behind the wardrobe door

The wardrobe is usually the first place I go when I feel the urge to declutter, yet this past year has shown me that either I was a rubbish declutterer or my wardrobe was of colossal proportions.  I suspect there is truth in both.  So last year I gutted my wardrobe, my scarves, my jumpers, my shirts, my shoes, my jewellery, I gutted everything.  Bags and bags went the charity shops, my daughters picked a few items but the house must have sighed with relief from the excess weight it had been carrying.

Then a couple of days ago I came across this blog, Recovering Shopaholic.  Debbie did a full analysis of what she wore, bought or dispatched over a year. I knew that was what I needed to do, but first I  had to make an inventory of everything I owned.  Good Grief!  Even after the Massive Purge of 2013, the inventory is not short.  But it has been an interesting process.  I have learned several things.

  • I have very few pairs of trousers, which is good as a rarely wear them.
  • On the other hand the few I have are almost all linen.  No winter trousers.
  • I have far too many jackets.  My lifestyle has changed and I rarely need smart jackets anymore but as they still fit, look good and I like them I haven’t purged them.  I should.
  • I have only a handful of shirts, but lots of tunics, jersey tops etc.  That seems to match my lifestyle.
  • I have FAR FAR too many scarves.  I gutted them on the spot.
  • I love cashmere!
  • I do not need 4 pairs of black suede court shoes
  • I still have plenty of high heels.  I almost never wear high heels.
  • I have six black hats, but only ever wear one of them.

As you can see  I still have quite a long way to go.  It wasn’t until I wrote down every single item in my wardrobe that I could see where I needed to put the work in.  I thought I had done quite well, and I had, but some areas (notably jackets) I thought I was doing the right thing because individually they ticked all the boxes (a) Fit me – yes; (b) I like them – yes;  (c) in good condition – yes.  But collectively they were a disaster.

Following Debbie’s advice I am now keeping a record of everything I wear.  Now I have my inventory I can see at a glance what I have without having to open the wardrobe door.  There is no excuse for me to say “oh I forgot I had that” and convince myself that is why I didn’t wear it.  By the end of each month I will be able to see at a glance which items I love, and which I am avoiding.

This morning I planned to wear a cream cashmere crew neck that I had “forgotten”  I put it on and ripped it off immediately, I looked like a raw sausage, that was the reason I hadn’t worn it in ages.  So why was I giving it houseroom?

Update on my progress in February.  In the meantime I also took Debbie’s advice to join the 40+ style challenge.  You can find it here    And this is  my 10 piece capsule wardrobe.  I had to take the actual items from Polyvore.  But they are all similar to ones in my wardrobe.  Seven outfits, 10 items including shoes and bag.  It can be done 🙂


10 piece wardrobe



16 thoughts on “behind the wardrobe door

  1. Oh dear this sounds very familiar. The combination of a past working in the public eye and a subsequent volunteer job in a charity shop means that I have a wardrobe full of “good” clothes I no longer wear. Given that I spend my life in jeans and my hand-knit jumpers in the winter and replace the sweaters with chic T shirts or tops in the summer, I know that I should purge. Some of my very pretty shirts were hand made in my dressmaking days. I am allowing sentiment to over-rule practicality but I’m sure if I did an inventory I would die of shame.
    It is also more complicated by the fact that, now the charity I worked for has closed, there is no charity shop outlet to take my cast-offs. (Yes, that is another excuse)
    Bad, Dobby! Bad, Bad Dobby (I’m slapping myself!)

  2. Hi Gillie, I love the image of a cashmere jumper making one look like a raw sausage. Isn’t that a look that some teenagers aspire to?

  3. Thanks so much for commenting on my little blog! I’m glad I found you and you’re now bookmarked- and I’m enjoying your posts. I’m STILL purging so I totally get you. I really don’t know what my ideal number looks like either for any of my catagories but every step is progress! I really enjoy Deb’s blog and I also have found some awesome people through her 🙂

  4. I’m not sure what happend to my comment but I think I didn’t push post… Ooops…

    I was saying that I am so glad you stopped and commented on my little blog, i’m really enjoying yours!

    I’m still purging, I feel so inspired lately to let go of things I don’t use. I am down to 20 tops and while I do plan to replace, I STILL have things hanging in there that I have literally used 1x in the last year. It’s so wastefull!

  5. Looove capsule wardrobes – in theory…
    In practice, being short and stocky, I keep purging and buying, learning through repeated trial and error that “classic” clothes just make me look butch and matronly, or as you so flatteringly put it, like porky sausage! Sigh. But my wardrobe is definitely a lot lot smaller these days (I have no space anyhow) and bit by bit I’m getting there with my dresses and tunics… and the colour I love!
    Good luck with your work in progress 🙂

  6. My place to de-clutter would def be the kitchen. I have way too many of similar “tools” in varying sizes and lots of “what if I ever decide to cook ________” stuff I’ve kept from down-sizing my mom’s place. I HAVE been trying to clear out anticipating a much smaller kitchen in my hopefully not too far future… but kitchen stuff is def my weakness. I think it would be easier if it were shoes!

    1. Both my mother and I are keen cooks. The difference is that she has gadgets coming out of her ears and I have not. We have a company over here called Lakeland, they are every cook’s weakness – even mine. But keen cook that I am I want to cut every corner I can, and I have found that getting rid of the gadgets has cut time and washing up and putting away and getting out and tidying up. I will never get rid of my Kenwood Chef, my Magimix, my hand held beater and my wonderful peeler :(it even peels pineapple). As for the rest. Cheerio 🙂

      1. It’s brilliant. You can throw every other peeler away. It does pineapple and squash too. It’s by a German company called Edelstahl Rostfrei.

  7. If I only keep 10 items, am I allowed to steal my teenage daughter’s clothes? Seriously, on a regular day, I just have a pair of jeans and a shirt. I have decluttered quite a lot when we moved house, but there is so much more to do that it drives me mad. The silly stuff we buy and keep never ceases to amaze me.

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