I get a lot of questions about how I maintain my whittled wardrobe rotation. Here is a three-step synopsis!
Whittle: to reduce the amount of, as if by whittling; pare down; take away by degrees (Dictionary.com)
When I first started keeping fewer clothes in rotation, the process of whittling down involved PILES and PILES of clothes – so fret not. You’ll get more efficient at it too!
Because I have been whittling for five years now, I realized I can fit all my options in ONE PHOTOGRAPH! In fact, most everything will make the cut, because I own so few clothes these days, but I still take the time to think it through.
It is a little weird for me to place everything on the floor and not the bed, but I wanted to capture it all together. Disclaimer: Some items were pulled from the laundry basket, so they look a little worse for wear!
What you are seeing are the tops, bottoms, and dresses that I will be choosing from to wear for the next month. I prefer to start with an empty closet space and hang only the clothes that I will be wearing in the closet. Everything else I own fits into a six drawer dresser and one under bed storage bin!
Here is my three-step Whittling thought process:
- What will I be doing professionally in the month ahead?
This month, I have a NAPO-Chicago chapter meeting, my current Declare Order clients, my current position with local elementary school kids, and the National Association of Professional Organizers Conference! I want to keep this in mind so that have appropriate options for everything.
- What color story is emerging?
Based upon what colors I am seeing in magazines, on colleagues, etc. I have an idea of what I might want to be wearing, but it also depends upon what is revealed as I look at the options. I am pretty sure that I will be using teal and tomato, but navy and white is appealing as well.
Sure enough, the tops divide pretty evenly into these two camps. I see “navy and white” and “teal, tomato, and olive.” So…
- How can I layer and combine what I have chosen?
Now the trying on begins. Because of the crazy Chicago weather, as well as air conditioning vs. being outside, I have to consider layering. I try various combinations to arrive at a decision. I am going to eliminate any light blue, but keep teal. I will keep one
of the two trapeze neckline tops (the black because I have a Black and White party to attend). I will keep the lighter weight of the two navy and white striped options because I can layer and still get the desired effect. And I am not generally a “print” person, so I will remove two “print” tops. My goal is to wear everything by the end of the week and have minimal laundry as a result.
In the end, my whittled rotation that has earned closet space for this month or so contains:
1 navy and white print dress
1 navy blazer
2 cardigans (navy and tomato)
2 long sleeve tops (teal and beige print) that have a ¾ sleeve roll-up option
4 short sleeve tops (2 black (not pictured), 1 navy and 1 navy print)
4 no sleeve/strappy tops (olive, navy and white stripe, black, beige and tomato floral print)
6 bottoms (3 navy, 1 dark navy and 1 beige)
20 basic items TOTAL
The overall color story for the month worn on real people (courtesy of Ann Taylor Loft, Limited Express, and the Gap) is something like this.
This rotation does not include the two sweaters I decide to keep handy for when I am cold (always) around the house. Nor does it include pajamas or clothes to wear when doing yard work or walk/hiking. It also does not include the two long sleeve cotton tops and two tank tops that I might need for layering. Those live in the drawer.
Think you can do it? You may have to start by just doing one type of top at a time if you have waaaaay more clothes than I do. But just becoming conscious and considering the idea of keeping few clothes in rotation can change habits for the better in the long run!
Please comment below with questions and will be happy to help you!
Share this article!