Google wardrobe organizing and you get a whopping 421 000 results. It’s clear we’re not on our own with our clothes overload issues, but which of those thousands of pages are really worth our precious online time?
In our first five minutes of searching, we mainly discovered creative storage solutions, from colour-coordinated boxes to hooks and shoe racks (erm, shall we just buy more stuff so we can accommodate more stuff?). But if you’re looking to get started on a Feel Good Wardrobe project instead of investing in interior design, you need to dig deeper. Here’s five absolute gems we think everyone should treasure.
This super simple wardrobe organizing project, developed by Courtney Carver back in 2010, has become an online phenomenon with a massive and, not surprisingly, very enthusiastic community. We’re big fans of this, too, though the initial process of stripping down your closet to just 33 items (including accessories, shoes and jewellery) felt next to impossible. The final number three in the name derives from the fact that you can update your items every three months, to cater for each season. Instead of “purging” the clothes that don’t make it into your 33 of choice, you put them in storage. Another thing to remember: updating doesn’t mean shopping, but rather going through those storage boxes.
The end result: This worked like a dream for us. Choosing what to wear is now a far simpler task when things a) can be found and b) go together. Highly recommended!
FOTR was a project by London-based American vintage enthusiast Susannah, who decided to “spend one year shopping and sewing within the British wartime clothing ration imposed in 1941.” This means she had 66 clothing “coupons” — the 1941 ration for each man, woman and child in Britain — to last her for a year. For absolutely necessary cheating, she created the “black market option” of buying extra coupons at £5 donated to charity per coupon.
The end result: Lacking the time and sewing talent is our paltry excuse for not getting involved, but if you take Susannah’s words, the results were very tangible: “As the year on the ration unfurled and I began confronting gaps in my everyday wardrobe that needed to be filled, I started thinking differently… Fabric, time and money were precious — why should I waste my coupons and labor on a fantasy piece I wouldn’t wear? Everyday clothing is, after all, what I spend every day in. Wouldn’t it be great to open my Normal Wardrobe every morning and see a bunch of garments I could get as excited about as the stuff in my Dress-up Chest?” Ideal for vintage lovers with sewing skills!
There is a Facebook movement called a Year Without New Clothes going on in Finland at the moment, with 4500 people signed up to join. If you think that’s not much, remember that Finland’s only got a population of 5 million. So nearly one in a thousand, not too bad! Luckily for the non-Finnish speaking world population, feminist writer Jarrah Hodge of the Gender Focus blog is doing the same in English, giving up clothes shopping for an entire year. Why is that? “My highfalutin ideas about escaping the evils of materialist culture are not my only motivation. I’d like to be able to fit all my clothes in my drawers,” she writes. The Finnish version allows you to buy underwear and second hand stuff, so you can pick your own level of austerity. On top of this, you have 6 get out of jail cards for occasions you see something you absolutely love… we mean, need, of course.
The end result: General wear and tear alone will ensure your wardrobe will be more manageable after a year’s worth of fashion fasting. You’re also likely to become more creative with what you’ve got, coming up with new combinations and ways of wearing your old stuff. The danger here is, once the year is up, will you re-enter the shops in a blaze of glory, making up for all that lost time?
The 10-item wardrobe takes Project 333 one step further. But don’t panic, as 10 items only refers to 10 “core items”, as explained in her TEDX talk by Jennifer L. Scott, the American author and blogger who came up with the method. Every season – spring, summer, autumn and winter – you’ll choose the core items plus a small set of extras to “round out your wardrobe and fill in the gaps where needed.”
The end result:
As Scott puts it, “You will become very discerning and not just buy any old thing because it is on sale.
Because you will be shopping less, you’ll be able to afford higher quality clothes.”
If we have to look for something difficult or negative, then it’s the fact that T-shirts, cardigans, outerwear, accessories, cocktail dresses and blazers all qualify as extras… so the 10-item wardrobe could easily become a 100-item wardrobe. But if you stick to a small set as instructed and don’t buy lots of new items per season, the result is likely be similar to Project 333. Less stuff, better stuff, stuff that’s more you. We like that. A lot. (If this were sprinkled with just a little concern for ethical production, we’d be even happier.)
This wardrobe organizing app for the iPhone and iPad allows you to photograph and add all your clothes into a digital wardrobe, which can then be used for putting together outfits or check whether something you’re thinking of buying matches the rest of your stuff. For the super organised amongst us, it’s possible to plan what you’ll be wearing for weeks in advance with the calendar. There’s also a (potentially dangerous) shopping feature, which can help fill any gaps you’ve identified while creating your Feel Good Wardrobe.
The result: Once you’ve gone through the laborious process of (this is probably worthwhile anyway, for taking stock of what you own!), it’s fantastic for putting together outfits. What we don’t agree with is some of its less eco/ethically friendly selling points, such as “Never be seen wearing the same outfit twice.” But if you’ve embraced the core philosophy of Feel Good Wardrobe, this is an excellent tool!
So there we have it, five sites that’ll help you approach a wardrobe you’ve had trouble getting on with. We hope it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and if so, please tell us which of the above methods (or another one altogether) worked wonders for you! Or if you ended up falling out even more, we’d love to have a word of warning, too. The comments section is yours!