9 bottoms (pants/skirt mix)
Now, items in the wardrobe not counted are underwear, bras, workout apparel, swim suits, belts, shoes (though I think she tried to stick to 5-9 or something like that), and accessories e.g. jewelry, pins, scarves, etc.
She had a budget for each season, some of which weren't economically feasible for me. I think I spend about $200 a year, maybe. She also had a rule, if she bought something new, then she had to get rid of something old, keeping the numbers steady.
For months, I've been curious if I could take on this challenge and pare down my closet, which was stuffed and overflowing. While I opted to not restrict the number of clothes by each season, (I thought I might have an stroke if I attempted it) I did do a thorough clean out. I especially couldn't keep to the 2 dresses rule. I attend church every Sunday in a dress or skirt so I needed more.
I set a goal, time frame, and used it toward a Personal Progress Value Project which require 10 hours of work to be completed. This is part of a church program we have for teen girls age 12-18. I work with these awesome young ladies and have been working on earning my own medallion of completion, so it was a total win-win. Good example, project complete, my closet got clean, and then I offered the girls to raid my cast offs (after my daughter was done calling dibs), as they are always on the lookout for modest apparel. Maybe that's a win-win-win-win. In any case I haven't found a downside yet. Unless you count the fact that I tried to sell my in-good-condition clothes to a second hand store and they declined citing the garments were too upscale. Apparently they disagree that not all teens want to look like they rolled out of bed.
Anyways, you're probably wondering how cleaning out a closet could possibly take 10 hours. Well, when you count trying everything on, sorting, attempt to sell, inviting girls to raid, and getting rid of the leftovers, it comes out about right. Plus it's a walk-in closet.
Unfortunately I didn't take any before pictures.
Just know my racks were crammed, shelves brimming, and not a place of serenity. Not a happy space for an organizational queen.
I did take pics of after.
The one you see of the overflowing basket with items next to it is what I got rid of. It doesn't look like much in the picture but it actually fills 2 large black lawn bags and is half my wardrobe. Charity is going to be so lucky!
I don't have a dresser so I use horizontal shelves instead. Of the bins, one is now empty.
Next comes the half hanging with shoes underneath. I tried hard to get rid of shoes, but wasn't very successful. There are 35-40 pairs there including the boots. I was able to donate the castoffs to a charity program that recycles them. Soles for souls or something like that. I went through my jewelry and handbags too.
Then there is the back section for long items and coats. I got all the miscellaneous papers, books, and stuff that didn't belong in my closet, and found them appropriate homes elsewhere. See all those empty hangers!
Now when I walk into my closet I know whatever I grab 1) fits me, 2) is something I love to wear, & 3) generally looks good with any number of combinations of outfits I can put together.
I made sure to not just keep neutrals either. You have to have color each season. Who gets excited about wearing endless combinations of khaki, brown, navy, and black? No one.
It has been wonderful to get rid of the burden of sagging shelves of clothes I wasn't using or didn't fit anymore, or clothes that did fit but made me feel frumpy.
I still think there's some more paring down I can do. Items that fell into the maybe list. If they still haven't seen the light of day in a year, or if I don't really love them the next time I wear them, then I'll donate those as well. The charity store never closes. Besides, do I really need 4 pairs of brown heels? Navy shoes? Probably not.
Now, some of you may be thinking, "This is a great idea!" and it is. But then you might be tempted to think, "Now she can go shop for new clothes and refill her closet! Lucky girl!" And that's where you'd be wrong.
I don't want to add items and get back to where I was before the closet purge. I'm inclined to follow the other bloggers rule of item in - item out.
Will I ever get down to the ambitious numbers stated at the beginning of this post. Maybe not. But if I feel lightened and liberated now, think how amazing that would feel.
Are you up for the closet challenge?