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Edit Your Wardrobe

In the spirit of my friend Courtney’s upcoming micro-course — Dress with Less — I decided to share a few decluttering tips and an updated list of the items in my wardrobe.

When I started to edit my wardrobe, I did a couple of things:

First, I inventoried the stuff in my closet.

Second, over a two week period, I wrote down what I wore. This activity helped me figure out what I wore and what I left hanging in my closet.

Finally, after I looked at my list, I started the editing process. I placed a big donation bag near my closet and put the clothing I no longer wanted in the bag. In my wardrobe, I separated my clothes into a maybe group and a keep group. Eventually, the maybe group was donated to Goodwill and I only kept clothing that I loved and wore regularly.

Every season, I come back to this basic process because it helps me figure out what I really use. I hope the tips above, and my wardrobe list below, will inspire you to do some spring cleaning!

The Staples: Dresses, Leggings & My Puff

Dresses and skirts are a staple in my wardrobe because I’m not a fan of jeans and slacks. For me, they aren’t comfortable. To stay warm in the winter, I layer my dresses with tights and sweaters. I also adore my Patagonia vest, which I call my “puff”. I wear it all the time!

In my experience, it’s impossible to be cozy or warm in any outfit without comfortable undergarments. My undies and socks are all merino wool. Plus, I have three sets of leggings; two pairs are made out of cotton and the other from bamboo.

Below is a breakdown of the staples in my wardrobe, along with a few categories and notes:

Accessories

Pajamas

My leggings double as pajamas bottoms and for a top I wear an old t-shirt that belonged to my dad. The t-shirt is bright yellow and it has a giant Lion’s Club logo on the back and on the front of the shirt, in small lettering, it says “Lion Mahlon.” The t-shirt reminds me of my dad’s sweet nature and his community connections.

Shoes

When I moved to the ranch, I had two pairs of shoes; flip flops and a pair of black Merrell Barefoots. I finally upgraded my shoe collection this winter because what I had wasn’t doing the job. My feet were freezing, so I bough a pair of rubber boots and my mother in-law gave me a pair of slippers for my birthday.

About a month ago, I purchased two new pairs of Merrell Barefoots and one pair of Black BareTrap boots. I literally wore a holes in the soles of my old Merrell’s and my feet were getting soaked in Longview. Luckily, all of the new shoes were on sale. I have a tendency to underbuy and that can get me into trouble. I’m not a fan of cold feet and wet socks! Here’s a list of my shoe collection:

Parting Words

At one time, I had a giant wardrobe, overflowing with clothing. I couldn’t find what I needed and spent hours getting ready in the morning.

Now, I mix and match, and more importantly, I streamlined my wardrobe to serve me. Whether you are decluttering your closet or book collection, it’s important to think about how your belongings serve you and the value they bring to your life.

Share your decluttering tips in the comments section and don’t forget to check out Dress with Less.

Be well,
Tammy

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Earl Jessee March 27, 2013, 9:48 am

    Looks like the wardrobe (Logan’s, I assume) has a very high plaid percentage… these NorCal Smiths, I tellya. I have to edit my wardobe. It’s just that I have some nice pants and shirts that are great on a 20lb-lighter Earl. I gotta find that guy and get his wardrobe back to him. -e

    • Tammy Strobel March 27, 2013, 9:56 am

      @Earl – Your comment made me laugh out loud. Yes, Logan does have a high percentage of plaid in his little wardrobe. It’s kind of crazy. I’m a fan of black because it goes with everything and I don’t look like a total dork in public. 🙂

      • Cheri March 27, 2013, 10:25 am

        Tammy! I want your dresses they are so awesome! I’m also a fan of black! You should show some pictures of you in your different outfits! I think that would help me (and others) get some inspiration of all the different things we can do with a smaller wardrobe! 🙂

        • Jill March 28, 2013, 6:14 pm

          I second this comment! I really like the skirt and dresses and I’d love to see how you put them together with other items, especially for variable weather.

        • Anonymous April 3, 2013, 8:10 pm

          I can’t wear black without looking like a ghost! A series of pictures of your outfits would be great 🙂 really helps to see how you use them

  • Brittany March 27, 2013, 10:28 am

    I have that same vest in the Pearl color and I LOVE IT!! I feel so warm and cozy when I wear it! We wear a lot of similar clothes.

  • Mopsa March 27, 2013, 11:22 am

    Tammy, I really enjoyed your clothing choices! Thanks for sharing.
    What would you wear for a fancy occasion, like for example a wedding? Does your current set of clothing accommodate for that? Or do you buy something on purpose? I have a headache when trying to pick clothes for these occasions o.O

    • Tammy Strobel March 27, 2013, 12:30 pm

      Gosh, I haven’t been to a wedding in years!

      If I had to go to a wedding this weekend, my black or blue dress could work. I’d probably wear my pink sweater over it; just for a little color. My shoes would not work. I’d probably head to Goodwill and find something for the occasion. Goodwill has all kinds of lovely and inexpensive clothes. I hope that helps. 🙂

  • Dorthe March 27, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I was just thinking about the same as Mopsa, what do you do when you have to dress up? I like all your clothes too and kind of what to get everything but that doesn’t go hand in hand with downsizing : ( I also think you should draw some pictures of yourself in your various outfits for inspiration. Thanks as always.

  • Debbie Roes March 27, 2013, 2:57 pm

    Excellent post! Since I am starting Project 333 for the first time on Monday, I love reading about others’ success with the challenge and seeing the list of their “dress with less” items. I totally agree with you that it’s harder to get dressed when you have a packed closet. My wardrobe has over 300 pieces in it and I finally said, “Enough!” this year.

    Project 333 is just part of my journey to stop shopping compulsively, cultivate a smaller and more functional wardrobe and create a more balanced life with interests and hobbies outside of shopping! I am nervous to start Project 333, but I am also excited. Reading about your success is inspiring, so thank you! I hope to be able to report similar positive things three months from now…

    • Tammy Strobel March 27, 2013, 3:58 pm

      Right on Debbie! I know you’ll do great. Wishing you all the best.

      xo,
      Tammy

  • Paul R March 27, 2013, 4:07 pm

    I always hang items I’ve worn to the left and if I buy something new I remove whatever is on the far right.

  • Anne-Marie March 27, 2013, 5:05 pm

    I don’t buy clothes very often and I have some stuff in my closet that I never wear. But mostly I have a few things I really like and that I wear all the time. And it is so true that you really do not need very many clothes. Some of my clothes are probably 10-20 years old and still work and look nice. Over time I have realized that I need very little and it is a matter of changing the way you think. The same is true when I travel. I usually only bring one, fairly small bag that I check in and then I have carry-on luggage where I have some basic clothing. Just in case the airline misplaces my luggage. That has happened a couple of times.

  • Ikuko March 27, 2013, 5:23 pm

    Great! I started my project few weekends ago. So far, I sorted out bags & winter accessories in my closet. I intentionally started with them though don’t have many of those anyway, so that I wouldn’t overwhelmed myself. Now I’m ready to put my hands (and minds..?) to my clothes.
    I think I can minimize “not work-related” clothes just like you, but I need to dress in “business casual” at work during the weekday which gives me bulk in my closet…

  • Alicia March 28, 2013, 5:08 am

    Excellent post!

    I am starting Project 333 on Monday. Though I have been downsizing for awhile, I have not focused on my wardrobe yet. I am in the process of losing weight (since January), so I am looking for ways to work with my changing body over the next few months.

  • Sara March 28, 2013, 6:11 am

    Thank for the update and the links to your clothing. I’ve been paring down for a while and am FINALLY at around 15 items (excluding undies and such). My items are wearing fast, and instead of buying just cheap replacements, I’d like to spend the extra to have good quality, longer-lasting items, and these brands you’ve recommended look to be about right! This brings me to my question- how often do you wash your clothing? Any tips on making them last longer? I try to wear 2-3 times before washing but this is one of my biggest concerns for me. I wash our clothing in the washer, but hang to dry, so I do know that helps some.

    • Tammy Strobel March 28, 2013, 11:20 am

      Hey Sara – Like you, I wear my clothes 2-3 times before washing and try to air-dry some of the items. I’ve had the best luck with merino-wool blends; they seem to last the longest. Also, I just donated my old cotton dress from Horney Toad. I wore it two or three times a week for a year and it was still in good shape. I really think it depends on the brand. I hope that helps!

      Cheers,
      Tammy

  • Molly March 28, 2013, 11:04 am

    I only do laundry once a week; as a single person it takes that long for me to fill the washing machine! I have enough clothes to last me all week for winter and for summer. I really am not into fashion, and I am much happier since I stopped trying to look “nice.” In the winter I wear turtlenecks, and in the summer, short sleeves, with slacks or skirts with both. I also have enough of my green polo shirts I am required to wear to work for the week.

    I am concerned about when I leave this job in a few months; I know many places frown on people wearing the same clothes week after week. I’m debating adding a few shirts, but I don’t really want to. I like simplicity!

  • Natalie March 28, 2013, 11:47 am

    This is awesome! Thanks for the recommendations and sharing your wardrobe (love the dresses too!).

  • Becky March 28, 2013, 12:27 pm

    I am digging the Merrell barefoots!!

  • Elizabeth March 28, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Here’s something I do that I rarely hear mentioned. I love yoga pants and buy multiples in dark black cotton from a well-known retailer. The newest, darkest pair is my “dress” pair, which I wear to work for a year or so. I then rotate that slightly faded pair into “weekend wear” for the second year. At the third year mark, I rotate that pair into my yard work or workout pile. Each year I add one new pair of yoga pants, always having a dark black pair for work and a well-worn, faded pair for walking, bicycling, gardening, etc.

    My husband does this with his hiking boots. He rotates through a new pair every year, sending the year-old ones off as his weekend wear and the two-year old ones off to yard work.

    After three years, we have more than gotten our money’s worth from these items, and we donate them to who needs them.

    • Tammy Strobel March 28, 2013, 3:33 pm

      Awesome idea Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Melinda March 29, 2013, 12:03 am

    Hi Tammy,
    This is off subject for your clothing post, but nonetheless, I thought of your tiny house when I saw this.
    Enjoy!
    http://www.adventure-journal.com/2012/05/weekend-cabin-nido-finland/

  • Sarah March 31, 2013, 8:06 pm

    very interesting, i too only wear about 10 things in rotation over and over. I have been putting off buying anything new since I also want to lose weight. Maybe cutting my wardrobe way! down will help motivate me to lose weight faster too:)

  • Suzanne April 1, 2013, 7:18 pm

    Tammy you are a bad influence on me! I fell in love with the Horny Toad skirt and had to order one. I have a pair of their shorts and a top. Love them. I second your love of merino wool

    • Tammy Strobel April 2, 2013, 7:44 am

      @Suzanne – I hope you like the skirt. Horny Toad is awesome! xo.

  • Shannon April 5, 2013, 12:20 pm

    THANKS for turning me on to Project 333. I just started and am very excited!!

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