Year-Long Wardrobe Project Complete!

Photo: from andrew g at

Photo: from andrew g at

Fifteen months ago I made a full inventory of all the clothes I own, and made a few pledges:

  • Try everything on
  • Keep only clothes that fit now
  • Chuck anything I hadn’t worn for a year or more
  • Wear everything I’m keeping – no exceptions – and decide if I still want it
  • Replace or get rid of anything in poor condition
  • Discard dated clothing (irredeemably out of fashion)
  • Eliminate duplicates
  • Pare down
  • Make a list of needed items and stick to the list when shopping
  • Stop buyers’ remorse – buy more thoughtfully
  • End up with a smaller wardrobe of clothes I love and want to wear every day!

So on January 1, 2012, I had 480 items of clothing, if you count every single scarf and pair of socks! I said that 263 of them were “substantial” items of clothing:

  • 180 tops
  • 26 pants (trousers)
  • 2 suits
  • 4 dresses
  • 6 skirts
  • 13 coats and jackets (outerwear)
  • 33 pair footwear

Total 264 (corrected math error!)

My current numbers are:

  • 104 tops (-76)
  • 24 pants (-2)
  • 0 suits (-2)
  • 3 dresses (-1)
  • 4 skirts (-2)
  • 11 coats and jackets (-2)
  • 24 pair footwear (-9)

Total 170 (-94)

I did actually revisit my accessories and little things too, and they went down from 216 items to 183. So my “total total” has been reduced from 480 to 353.

Since I have been taking photos for the purpose of a home inventory, I thought I would give you an uncensored peek at everything I have. We all know each other, right? And I am sure that any readers who know me in real life would never talk to me about my sock drawer!

I have 5 places where I store clothes: two dressers, one shelving unit for sweaters, one bedroom closet (measuring 24” x 58”) and a “hall closet” near the front door where Rom and I keep our coats. Poor Rom has only one half-size closet and one dresser, but we won’t go there.

With no further ado, here is my wardrobe!

You can click on a photo to start a slide show, if you like.

I would sincerely welcome suggestions: maybe there are clothes items that you have and love, but you don’t see here?

Now I am scheming. The sweater organizer has lots of empty space, and there is a reasonable amount of drawer space too. Maybe I could empty the sweater organizer and fit everything into the dressers? Then Rom could have the sweater organizer for his sweaters and T-shirts. I think I can do it!

Or I could just buy more stuff 🙂


  1. todadwithlove

    You are SO immaculate! I’m gonna take a leaf out of your book and start rationalising too. And I just have to add that I do love those sockies and lingerie. 🙂

  2. Hahaha more stuff! My BF asked me ‘when did you get so anti-stuff’ and then, without knowing that I’d just read this, asked why I had so many scarves! Loved the slide show. It’s such a different temperature there, it’s hard to imagine how many items you need practically just to stay warm! I try to be minimalist with clothes, but from a ‘do I wear it, do I love it’ point of view, rather than an arbitrary quantity of things. I should share my wardrobe now that I have created two inventories…

    • You should! Yes, a lot of my wardrobe is made of bulky coats, sweaters, winter scarves and mittens. But I could easily go down by another hundred items by minimizing T-shirts, hoodies and socks. I just don’t want to!

  3. EcoCatLady

    Hmmm… no shorts? I wouldn’t survive long in the summertime without shorts!

    I fear I’ve done WAY more shopping for clothing than usual this year, but in my defense, this was the first winter that I tried to ride my bike year round, and most of what I bought was for the purpose of keeping warm on the bike. It took me awhile to both figure out what did and didn’t work, plus I discovered that I needed a few different sizes of things to make different layering schemes work.

    But other than that, I only bought one pair of jeans and one pair of sweats… and wore one or the other virtually every day all winter! It’s startling how few of my clothes I actually wear… you can tell which ones they are because they are the ones that develop holes! But I still haven’t quite been able to get rid of everything else… I guess I’m just keeping it all for those “in case” situations. What if I have to go to a fancy party? What if I have to go to a funeral? What if I have to look professional for some reason?

    But I should give it a good once over again… I’m sure there are plenty of things that are just taking up space, and I’m kinda feeling like more space would be a good thing right about now!

    • Sounds good, Cat! What motivates me sometimes is that I can donate things and someone else can get wear out of them. I don’t wear shorts, but I do have 2 pair “just in case” that I included in my pants category. Good for you for amping up the biking!

      • EcoCatLady

        OK… just wanted to let you know that you inspired me. I went through the closet and put 6 never worn dresses that I was keeping “just in case” into the giveaway box. I did keep a few, but only ones that I could actually imagine myself wearing. I still doubt I’ll ever need them, but at least I’m hanging onto fewer ridiculous articles of clothing! 🙂

      • That makes me happy! I bet someone else would love to have them!

  4. I’m pretty good about purging stuff EXCEPT for my kids toys. My house looks like a daycare center. It may be because I was raised in a daycare center, so I feel like if they have less I am somehow depriving them of what I thought of as a “normal” amount of toys. I bet I could apply your principles to toys by defining categories and see what they actually play with.

  5. Fiona

    I looove this post! Your wardrobe organisation is beautiful! Love your shoes and the kitty pjs!

    I’d actually scheduled a few posts already for next week about “autumn clothes decluttering” (one on Mr. 9’s wardrobe, one on mine) so my wardrobe pics are “to come”!

  6. Tina Lemna

    I loved your post too. I am a bit more of a minimalist but I loved seeing pictures of all of your clothes. I love seeing what other people eat too. 😺

    • Thanks, Tina. I think I could be a minimalist if I had to start over, but not now. I am paring down possessions in every area of my house, though. I like to see other people’s food and clothes too – and especially how they organize them!

  7. Comment from Mel: How do you stop the cats from sleeping in the sweater organizer? Or do you?!?!???

    Reply: Hi Mel, I’m afraid the bedroom is a strict no-cat zone. Luna chews on every kind of textile and puts holes in all blankets, clothing, towels, etc. so the door to the room is always closed 😦 Luckily she has not started on upholstery yet!

  8. Wow – I love that you photographed everything and that you went into the year long project with so much detail. Letting go of 90+ items is also great….don;t buy more lol let Rom have the space 😉

    • No worries, Laura – I am becoming allergic to filling up all available space! Plus it will be much more fun to make Rom fold all his T-shirts and sweaters perfectly and stack them in the sweater organizer 🙂

  9. I have been wondering lately how few clothes I can get away with. I think I would need 4 outfits each week for work Monday to Thursday with perhaps another 4 so that work colleagues don’t have to look at the same things every week plus 3 leisure outfits for Friday to Sunday. Then I would need a couple of outfits to garden in (and I get really dirty so cheap or old clothes for this). Perhaps a couple of smart leisure and a party frock and maybe a suit. Two winter coats, two summer lightweight jackets, a swimsuit and cover-up. Three bags, ten pairs of shoes and boots and 3 scarves and 10 underwear sets. I must have a count up and see how close to this figure I am or not!
    I am planning my summer capsule wardrobe at the moment and hoping to add to the best of last years things to make new outfits. I have already sent a pile of older clothes to charity and have a pile of undecided to revisit again. Oh decisions decisions!!
    Loved your pictures and inventory – I should do the same – it is quite an eye opener to list and photograph everything.

    • You should do the same, I’d love a peek 🙂 Would you need different work outfits for the 4 seasons? I like your list. I’m sure I could do the same if I was being sensible, or starting over. But I have space, everything is organized, and I do wear the stuff. So I will hold onto it until something changes!

  10. Pingback: Clothing Inventory | livetolist

  11. Gemma Ptolemy

    I tried to do this and got overwhelmed. I need to get back to that.

  12. Ginger R

    I retired last November and I’m working to simplify things here at home. I started in January with a list of 9 goals for 2013. I created a spreadsheet for each goal and mapped out a plan. “De-cluttering and organizing” is one of my goals. Recently – I cleared out about half of my wardrobe recently and created a clothing inventory. (Researching clothing inventory – brought me here to your blog!) I really like your pledges for your clothing inventory and came up with a similar goal statement: I will only own clothes I love and wear NOW. I own a lot of casual tees – but seemed to wear only a handful – so I’m rotating them now to make sure I wear them and still love them. Love your blog!

    • Welcome, Ginger! & thanks! I love your approach of doing a spreadsheet for each goal – that sounds like something I would do. I still have over 30 T-shirts. Since I pared down my wardrobe I am wearing each item and finding new combinations, so I’m a lot happier with my clothes. Plus, I don’t have to think about whether they fit or if they are worn or faded – I know they’re not! My wardrobe posts are up to date for now so I hope you find other topics here that catch your interest.

  13. I have so many tops, just like you. I tried to pare down, but I really couldn’t. I’m just going to wear them out as best I can and try to let any more come home with me. It looks like you’re doing great with cutting back 🙂

  14. Pingback: Wardrobe Project Update 2013 | An Exacting Life

  15. Pingback: 2013 Goals in Review | An Exacting Life

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