Finance, Personal Developement & Happiness

Making It Work, Mend Not Spend Part 2

Shop Your Closet

Hello Friends!

Have you ever noticed that we spend alot of our income on clothing, transportation, and housing?

This week I want to talk about how we can stretch our clothing dollars in a way that expresses our personal style yet saves money. That money can then be spent on things that we truly enjoy and that enrich our lives. And that’s what we all want after all, right? More money, more free time, and more fun time!

Last week I started this series with Mend Not Spend

A quick list of ways that you can make your life better and easier using what you already have. This week we are focusing on just clothing, making what we already have better, fresher, and more fashionable without spending anything.

So, let’s get to work on that closet! If you are like many of us, you have quite a few clothes that you don’t wear. Everyone has a different way to organize and we will cover how I organize my closet, and have some tips and hints from the experts!

First, you need a sense of your own style. You need to know what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to try.

Ask yourself:

Where do you want to update your wardrobe?

What current fashion trends would you like to follow? I recommend creating a ‘style book’ as you answer these questions. There are apps that do this, but I like to collect images on Pinterest and save them in a folder on my phone. These are inspirational photos! I recommend that you have no more than 30 for this project.

Next, you need to have an accurate account of what you own. So, take EVERYTHING out of your closet and try it on. I use the 4 pile system.

Pile #1 I love, it’s in good shape, and wear it a lot

Pile #2 I like it, it fits, but I hardly ever wear it

Pile #3 I love it but it doesn’t fit right (or at all)

Pile #4 I love it, wear it, but it’s not in good shape (ie. has holes, stains, etc)

Whew! It’s a bit of an undertaking the first time. But after that, it’s not so bad. I do this twice a year. Once in the Spring for my Spring/Summer Wardrobe, and once in the Fall for my Fall/Winter Wardrobe.

So, Pile #1 that you love and is in good shape gets put back in the closet by color and in outfits that you like. This is when I like to change up the usual jewelry and accessories for my usual outfits to freshen them up. (ie. handbag, shoes, scarves.) This can give a fresh vibe to a tried and true outfit.

Now let’s take a look at Pile #2, you like it, it fits, but you hardly ever wear it. Why? Is it the color? The shape or length? Maybe it’s too fancy for everyday dress? Now, I keep my little black dress, and my black dressy pants in this stack and they go in the closet because I wear them for special events. But unless you go to many special events, I would trim that section of your wardrobe down.

Next, try on Pile #2 with some of the items with Pile #1, if it works it will add a new dimension to your wardrobe, pair items up with old favorites and either take notes or pictures for your file. This is a great way to SHOP YOUR CLOSET. Anything that you are certain that you will not wear as is, put into Pile #3.

Forging on to Pile #4, these are clothes that you wear and like, but are in rough shape, the “old favorites”. Now some people would argue that you should throw away that stained sweater or holey pair of jeans. I say, “Mend not Spend!”

So sort that pile and see what you can salvage and make good again. I patch jeans in a cute way that coordinates with the major colors in my wardrobe for weekend clothes. I have embellished and patched sweaters for a cute ‘artisan’ look that had people asking me where I got such a unique sweater. And I didn’t invest a lot of time or money to do that. Remember, we are saving both of those.

This is where you use Pile #3 for inspiration, buttons, patches and pieces. I have turned several sweaters and jackets into vests with minimal effort, patched pants or turned them into shorts. Changing the buttons on a blazer or coat can make a dramatic difference. You can sew a hem by hand, with a machine or use a heat fusible bond.

Make notes of the changes that you want to make and the items to use and make the changes as soon as you can so that you don’t just have a pile of unfinished stuff cluttering up your house.

Onward to underwear! Sort out your socks, underwear, bras, etc. Throw out the ones that are stained and worn. Any that don’t fit right but are in good shape might help with Pile #3. I have cut up ill fitting bras and made great liners for swimsuits and camisoles.

Finally, Shoes! Throw out shoes that don’t fit or that are broken. Now, assess what you have left. I change the color of my shoes with shoe dye, polish, and spray paint designed for flexible plastic. Update those shoes! Clean, repair, replace laces, change it up!

Once the final product is done, make a quick list of items that you might need (not just want) in the next year. These items should match the dominant colors in your wardrobe and be classic and timeless. This is your thrift, clearance, and sale shopping list.

Now that you’ve done all this work, not only do you have a fresh wardrobe, but you have a plan for future purchases based on that wardrobe. Take a moment to step back, maybe sip a glass of wine and enjoy the wardrobe that you have put together today without spending a dime! Great Job!!

Links that I Like:

  1. Easy DIY Clothing Makeovers
  2. Some Great Ideas from Diverse Bloggers

Products I Use:

On My Bookshelf:

Have a Great Day!

Dottie Lake