Closet Refresh, January 2019

I always welcome a new year and the fresh start it represents. I’m not a fan of resolutions and have tried selecting a “word of the year” to guide me, with mixed results. This year my husband and I tried something new – we headed to the Oregon coast for a long weekend to plan and create some goals for the year. We will definitely make this an annual event. The time away, without everyday distractions, yielded great conversations and energized us for the year ahead.


One of my frustrations that I knew I wanted to tackle this year was my lack of planning when it comes to my wardrobe and sewing projects. Like most of us who love to sew, I have piles of fabric, boxes of patterns and creative ideas to keep me busy for years. Then, since I work in a lovely fabric store, one of our customers will stop by, spark a new fabric/pattern combo idea and I have to have it. Before even starting the previous 3 (or 10) great idea projects, I have another one! This problem is compounded by the fact that I am a s-l-o-w sewist. The result is a project backlog and a closet full of ready to wear to that doesn’t fit or suit my style needs, but temporarily fills gaps until I can get the garments I really want sewn. This year I hope to solve this problem with these three steps:

1.)    Declutter my closet

2.)    Determine what garments I need to create a coordinated, versatile wardrobe and set my sewing goals for the year

3.)    Create a system to track my progress


Decluttering my closet

Let go of the past. Let go of mistakes or bad choices, and look forward to the next opportunity to get it right.
— Brenda Kinsel

Sometimes the best way to set aside time and embark on a new project is with help. I had done a closet purge 2 years ago when we moved into this house, but it was time for another. My best friend came from Seattle last week to spend a few days helping me with my cleanout – a sure sign of a good friend! We talked, ate, laughed, shopped a little, and cleaned out my entire closet. I loaded my car with cast offs yesterday and donated them, so no looking back. We also watched a few episodes of the Netflix series “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo. She inspired me to keep at it until the job was finished. Here is a “before” photo, except that I had already done shoes…


Marie Kondo advises only keeping those things that bring you joy. Brenda Kinsel, in her blog, recommends asking yourself, “Is this still me, or have I moved on?” I asked myself, “Do I feel great in this?” Here are my piles at the end of day one:


I know, doesn’t look like much – yet

Day 2 was easier and decisions came more quickly. We finished going through all but my handbags, which we completed on day 3.  Here are some “after” photos:


All my shoes, with the exception of boots, fit on my shelves now. The big basket on the floor used to be full of shoes – it now contains one pair of flip flops and one pair of trainers. There were several shopping bags of knitting projects on the top shelf, so I ended up going through all my knitting. Each project is now in its own box up there. The shelves between clothes racks have empty spaces and clothes aren’t crammed in. The closet feels more spacious and it’s easier to see what I have. I’d like to pare down even more, as I figure out what I like to wear day in and day out, so plan to do this twice a year with the change of seasons.

Now I need to figure out my approach to step 2: planning a coordinated wardrobe. Do I want to try a capsule wardrobe or would it be too limiting? I’ll be reading The Curated Closet to see what wisdom I find there.  Readers, let me know what wardrobe-planning tools have worked for you. Whatever I do, I know I want to incorporate quality, sustainability and slow fashion principles. I’ll let you know what direction I go in my next post.