I decided to split my June LIWI update into two parts because it was just getting too long. I think I will change the structure of my future updates to streamline them a bit. As longtime readers are aware of, I’m a big fan of numbers, statistics, and analysis, but I know that not everyone has the time or the inclination to read such a deep level of detail. But I will definitely share information galore at the end of the year when I was wrapping up the challenge, so fellow detail fans will be sure to appreciate that post.
In part one of my June LIWI update, which went live on Friday, I shared what I wore during June and gave you a glimpse into my “working closet” halfway through the challenge, complete with lots of photos. As a reminder, here’s what my working closet looked like as of the end of June:
In today’s post, I do some analysis into what has yet to be worn and why. There will also be quite a few numbers and photos in this post to help illustrate my points. Since my previous LIWI update was also very detail-oriented, I will highlight what has changed between the unworn areas of my wardrobe in May versus June as well.
A Few Words about Closet Size and Duplication
I have received a number of comments on Part One of my June LIWI update, to which I will respond shortly. However, I also want to say a few things here, as I know that many of you don’t read the comments. Some people seem to feel that I still have too many clothes overall and too many duplicate items in the mix. That may be true, but what constitutes a “duplicate” can be defined differently from person to person. What seems like overkill to one person may be just right to another. I think reader Anne said it best with the following comment:
I think what we keep in our wardrobes is very personal. I have 4 identical pairs of Dansko sandals, in different colors. I have back troubles and these shoes keep my back from hurting. But anyone peering in my closet would think ‘Enough with the Dansko Sophie sandals!’ I also love handbags with built in organizers. I have 5 which are very similar although different colors. I don’t want different styles. I love that style. I have 6 sheath dresses – a perfect silhouette for my body type, and lots of cardigans to go with them. I love and wear them all.”
“I have found my style and I am very comfortable with it. I wear things that I enjoy just because I enjoy them. To me, that is enough.”
I don’t think I could have said it better myself… She also made the following point about this blog:
This blog has never been about minimalism. There are plenty of blogs for that. But it is about Debbie’s personal journey to figure out how to put shopping for clothes in its proper perspective. It has been a fascinating journey that she has invited us to watch. I appreciate being a guest in her home!”
Thank you, Anne. I really appreciate your perspective and support. It’s true that this blog is not about minimalism, although I touch on that topic from time to time. Yes, I have done a few rounds of minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 (see my posts on that topic here), but it has never been my intention to have a tiny wardrobe. I just want to have a wardrobe that works for me and my life, and I want to love my clothes and feel that they express my personal style.
I’m not even overly focused on fashion and trends. While I don’t want to look like I should be nominated for “What Not to Wear” (which isn’t even on the air anymore), I don’t particularly care if I’m on the cutting edge of fashion. I have a very casual life and I live in an ultra-casual town. I think most people I know wouldn’t even know cutting-edge fashion if it hit them in the face, so I’m not too worried about it. If I’m happy in what I’m wearing, that’s what’s most important, and that is really true for all of us.
I have made tremendous progress with my wardrobe and shopping since I started this blog. My wardrobe is less than half the size it was when I started out and my jewelry collection is only about a third the size of what I was previously (see here for my jewelry numbers from 1.5 years ago). I’m very proud of how far I’ve come on my journey thus far. Is there still progress to be made? Of course, but as long as I’m moving in the right direction, I’m happy. A year from now, I may look back at this time and wonder why I still had so many clothes and areas of similarity. However, it’s also possible that I may be closer than I think to my desired end point. I don’t even know for sure what that end goal is, but I’ll know when I get there, and I will probably still want to course-correct here and there for the rest of my life. That’s how growth works…
What Hasn’t Been Worn – The Clothes
Now that I’ve said all of that, let’s dive into the second part of my June LIWI update (see part one here). In addition to writing about my “working closet” in these LIWI updates, I also like to take a look at what has yet to be worn. Here’s a look at the unworn section of my closet as of June 30th:
Let’s take a closer look at these items by category:
- 1 pair of jeans (new black jeans bought in May)
- 1 pair of pants (Capris – wore them on July 3rd)
- 3 dresses
- 3 cardigans
- 8 short jackets (I think there is some “dead weight” here – I wrote about this in my last update)
- 1 long-sleeved top (pictured here – I really like it, but it’s fancy and my life is not…)
- 1 short-sleeved top (new in June – was worn on July 3rd)
- 4 sleeveless tops (all have now been worn as of July 8th)
In contrast, here’s how my numbers looked as of the end of May:
- 1 pair of jeans (same)
- 1 pair of pants (same)
- 7 dresses (4 more than in June)
- 2 skirts (2 more than in June)
- 5 cardigans (2 more than in June)
- 8 short jackets (same)
- 3 long-sleeved tops (2 more than in June)
- 1 short-sleeved top (same, but it was a different top – I bought a new top in June)
- 5 sleeveless tops (1 more than in June)
As you can see, I have fewer unworn items in June than I did in May, and the number is dropping even more substantially during July. Here’s a bird’s eye view of my unworn items as of the end of June:
There’s a good reason why many of these clothes had yet to be worn. The majority of them are summer pieces, and that season didn’t really start here until about two weeks ago. As you can see from the notes I included above, many of these items have already been worn during the first part of July, and I expect that most of the other pieces will be worn sometime this month.
The most questionable items are my jackets and cardigans, which are shown in a close-up view below:
The majority of the pieces above are worn most often during the summer months (I get cold easily and usually need a topper, especially in the evenings), so I should know soon whether or not I will reach for them. I definitely have too many jackets and some styles are no longer in line with my personal style aesthetic. I expect this section of my LIWI update to include far fewer items next month because I will have either worn almost everything or elected to pass them on. At the time of this writing, I have already worn two of the above pieces this month (the denim blazer and the leopard print cardigan) and I’m still very happy with both of them. We’ll see what happens with everything else as the month progresses.
Now let’s take a look at the accessories I have yet to wear this year, starting with shoes. The six pairs of shoes below have not yet been worn during 2015:
Since all of these shoes are sandals, I’m sure I’ll wear some of them soon now that the weather has warmed up (I actually wore the black and cream sandals yesterday). The ones that I’m least likely to wear are the black sling-backs (top left) and the pewter sling-backs (bottom middle), as both are quite dressy in nature. But as I mentioned in this post, I’m okay with keeping a small dressy capsule around for the rare occasions when I dress up more than usual, so I may elect to keep those shoes even if they aren’t worn soon. I will re-evaluate this later in the year.
Earrings and Bracelets
Next, let’s check out the earrings and bracelets that I haven’t worn this year:
There are only seven pairs of earrings and two bracelets in this group. The beaded black bracelet is new as of April and the other bracelet has been in my jewelry box for close to 20 years, and I will likely keep both of them. As for the earrings, I see myself holding on to probably half of them, but I will revisit this issue in a month or two after I see what I reach for during the summer.
I have ten necklaces that I haven’t worn yet in 2015, and all of them are in shorter lengths:
Half of these necklaces are quite old (8+ years), while the others are relatively recent additions to my jewelry collection (2013-2014). I think I just have too many necklaces overall (even though I’ve downsized considerably) and I haven’t been as inspired to wear them as I used to be. However, since I tend to wear short necklaces more often during the summer, it’s likely I will wear at least some of the items above soon. Time will tell…
Pins and Pendants
Here are some jewelry pieces that I haven’t mentioned or shown here on the blog before, my pins and pendants:
I used to wear pins and pendants all the time, but I have been less inclined to do so as of late. A few of the pieces above have sentimental value and have been with me a long time. I can see myself wearing almost all of the items shown above in the future. I had actually forgotten about some of them because I had far too much jewelry prior to paring down considerably last year (read about my process here). I don’t plan to purchase new pins or pendants anytime soon and I hope I’ll be inspired to wear some of these pieces in the coming months.
On LIWI and My Jewelry
LIWI has definitely helped to curtail my jewelry purchases. After I realized how much jewelry I own and how much of it isn’t getting worn, I’ve held off on buying new pieces while shopping my jewelry box instead. As a result, I’ve rediscovered some old favorites and have learned a lot about my preferences. Since jewelry doesn’t occupy much space and I’ve already gotten rid of so much, I’m not in a huge hurry to do more culling, especially if I still like what I have. Sometimes my jewelry style aesthetic vacillates and pieces fall in and out of my favor. However, if I find myself not loving something for a long period of time, I know it’s time to pass it on to someone who will enjoy wearing it.
I wrote about my unworn scarves last month, so I won’t repeat myself here, especially since nothing changed during June (I didn’t wear any scarves that month). I have worn scarves a couple of times so far in July and was happy with them when I did. I will re-visit my scarf wardrobe later in the year as I see what I love and wear.
Well, there you have it… my unworn pieces as of the end of June 2015. I am halfway through the LIWI challenge and really don’t have too many unworn pieces left, relatively speaking. Some of them are seasonal items that I didn’t have much opportunity to wear until recently, but some areas of my wardrobe (i.e. short jackets and necklaces) are simply over-represented. I didn’t realize that I had too many items in certain categories (particularly jewelry) until I started doing the LIWI challenge, so my awareness has definitely increased as I moved to create a “working closet” and a “working jewelry collection.”
I think it’s a useful exercise for us to take a look at our unworn clothes, shoes, and accessories. If you are doing LIWI, or if you are struggling with an oversized wardrobe, I encourage you to take some time to do this exercise. Even if you aren’t tracking what you wear like I do, I’m sure you still have a decent sense of what you are and aren’t wearing. Taking a few minutes to separate your favorites from the “also rans” can help you get in touch with what you love and why, as well as what you don’t like so much and the reasons for that.
I’d love to get your thoughts on the topic of unworn items, both yours and mine. If you have any insights on the items I’ve featured in this post, I welcome them, but mostly want to read about your wardrobes.
- What are some of the garments and accessories that you haven’t worn this year?
- What do you see as the reasons why those pieces have remained in your closet instead of making it out on the town?
I invite you to share your thoughts with me and your fellow readers. If you didn’t get a chance to give an update on your LIWI challenge progress the last time around, you’re welcome to do it in the comments section of this post. Also, if you have any questions for me – or suggestions for future posts, please post those as well.
Yours is my favourite blog. Through witnessing how you are working with your wardrobe, it’s helping me deal to my own. Thankyou.
Thank you so much, Fiona. I’m so happy that my blog has been helpful for you. Knowing that I am helping others is what keeps me going…
I have a pair of cropped pants (light grey/white “railroad” strips) that I bought for under $5 (deep discount) and have yet to wear. They seem very summery in color to me but the fabric weight and length have made them a little too hot for our very humid summer weather. I am hoping to wear them this weekend when I have a late evening (post-theatre) dinner at an outdoor cafe. Everything else I own has been worn numerous times; because I really don’t have that many clothes, every garment is in steady rotation. Some things are worn weekly; some work-out clothes are worn twice a week. I do laundry every few days!!
Your cropped pants sound cute, Dottie. I hope you will get a chance to wear them this coming weekend. I love to eat at outdoor cafes. You do a lot of laundry! I only do laundry about every two weeks. I usually do it when my husband tells me he’s running out of underwear 🙂
I think, in part, the size of the wardrobe dictates how often one does laundry (and vice versa). When I lived in a hi-rise apt. with laundry facilities on every other floor, I have tons of underwear, sheets, towels, and so forth, because getting access to the laundry facilities was a nightmare. Now I have a high efficiency laundry set-up on my first floor and I have far fewer clothes that I carefully launder weekly or nearly weekly or even twice a week.
Yes, this is very true, Dottie. We have laundry facilities in our building, but there really aren’t enough machines for the number of residents here. I think that if I had my own washer and dryer, I would probably be comfortable with having fewer clothes, especially since I am breaking my attachment to “more.” So yes, laundry does play a role in the size of one’s wardrobe for sure.
I’m at the point where I’m wearing 90% of my closet. I’ve worn all of my summer clothes thus far at least one (that’s including a formal-ish dress that I rarely ever wear). I have some summer purchases from last year (before I knew anything about fit, shape, or color) that I will be donating or putting on Ebay to sell. Mainly a couple of scarves that are not in my colors, a empire waisted tank top that just doesn’t fit right and made of poly, a striped organza skirt that I mistakenly bought in too small of a size and also the wrong white for me, and a pinstripe down vest that is too blocky for my body shape. I also have two necklaces that were mistake purchases (colors and metals not good for my coloring) from last year. I also have a lace shrug/infinity scarf that I haven’t worn yet as it’s quite fancy and too hot right now to wear. It’s really more for my fancy evening wear capsule, but can be worn casually when winter comes along. For winter I will be most likely be replacing a silk printed blouse that has stress marks in the under arms and the silk has not worn so well. Everything that generally didn’t work out for this year thus far has been returned (I’ve been mostly shopping at brands with generous return policies).
Congrats on wearing so much of your wardrobe, Margaret! It sounds like your clothes are working well for you and that you have a good handle on why some pieces aren’t getting worn. You also seem to have a good plan for the future. I am not quite to where you are, but I know I am moving in the right direction and just need to keep on going and be patient…
I agree with Anne that what constitutes a “duplicate” or “too much of the same” varies quite a bit from person to person. I am sure that lots of people would look at my collection of shawl-collar cardigans and exclaim, “Enough already!” but I truly do wear and enjoy them all, and they are not interchangeable in function. In contrast, I sometimes find that two items that do not obviously look like duplicates are actually playing the same role in my wardrobe — I usually have a clear favorite and being honest about that helps me let the un-favored item go.
There does seem to be a fine balance between knowing and sticking to a well-honed personal style, and accumulating too much of the same thing! I’m trying to stay aware of that but also recognize that our wardrobes will always be in some degree of flux — a relatively small degree, hopefully, but it’s freeing not to chase static perfection.
Unworn items in my closet: a few “autumn” items that fall into a color palette specific to that time of year. Of my summer wardrobe, unworn items are maybe two things that I need to alter; several that I am likely passing on (sometimes I find it easier to remove an item from my active closet at the beginning of the season, but not actually remove it from the house until I confirm at the end of the season that I haven’t missed it!), and two items that I love but am avoiding putting on because I’m afraid they will not fit anymore. Oh, denial — like they say, not just a river in Egypt!
I like your multi-stone necklace (fifth from left) and your blue/green statement necklace (third from left) a lot! Both of these look quite current to me and also seem to fit your color palette well. I think the necklace on the far right is too warm for your palette. Second from the left seems a little dated to me (something about the pendant + beads look). That’s just my two cents’ worth, I completely identify with not caring about being up-to-the-moment with trends, so if you truly love them keep them!
Very good points, Sarah. I think that one of Bridgette Raes’ questions can really help us to determine if something is a duplicate that plays the same role in a wardrobe: “Under what circumstance would I wear this over something else I own that I like more?” (paraphrased here…). In one of her posts, she used the example of cocktail dresses and a client who had several, yet she always reached for that same dress whenever she had an occasion to dress up more. So she really had no reason to keep the others. If you have multiple shawl cardigans and love and wear all of them, then they aren’t really duplicates. They may be similar but who cares if you are wearing all of them regularly?
Thanks for your input on my necklace. The two you mentioned liking are relatively recent, but so is the second one that you thought looked kind of dated. The one on the right is definitely too warm in color for me. I have only kept it because I wear it with my leopard print dress, which is also too warm in color for me, but it’s comfortable and a good shape for me. When I get rid of the dress, the necklace will also go. Might be soon, as they are both outliers and I have other dresses I really like. I don’t know what to do about my necklaces. I may do a whole post about them in which I take photos of me in all of them. Some are very old and have sentimental value (#6, 7, and 9), and #1 was a gift from my dad and stepmother for my 40th birthday. I don’t know why I don’t wear it. I think I am not much of a necklace person. I often feel too dressed up in them for some reason. Necklace #5 was a Christmas gift from my mom. She bought it for me because I liked it. I still like it, but it’s bigger than what I usually wear. I have to push myself to wear it, as I will probably like it when I do… As you can see, I am struggling with the necklaces, but hopefully I will be able to figure it out soon.
Duplication is in the eye of the beholder. I look at all the striped items in Debbie’s closet and wince — but I am not a stripe-y person. One striped top would be more than enough (or maybe even too much) for me. Stripes are to Debbie what polka dots are for me! However, if I didn’t have a complete wardrobe that I love and that works very well for me, I would have a lot of clothes with polka dots. I did buy one polka dot top this year and a cardigan with embroidered dots — and could have gotten a lot more stuff with polka dots. But I limited my purchases to “classic” pieces that I hope will stand the test of time. For my style choices, it is the one (or two) “bold” items that really make a statement. Too many polka dots (while tempting) can result in looking a little mad. That said, the blouse is white with large-ish black dots and the sweater is black with small white dots — just for variety. And I don’t plan on wearing them together! (I am eying a polka dot swimsuit now on sale….)
It looks like LIWI is really working for you. It seems like it has pointed out the areas that need to be trimmed-jackets and necklaces. If you’re wearing and liking the rest of it, I don’t think the number matters. I was able to pare down fairly easily and have worn all of my clothes at least once so far this year. The area the I’ve had to go slow and steady is buying new things. Like you I know how far I’ve come and the huge difference in my shopping from a few years ago. I’ve kept changing what I think the end point will be. I remember thinking that if I could get down to “just” $300 a month I’d be doing so well. I am now spending just slightly over half that and think I’m buying too much. Time can certainly change your perspective. I have a hard time being where I am at this moment on this journey. I keep wanting to make large, sweeping changes, but I know that each time I’ve done that I have slid back a few steps. I’ve done the best when I’ve made small changes and allowed myself to adjust and deal with the things that I was trying to cover up with compulsive behaviors and replace them with better alternatives. I truly enjoy being able to watch your weekly path toward the same goal. I know that sometimes it feels a little crooked , but there’s something to be said about the scenic route.
You have done SO well with LIWI, Tonya, and I’m so glad you decided to do the challenge, too. You made such fast progress, but I understand the feeling that it’s not fast enough and wanting to be “there” yesterday. Like you, I have done better with smaller, more gradual changes. Everyone is different, so we just have to know ourselves and understand what works best for us. I’m not sure what my end point will be, either. I’m trying to just take things day by day. Yes, I have too many jackets and necklaces and hopefully it will become clear for me soon which should go. The necklaces are harder, as some have sentimental value. Maybe I will just put those away and revisit them in a year or two. I will see… I agree about the “scenic route.” That has definitely been what I have taken, but I don’t feel bad about it. As long as I am making progress, I’m okay with it being slow and a bit crooked.
Because I’m currently working from home most of the time I have a fair amount of office clothing that I haven’t needed to wear yet this year. Those items are stored away in a box that I go through about every six months and I’ve only let a few things go. What remain are clothes that I know I would go back to wearing if I spent more time in an office and that I really love. Most of them are two years old (which is ancient in a fast fashion world) but I think corporate trends change more slowly. If I’m still not wearing or needing them in another two years I’ll let them go, but for now I’m keeping them tucked away.
As for non-office clothing, I have one sleeveless blouse and one dress that I have yet to wear because it just hasn’t gotten hot enough. Every so often Chicago has a really lackluster summer and I’m afraid that this is shaping up to be one of them.
I think your plan with the office clothing is a good one, Sara. I agree that office wear trends change more slowly, so older clothing in that category is less likely to look dated. Two years is not that long ago for that type of clothing. Only having two pieces of non-office clothing that you have yet to wear this year is very good, especially since you know the reason why. I had the opposite experience last summer. Our summers are usually quite mild and I generally wear a jacket or cardigan every day. But last summer, I very rarely needed a topper and mine sat in my closet unworn. Even so, I believe I have too many of them, so we’ll see what I reach for this year. I see myself paring down at least a bit in that area. I hope you get a chance to wear your sleeveless blouse and dress this summer.
I’ve been using the KonMari method since the new year and I pretty much got rid/sold what I don’t wear and pieces that don’t give me joy when I wear them. I did buy 4 new things for winter in June/July during the sales which I obviously cannot wear until it gets cold. I actually did not buy any new summer clothes during the sales, the first time ever in 5 years! So I’ve worn almost everything in my summer wardrobe and learning to be more patient about filling wardrobe gaps. I could use a few more tops and one more pair of summer trousers but I will not compromise to find the perfect items because it’s proven in my past, with a little patience, the perfect items will appear. I use to run to the stores after a clothing purge to quickly fill the wardrobe gaps only to make a bunch of mistake purchases. I REALLY do not need much variety in my wardrobe and it took me 5 years to admit it. So this year is truly the first year I can say that I wear 95% of my wardrobe and not have any guilty feelings about the few pieces I haven’t worn.
You have come such a long way, Wendy, and I’m really proud of your progress! You’re doing so well and it’s wonderful to read about it. I’m glad KonMari has been so effective for you. Congrats on paring down and on not buying anything at the summer sales. I know you used to purge a lot and then buy that much more, so your progress is that much more amazing because you are no longer doing that. I don’t need a lot of variety in my wardrobe, either, but I sometimes still fall into thinking I do. It has only been 2.5 years since I started my recovery process, though, so maybe it’s taking me a little longer to “get” it… Good for you for wearing 95% of your wardrobe and no longer feeling any guilt about your clothes!
You seem to be taking a more relaxed attitude to culling, which to me seems good. Having reduced your wardrobe such a lot over the last two years, it may be be best to wait a few months before throwing anything else away. You mention that the unworn jackets are no longer your current style, so maybe if/when you invest in a great new jacket, you could have a look at these and select one or two ones to throw away. I really like the dark green jacket – but then I would, its what I would pick for myself!
I just wore the dark green jacket yesterday, Alice, and found that I loved it. It is comfortable and I think the color is good for me. I’m glad I kept it around. We’ll see about the other jackets. I’m in no hurry to get rid of anything now that I have culled so much. It becomes clear to me over time with LIWI what I no longer wear. I know that some of the pieces in my “working closet” will likely go, as well as some of the items I have yet to wear. If I just keep going with LIWI and trust in the process, it really does all fall into place. It’s a simple yet powerful challenge.
I’m glad to hear you’re getting to wear all your wardrobe pieces now that it’s summer. Good job! You’ve also come such a long way, Debbie. You’ve immediately noticed that you aren’t wearing summer jackets as much as before. Same for the many necklaces.
In my experience, my love for certain pieces comes and goes. For example – I might wear skirts this season and ignore my dresses, but the next season I’ll come back to loving dresses. If the pieces are those you’ve loved a lot and fit you well, don’t purge too soon. But on the other hand, sometimes you know when your love is over. You might’ve enjoyed a silhouette a lot earlier, but sometimes you reach a point when you’re ‘over’ that look and ready for something new. Knowing you, you will analyze and think this through in great depth before you make your final decision 🙂
You are right on about love for certain pieces coming and going, Maneera. That has been my experience, too. That’s definitely been true for me with jewelry, which is why I hold on to some pieces that I am not currently wearing. Sometimes I give myself some time to decide whether something is “over” for me or not. That’s the case with my jackets. The summer just started, so I will see over the next month or two whether or not I wear and love the jackets. I just wore one yesterday and was very happy with it, so I’m glad I hung on to it. It was one of the “on the fence” items that I kept when I did the KonMari process back in May. Luckily, there weren’t all that many items I wasn’t sure about. I feel confident that my summer wardrobe will fall into place just as my fall/spring wardrobe did (we don’t really have winter here). LIWI has been very helpful in clarifying things for me.
It has been my experience too that my love for certain pieces comes and goes. Two years ago I was happiest wearing dresses in the summer, but last year I liked skirts. Now I’m back to dresses again. I’m feeling clothes-lazy in a good way and I don’t want to fuss, just step into a dress, zip it up and go. And I wasn’t into scarves at all last year, yet I’m keeping my scarves for when the mood strikes me again. I only have a few and they take up little space and they are good scarves.
Debbie, you are doing wonderfully, and you really are reaching your goals. Not only with your wardrobe, also with grace and generosity and taking your time to move deliberately so that there will be staying power with these changes. And you are kindly allowing us (the world) to peek over your shoulder and follow your progress and discovery. Your wardrobe and your life is coming together for you in beautiful ways. As you know I am moving towards a goal of owning less because I hope to eventually move to a much smaller house, and when the time comes to pack up I want to only have what I love, what I use, and need, and to have everything fit into the tiny closet that will likely come with smaller digs. And since I have a tendency to acquire “duplicates” or “too much of the same” it’s always a challenge for me to decide if I really want and need so many similar items, or have I fallen into the habit of selecting new favorites that look similar to old favorites? Right now my closet is on the smaller side, with lots of similar items, but I’m happy, perfectly happy. Which is why I’m glad you are following your heart, staying true to yourself while LIWI works its magic on your closet. It really is magical watching you progress over the last couple of years. Thank you for letting us all take this journey with you.
You always write the nicest things to me, Terra, and I really appreciate it. I wish I was doing as well with my life as I am with my wardrobe… I feel I have made great progress with my clothes and shopping, but my life still feels quite stuck and small. I need to focus more attention there and will be writing about my “deliberate” project for the year soon. Like you, I haven’t been as into my scarves lately, but I have pared down and am fine with holding on to a select group. The ones I have worn, I like. I may pare down more, but we’ll see how things go. Your journey with your wardrobe has been inspiring to follow, as you have always been at least a few steps in front of me. I agree that it’s a challenge to decide how many similar items we want to have and what constitutes a “duplicate.” It’s a very individual thing and will vary over time for the same person, I think. I’m glad you are enjoying following my progress, too. I have had a lot of ups and downs, but my general progression has been forward and I’m happy about that.
Nah, Debbie, your full life goal is moving steadily ahead. No reason for you to feel impatient with your progress because you have already identified the fact that moving slowly in the direction of change works best for you. Honor it and do not judge your progress, and continue to stay the course and know that as long as you keep moving, one step at a time, that you are on your way to a fuller life.
I do often feel impatient about my progress, Terra. Interestingly, I am more patient with my progress with shopping and my wardrobe than I am with my progress with the rest of my life. Maybe because these days, I am more adversely impacted by the state of the other areas of my life – poor health, loneliness, lack of career/income, etc. But at least I’m giving these things more focus and attention now, especially my health. I hope and pray that I will start to see more results soon…
Looks like you have a healthy pile of clothes for a full-on purge … your local Goodwill would love these pieces!
I have given SO many things to charity over the years, Stacey, and I’m sure I will continue to do so. I’m sure that at least some of my unworn pieces will end up there, but I’m not in a huge hurry to do it. I know that over time, it will become clear to me what I don’t want to wear anymore (including probably some pieces that are in my current “working closet”). I know that my cast-offs can and will be someone else’s treasures…
Thanks for sharing your journey. It gives me so many ideas about her to make my wardrobe a lot more workable for me as I begin my journey… I’ve noticed that my unworn clothing are pieces that I like or even love (because of their pattern, fabric, and/or color) but I don’t wear them because they just don’t feel like “me” when I put them on. They may be comfortable and the style works for my body but something just isn’t right. I’m hoping that, like you, I will be able to determine what this “something” is so that in the future, I only buy what is “me”.
I’m glad my journey is helping you, RM3. It’s always my hope that sharing my experiences will benefit others. What you have noticed about your unworn pieces is powerful. I have items like that, too. Keeping an outfit journal, along with photographing what I wear, has really helped me to become clearer about what I do and don’t like. If you don’t want to write about ALL of your outfits, it may be helpful to jot down a few notes on the days when you feel especially good about what you’re wearing. Those notes can help to provide clues to inform your future purchases.
What is it, psychologically, that makes us buy things that are similar to what we already own? My friend said she had to buy a sweater because “It’s so me.” Yes: it was almost identical to another sweater she had bought recently. Is it like voting for something/someone you like–an expression of approval? Is it the familiarity factor? It can seem almost subconscious much of the time as opposed to deliberately looking for a duplicate of something you love.
That’s a very good question, Helen. I think you touched on some of the reasons in what you wrote, and I also think it’s not the same for everyone. I think familiarity has a lot to do with it. We are often drawn to things and don’t know why. I try to ask myself when I see something I love in store if I already have something similar at home. Often the answer is yes and I usually put the item back on the rack. Of course, I don’t always do that, but I’m getting better about it. If we do find ourselves bringing home a virtual duplicate, that’s when we should take the new piece back to the store. When we have duplicates, there is almost always one item that we like and wear more, and we either don’t wear the duplicate or we only wear it out of guilt. I think that we can increase our awareness and decrease the tendency to buy so much of the same. Of course, as others have commented, sometimes similar pieces are fine, IF we love and wear them. We all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes too much of a good thing.
Hi Debbie – I am still doing LIWI. I don’t think I reached for a single extra thing from my “non-worn” section of my closet last month. And I think I only wore 1 “new” item during May. So I think the time is coming to finally jettison most of the non worn pieces. I think I mentioned previously that I realized that I was really doing “don’t hate it, wear it” as I loved very few of my pieces. I do love my pieces I bought during May and June though, so I think that now that I am becoming conscious of this element, I will slowly build up a new wardrobe that does spark joy. I finally bought the Marie Kondo book and it was quite illuminating, so I am tackling the general decluttering with gusto at the moment. Although she says to do clothing first, I have done so much clothing decluttering with the help of this blog that I don’t feel that that’s such an urgent need. So I’m tackling papers and books first, but I did kind of KonMari my sock + camisole drawer. Unfortunately, again there are very few items I loved (I only loved 3 pairs of socks and none of those are work or exercise appropriate, but thankfully I loved more camisoles). As I need more than 3 pairs of socks, I decided to just toss the ones I really disliked. I think I will do this with all my clothing categories, to keep whittling down the numbers while I am also working on papers and books. Getting to figure out what we really love is hard. But worth it!
LIWI seems to be working its magic with you, Sarah, as well as KonMari. The fact that you didn’t reach for anything in the unworn side of your closet last month and only one item during May tells you something for sure. The good news is that you love the new pieces you bought, which should help you to both be happier with your wardrobe and shop smarter moving forward. We all deserve to have wardrobes which spark joy! Good for you for tackling all of your clutter using Kondo’s process. I have done a lot, but still need to do my papers and digital clutter. I will likely do KonMari with my closet again before the end of the year to further refine things. You’re right that figuring out what we love can be hard, but I agree that it’s well worth it!
I haven’t commented much of late but have been following your progress eagerly. All your hard work is paying off dramatically, as your wardrobe pictures illustrate. I hope you are internalizing these successes, for they are hard-won.
A suggestion for those jewelry items that have sentimental value only: don’t treat them like jewelry and stash them away with other rings and necklaces; instead, get a shadow box or pretty frame and display them behind glass. With an attractive card from an art museum, or one of your terrific new photographs, they could become a pleasing reminder of a time or place rather than something that makes you feel bad because you aren’t wearing it. At least, that’s what I do. <>.
Thank you for your praise and suggestion, Amy. I like the shadow box idea, especially your suggestion to include a card or one of my photographs in the frame. It’s possible that I may want to wear some of those sentimental pieces again one day. If that ends up being the case, I can always open the frame and take the item out – or switch it out with another sentimental piece. I definitely would feel less bad (or maybe not even bad at all) about a framed piece than about something collecting dust in my jewelry box.
I received several boxes of jewelry from departed relatives and have tried to figure out what to do with it. I’ve read several blog posts about using pins, and it’s helped me do more with some of my jewelry. Pins can secure scarves, should you decide to wear one, or they can secure or embellish a belt. Consider them on jackets as well. The cat pins are substantial, how about one on a denim jacket? I’ve been known to pin a particular thing to a jacket and just leave it there.
Some of your necklaces are on chains that would be easy to switch out for different chains. If they’re too short then consider lengthening them by fastening a bracelet to the back. I know your style isn’t excessively arty so some offbeat combinations probably aren’t your style, but I think you could enjoy them if you looked at them as elements can be altered. It can be kind of fun.
Good suggestions about the pins, Ginger. I can see myself using some of them. Lengthening the chains on my necklaces has helped me get more wear about of some of them. I didn’t use a bracelet, but I did buy some necklace extenders on Amazon after seeing a link for them on a blog probably last year. They came in all different lengths and have been very helpful. In fact, I was just thinking today that I would buy another set so I could just keep them on each individual necklace instead of having to switch them out. I’m not sure if I will keep all of my necklaces. In fact, I just identified one to cull today (the one at the right in the photo above). But being able to adjust the length would help a lot. I used to have more of an “arty” style, which is why some of my necklaces fit into that category more. I will see if I still enjoy wearing them now.