Like six-inch electric blue suede wedges that match nothing I own or a gold beaded cocktail mini dress that I’ll wear approximately once every two years (so once, because it will be out of style in two years). Needless to say, I’m an avid shopper, if not exactly a smart one. Quitting shopping for me would be like quitting getting arrested for Lindsay Lohan. It’s just not going to happen. So this year, thanks in large part to my card being declined on New Year's Eve for a mere $7 bar tab, I’ve decided to try a new kind of shopping: closet shopping! Here’s my plan in two phases:
A. MINIMIZE AND ORGANIZE
- Take everything out. It’s easy to forget what’s in there when I still possess things like the houndstooth jumper I wore in my third grade school picture…It’s more of a shirt these days, by the way.
- Examine everything for holes and stains. If it can’t be fixed or cleaned, there’s just no use in keeping it. Unless, of course, it’s a vintage designer something-or-other. In which case, I’d like to see you try and make me get rid of it.
- Try things on that haven’t been worn in a while. Inevitably, I’ll spend hours on this part, remembering how awesome that '80s Calvin Klein cropped tee looks and wondering why in the world I never wear it to class.
- Make "WORKING" and "NOT WORKING" piles. Some things still “work” even when they don’t fit right. But if it’s really not working, store it or donate it. For clothes that are just too small, remember that no one likes a muffin top, and move on. If they’re too big, remember that no girl my age aspires to grow into her own jeans. And if it’s way too small but cute enough to save for my first daughter, find a place in the basement I can put it for the next 10 years and shove it in there.
- Make "IN", "OUT" and "IS THAT A JOKE?" piles. The classic "YES", "NO" and "MAYBE" piles never work for me. I always put about 2/3 in the "YES" pile, the rest in the "MAYBE" pile, nothing in the "NO" pile, end up moving everything from the "MAYBE" pile into the "YES" pile, giving an old tennis shoe with no match and two pairs of socks to Goodwill and call it a day. With these piles, decide which clothes are "IN", which are currently "OUT" (remember, almost everything comes back "IN" eventually) and which were a bad "JOKE" and never really cool in the first place (i.e., cap-sleeved tees with spray-painted Superman logos). Donate the "JOKE" clothes, including middle school Superman tees. ASAP!
B. REIMAGINE and RECREATE
- Now that I’ve given away about three items of clothing and a pair of clunky loafers I didn’t even like back in eighth grade when I first got them, it’s time to take off my glasses and look in the closet with a new, less precise eye. Forget classic color combinations and forbidden fashion faux pas. If I want to wear purple and navy together, break it up with a belt and do it. If I want to wear white open-toed shoes in January, throw on some cute tights and rock 'em.
- Put together outfits I’ve never worn before with clothes I’ve had for years. If I always wear my red skinny jeans with my tan chunky sweater, forbid myself from doing so and find something different. How about the jeans with that CK crop top I just tried on?
- Remember that clothes are all just fabric. A dress is a dress is a dress, right? Wrong. A dress is a skirt too, sometimes. And sometimes a skirt might even be a shirt. Who’s to say?
- Finally, get creative. Check out some DIY sites and get to work. Splatter-paint old jeans or cut them off into shorts. Replace missing buttons with mismatched, colorful ones for an updated, Art-Deco-inspired cardigan. Spend a Saturday afternoon cutting and sewing instead of sleeping and, well, sleeping.
- Refold, rehang and repeat. Switch clothes around so that something new is always in sight. If I can’t see it, I don’t wear it. If I don’t wear it, I forget about it. And if I forget about it, then come Friday night, I’ll be screaming at my roommates about how I have nothing to wear and they’ll scream back about how I have more clothes than all of them combined in just a big screaming mess.
There you have it, my friends. Although I may not have gained a lot of space, as long as I remember that in my own closet, the possibilities are endless and free, my myriad financial problems will be solved. Well, not quite. But whatever…Who needs gas in the car anyway?