It’s end of the month time, those of you with a mathematical bent will be longing for this post. This is the sequel to the statistic in the wardrobe, today you are getting another rip-roaring romp through my wardrobe.
This is the basis of my wardrobe for the next three months. I can, and no doubt will add and subtract here and there. But after two months of clothes analysis I think this is the core.
This is how they look hanging up.
Including what I am wearing today that makes 27 items. I have not included shoes because for the most part I wear the same fit flops or Toms all summer.
This is how I got there.
This month I have worn more of my wardrobe, a total of 48 items compared to 40 last month, but blue has been toppled by gray.
- 11 tops 18 times
- 8 bottoms 20 times
- 8 dresses 12 times
- 6 cardigans 13 times
- 5 scarves 9 times
- 10 pairs of shoes 23 times
I must have forgotten to record some shoes because though I do spend most of my day barefoot, I do usually put something on my feet when I walk out of the house!
The colour analysis is dominated by gray, but I have managed to inject a little more colour this month
- Gray 22
- Blue 18
- Red 11
- Green 5
- Purple 4
- White 4
- Cream 1
- Pink 1
- Brown 1
But by far the most interesting figures are the comparison between one month and the next. As the weather has been pretty consistent they should be fairly comparable
I wore 5 tops, 5 bottoms, 5 dresses and 3 cardigans both months. Those items were worn a whopping 84 times over the past two months with the highest wearage going to an ancient pale blue jersey wrap which was worn 12 times during April and May.
So isolating the clothes I wore most and adding in those I know go with the core items and I love (no good if I don’t love them, I won’t wear them and they should be on the way out anyway) I have my reverse approach to Project 333.
I was talking with my mother earlier today and the conversation inevitably came around to decluttering. The area in question being her wardrobe. She maintains that there is nothing in her wardrobe that the doesn’t like nor anything that doesn’t fit. On the other hand there is enough in there for her to have just taken out several boxes of clothes because the wardrobe was full. It is not a small wardrobe.
That freaked me out. The idea of having that many clothes was scary. I love the fact that it doesn’t take me ages to get dressed in the morning. I love the fact that I have discovered tops and bottoms that I would never have thought of putting together look fabulous. I love the fact that I am much better at layering and thus don’t need so many jumpers (even in the north of England).
So I began to think of other areas where decluttering has actually made my life easier.
The kitchen. I never have to clean a finickety garlic press, it’s long gone, I grate garlic now. I am seriously wondering about keeping my Kenward Chef. I rarely use it. Today I made Bakewell tart and homemade custard for supper. I did the whole thing by hand and with a hand held beater. I would never have bothered to make pudding if I had to get out the Kenward and then wash all the bits up. I make bread by hand because I enjoy the process. The yoghurt maker died and I discovered I could make yoghurt just as easily without it. The kettle died so we started using our stove top one on the aga and/or the hob. Just as quick. Leave it on the side of the aga and the water is always warm and there is a nice space on the kitchen surface where the kettle used to be.
The knicker drawer! I cleared out every single item of underwear other than recently purchased bras that fit and knickers that I wouldn’t mind being caught wearing if I was run over by a bus. To the latter I added 4 pairs of bamboo knickers that I adore and with which I will be replacing all current incumbants as they wear out. Early mornings are so much easier when there are only five pairs of knickers and a couple of bras in your drawer.
The compost bin. The kitchen compost bin has been replaced by a smaller one and the garden compost bin moved closer to the house. Net result nobody minds emptying the compost. That is a BIG result in our house.
Books. Having got rid of books I had held onto for all sorts of reasons, but books I was never going to read again I have discovered some gems that was hidden behind all the rest. Books I had forgotten I had bought but have loved reading …. and passing on.
Oddly enough the area I was most scared about decluttering. The area where I thought I needed all those bits and pieces was the kitchen. That has proved to be the area where decluttering has been the most productive.
When I was at university (back in the Dark Ages) I had to take a statistics course. I knew it wouldn’t go well and it didn’t. I had a book by Derek Rowntree called Statistics without Tears. I remember throwing it across the room and crying “You lied!” You can still get the book, it is actually very good and as I had a maths A-level under my belt you would have thought I would be have been fine with stats.
I now realise it wasn’t the stats that were the problem but the subject matter. If there was less talk of X and Y and more of skirts and dresses, or curly kale and sprouting broccoli I would have been top of the class. So today I bring you wardrobe statistics where SD stands for Silk Dress not Standard Deviation and Chance Variation refers to the oppotune discovery that the pink scarf looks fantastic with the lime green jacket 🙂
You may remember that I took up the challenge of Project 333 last summer. This year I have decided to reverse the project. I am keeping a tally of the clothes I wear over a three month period and then restricting myself to those clothes only for the rest of the summer (I am optomistic that it will be a blazing hot day on St Swithun’s day).
At the end of month one there is a definite trend appearing. I am wearing almost entirely jersey (bamboo and cotton) and the colours are generally muted with bright accessories. I am wearing more earrings (I used to just put a pair in and leave them) and have discovered I rather like big dangley ones. I rarely wear trousers other than leggings with tunics and I almost never wear a coat. I am usually barefoot or wear Toms or Fitflops. This a big reveal as although I have culled my shoe collection quite severely I still never wear many of them. Regardless of the weather I tend to wear summery light clothes and just layer up if it gets cold. I haven’t worn socks or tights all month.
For those of you who would like the figures they are as follows.
- Tops: I have worn 10 different tops 16 times in total
- Bottoms: I have worn 6 bottoms a total of 15 times.
- Dresses: I have worn 7 dresses a total of 15 times
- Cardigans: I have worn 6 cardianas a total of 16 times
- Scarves: I have worn 5 scarves a total of 15 times
- Shoes: I have worn 6 shoes a total of 30 times, the fitflops 18 times!
- Coats/Jackets: I have worn one coat twice and one jacket once.
Colours are very blue heavy.
- Blues: 27
- Pinks: 12
- Grey: 11
- Neutrals: 9
- Teal: 8
- Purple: 7
- Black: 2
- Green: 1
I recently had my colours done and I think I am pretty okay with the ones I am wearing but apparently should be wearing more yellow and orange. I hate both of them on me so I can’t see that happening soon.
In the meantime it has been an interesting look at how I use my wardrobe and you will be delighted to know you will be getting another update at the end of May. Bet you can’t wait 🙂
Way back here I rather piously blogged about decluttering my wardrobe. Then here I made an inventory of all my clothes. Then I went and hid in the corner for a while and now I am back on the wagon.
For most of us decluttering is an ongoing process. Most of us have accumulated so much stuff that it just cannot be excised in a flash. There is also a psychological and emotional element. Much as we want to let go it is hard, or at least it is at first. Believe me, it becomes much, much easier with time.
This is the latest wardrobe cull. Six months ago I could never have believed I would be getting rid of these items, but I have learned that I don’t wear them. I don’t wear them because I don’t know they are there, I don’t wear them because either they don’t feel right, or my lifestyle no longer needs them. And therefore I don’t need them either.
This afternoon I am going through the t-shirts and accessories and then tomorrow I will do a new inventory. It has not been all one way. I have bought clothes. The clothes I have bought have all been similar in style, cotton jersey/bamboo/linen and very relaxed and easy to wear. Easy mix and match and easy to layer. I have noticed a general trend towards similar colours and no patterns on my main items, using scarves and jewellery to add colour.
My next step is to start making my own clothes using ethically sourced natural fabrics. I have made up a few toiles and am waiting for the first fabrics to arrive. I’m no great seamstress, so it is fortunate I don’t need to wear a fully fitted suit every day. But fortunately I can make the kind of simple clothes I do like to wear, and like the food I make or grow myself I know where it has come from and how it was made.
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 🙂
I recently gave advice about how to declutter your wardrobe. How to stand back from the emotion, guilt and downright exhaustion that leads you to let stuff you will never wear put down roots the size of Japanese Knot Weed in your wardrobe.
This weekend I took my advice. I thought I had taken my advice some 3 or 4 months ago. But Reader, I had not. Project 333 gave me a better idea of how much stuff I didn’t need. It also gave me a glimpse of how much stuff I didn’t really want. I kept it because I thought I might wear it, but deep down I knew I wouldn’t. Not necessarily because it didn’t fit (though there were some shocking revealations on that front) but because I just didn’t like them any longer. Into that category went,, amongst many other things a brown linen dress, green spotty Boden shirt dress, a long check skirt. All perfectly decent and wearable but not by me. So they have gone to the charity shop and I hope they find homes with people who will truly love them rather than merely put up with them as I have.
However, the greatest revealation from Project 333 was how flexible my wardrobe was. When you only have 33 items to chose from you have to use your imagination and think outside the box just a little. Remember that post I did a couple of days ago about multitasking objects (the loofah is still my favourite)? Do the same with your clothes. Dresses become tops with leggings underneath. Cardigans worn backwards become jumpers. Layer tee shirts and vest tops. Use your scarf as a belt. Turn lonely earrings which have lost their partners into broaches or pendants. Long jersey skirts have hundreds of options (see here)
I have more than 33 items in my wardrobe, but I can at long last say that I know precisely what is in my wardrobe, that I wear every single item on a regular basis and that I am have whole lot more fun getting dressed in the morning because I am no longer stuck in that “I’ll just put this on again” rut.
It really isn’t hard, it really is quite good fun, and you will have a whole new wardrobe without even spending a single penny. What is not to like?
The is becoming a pleasure not a chore. When I went out to work I would always put my clothes out, including shoes and jewellery out the night before. Some nights I would panic and just grab one of my standard outfits just so that I didn’t have to think about it in the morning. These days I don’t have to dress up for work, but I do have to dress! It is always easier in the summer, a single dress, underwear and sandals and hey presto. Winter requires more planning because it requires more clothes but I am hoping that by beginning my training with Project333 this summer will help for the winter.
We have just come back from two weeks in Turkey. The clothes required for a daily temperature of 30-35 degrees is somewhat different to those required for summer in the north of England (even in our heatwave). I had to make some changes to the 33 items. At first I thought I had failed, but on reflection I decided I hadn’t. Failure would be to have gone back to my old wardrobe and I didn’t do that. So this is was what I did. On my return I looked at the clothes in my suitcase and put them in three piles. Those that had come from my original 33 items; those that had not and would not return to that pile (beach dress, bikini for example); those that had not but I would like to keep. Pile one and three were put in my 333 wardrobe (after washing of course!).
Then I took out of my 333 wardrobe all the clothes that I had originally put in but hadn’t worn. I felt compelled to put in trousers including a pair of jeans because I thought I might need them. But I hardly ever wear trousers. They were returned to the storage wardrobe.
Now I dress from the much reduced 333 wardrobe, but if I want to wear something that is not there I take it from the storage wardrobe and return it to the 333 wardrobe after wearing. I’m not up to 33 items yet and everything in my wardrobe has earned the right to be there. It is interesting seeing what does go in and I am looking forward to comparing the final 33 at the end of September with the original 33 I chose in July.
No posts over the weekend as I am off on a foraging weekend with Taste the Wild. I can’t wait!
Yesterday was the first challenge for the capsule wardrobe. We were invited to a reception by the County Durham Foundation. Dress (for women at least) “cocktail dress”. As the reception was to be held in the garden and the weather is famously inclement up here I would also need some form of cover up and shoes without heels.
No problem. Blue spotty dress, white cardigan and blue wedge sandals. It was SO EASY. None of that staring at the wardrobe and trying on different things (and discovering they no longer fit) and then agonising over whether a cardigan or jacket would be better. Thanks to the vagaries of Air France I arrived home from the airport with only 15 minutes to get ready. It was a breeze.
Getting dressed generally is so much easier and more fun. I have to think laterally, to be imaginative with less is fun. I don’t have to wander around the bedroom from wardrobe to chest of drawers. It’s all hanging up in one place.
I still only have 30 items so there are 3 more to be added. As we are going on holiday during this period I am going to hold off until I have decided what I want to take on holiday. Packing is going to be a lot easier too!