"I need to do something about my wardrobe," I said. "But I don't want to spend money."
I have said the above phrase at least 100 times in my lifetime. It seems like the constant conundrum, right? You have tons of clothes, but nothing to wear.
I wrote this post, originally, over 5 years ago--but I think the ideas still stand! I've edited my original post, but wanted to share it again here. When it comes to improving your wardrobe, there are little things you can do to make changes and feel inspired again. Here is everything I do.
1. Take everything out. Seriously.
Start sorting. Does it still have a tag on it? If so, when did you buy it? If it was more than six months ago, be honest with yourself: you're never going to wear it. Sorry! Then, assess the things you've worn in the last six months or so. If you haven't worn it in over a year, ask yourself if you seriously ever plan to wear it. (This doesn't include winter items, obviously. Seasons are tricky!) The things you don't think you'll ever wear, put into a pile. The things you still think you want to wear, put into another pile. Immediately put the things you don't plan on ever wearing again into a box or bag--you're donating these things, so say goodbye.
2. Write it out.
Take out a pen and some paper and start writing a list of ways to wear your "questionable" items. By that I mean, the things you weren't sure if you would ever wear (if they still had tags) or would ever wear again (if you haven't worn them in 6+ months). If you can't think of a way to wear an item... put it in the box or bag with the things you're already donating. Use this method to work through everything in your wardrobe, from tee shirts to dresses. Eventually, you'll start moving a lot faster.
3. Donate everything you never plan on wearing again.
Don't mope about it. Don't hide it in a closet in the back of your house and tell yourself you might wear it someday. Don't put it in your garage and say you just want to wait until you lose weight or start a new job or win the lottery. It's just taking up space--physically and mentally. They're just clothes.
4. Reorganize your closet.
Think of the best way to group things in your closet. Typically, I do all dresses together, all cardigans together, etc. Each section is organized by color as well (usually in ROYGBIV style). This might not work for everyone, though! Think of a system that will work for you (items you wear together often grouped together, for example) and implement it... and then stick with it! Changing how your clothes are arranged can make you look at everything fresh as well.
5. Organize your drawer spaces.
I roll my scarves; fold tee shirts and tank tops into little squares and store them in rows so I can see all of them; and roll my skirts and shorts. This prevents both wrinkling and losing track of anything. Again, organize your drawers in a way that will help you stay organized! And remember, whenever you do laundry, stick with the system. Don't just start squishing things in!
6. Clean out your shoes... and clean them up.
Remember what you did with your closet? Do the same with your shoes! And while you're at it, clean your shoes up! I'm really bad about getting my shoes muddy (I live out in the country! I can't help it), so every once and a while, give them a bath. I keep all of my shoes in a variety of bins in a closet downstairs. I recently did a clean out and narrow down my entire shoe wardrobe to under 10 pairs.
7. Put art up in your closet: inspiration quotes, paintings, photos, goals, whatever.
Basically, pretty up the space in a way that will inspire you. You can tape editorials from magazines to a blank wall and create a collage, or pin up quotes or images. Think of your closet as your vision board: it includes your clothes, your inspiration, and you.
8. Use old shoeboxes (covered in wrapping paper) to store small items, like sunglasses, belts, or large costume jewelry you rarely wear.
This is my favorite way to pretty up a space without spending any money. I have tons of Christmas and birthday wrapping paper, as well as lots of spare shoe boxes! Just wrap them up in your favorite papers and use them to store delicate items like sunglasses. Then you can stack those boxes on a shelf in your closet easier than keeping these items out in the open.
9. Set up a row of hooks (or pushpins in an old corkboard) to hang up your favorite necklaces.
I love being able to visualize everything -- including my favorite necklaces. I used a corkboard, but you can just set up a row of command hooks or push pins in the wall! You can also put up bracelets, rings, or whatever in plain view, so you can easily match outfits to accessories without digging through your jewelry box!
10. Start keeping a notebook (or Word document) of outfit ideas.
Starting a notebook to hold all of my outfit ideas was the best decision I ever made! Whenever I need a little inspiration, I just open it up and I have tons of ideas that I forgot I had. I also use it to jot down items I haven't worn in a while, so I can start visualizing ideas for them or looking through magazines for inspiration. It's a great way to stay organized and remain aware of all the pieces you own -- and all their potential!