite shorts are almost down to a thread. The thing is, if I could find those shorts today I would buy them. In fact, just recently I did buy a pair of shoes I already owned. The first pair was worn out and once I replaced them they were demoted to lawn mowing shoe status. If you really love an item, keep it! If you loved it once but not anymore get rid of it. It is very unlikely you'll fall in love with it all over again. Trust me I hung on to enough clothes to know. Also, I don't necessarily love how I look in all my clothes, but I either love how I look or how they feel. There are some pants I kept solely because they are comfy, not because I think they look good. So if you see me in something that looks ugly, don't judge my taste. I probably know it looks bad, I just don't care. My kids are going to snot on it and pull on it anyway. I'm going for comfort most days.

To end with a list of cliches'"
Less is more
It's all just stuff
Don't let it weigh you down.
Freshen up your closet by throwing half of it out. 


Anonymous said...

What you didn't know is that your mother has multiple closets -- the coat closet in the hallway, the closet next to the laundry room and the three closets upstairs! They are all neat, but she has MORE than enough clothes -- probably about 1/4 the amount you have!

Liz Szilagyi said...

I did know she keeps stuff in the laundry room closet (for ironing) ... but I think you better go check the upstairs closets. One has a ... mattress!!! And the other has our family history books.

I got your back mom! :)

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