Day 5: Clutter-Free Wardrobe

I haven’t added anything to this project because I’ve been in the “School of Hard Knocks” learning about just how much time and energy less than perfect clothes take up.

And..not so great shopping strategies.

I’ll start with shopping strategies.

The end of the year/beginning of the New Year is a time when I check to see if any of the things I’d been drooling over during the year have gone on sale. If yes, I take advantage of the sale assuming the item is still in stock.

But I’m rethinking this strategy because I’m realizing just how time consuming it’s become.

I used to prefer shopping online because it saved me time. This has changed for a few reasons:

  • I’m no longer at an age in which most things look good on me and the question is more “do I like this enough to keep it?”
  • I’m pickier about what I keep. I have to really love something to keep it.

I think being picker is a good thing. One of the reasons I have to declutter to begin with is because I used to keep things that were “good enough.” Keeping things that are “good enough” is one of the reasons I’m the proverbial “woman with a full closet but can never find anything to wear.”

I really want to love everything in my closet!

As for age, I find because fashion is oriented towards women in their 20’s and 30’s, a lot of things just don’t work on older women.

I know I pay a lot of attention to color and details because as I’ve gotten older, it’s easier for something to overwhelm my features. And if something is less than perfect in terms of shape, the way it drapes on my body, and tailoring, I can look like I’m wearing a sack.

So I ended up returning nearly everything I ordered and it takes time to do returns. I don’t know how other people return things but I’ve always spent time making sure everything I buy is clean, folded, and returned in salable condition because I hate to lose a refund because the seller can’t resell it.

I also take time to scan the invoice so I have a copy in case there’s a question.

So by the time I’ve tried things on, packaged what I want to return, and arranged (sometimes paid for) return shipment, I’m looking at at least 2-3 hours per package.

Even though going to retailers and trying things on takes time, it saves time and guess work. As I said at the beginning, when most things worked, getting things delivered worked for me. That is no longer the case.

I also find myself disappointed by the quality of a lot of things I’ve bought lately. I find that some of the brands that used to be reliable when it came to quality have changed. Often I find the quality is uneven. Sometimes what I buy is great. Sometimes it’s really disappointing. Last year things I bought from two “old reliable” retailers developed problems I wouldn’t have expected. Trim fell off a belt and a cashmere sweater developed a hole after minimal wear.

The best thing to do is to actually look at things and how well they are made before I buy.

The last argument for shopping “in person” is it’s better to see the item “in person” rather than rely on photographs. Recently some of the items I received looked so totally different from the way they were pictured and described I wondered if that was the item I actually bought! And of course, you never know how something will look until you try it on.

So often the way something looks on a model looks entirely different on me. Sometimes that’s actually a good thing. There have been times when I liked how something looked on me better than the way it was photographed but that the exception to the rule.

As I write this, I feel like I’m writing a “blinding glimpse of the obvious.” But going back to the “School of Hard Knocks” definition, sometimes I need a critical mass of negative experience to make changes in the way I do things.

Bottom line: one way I’m decluttering is by only buying things I can see and touch rather than assuming an online purchase will work.

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