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How Paring Down Your Wardrobe Will Help You Find Something to Wear

Subtracting the excess to feel like you have more.

Cass McCrory photographed by Matt Whitmeyer

“I have NOTHING to wear!”

Is this a sentiment you’ve found yourself crying out as you attempt to get ready? All while you’re literally standing in front of a closet that is busting at the seams full of things to wear.

Today, we’re going to break open a counterintuitive approach so you can find abundance (and something to wear) with what you have today, no run to the big box store or the mall needed.

Let’s start with a story that I’m sure you can relate to:

Imagine with me that you head to a new restaurant. You sit down and the waiter puts down the menu and it has 15 items on it. Each item sounds better than the last. You literally want to try every single thing on that menu. You decide almost instantly that this is your new favorite place and every time you visit you are delighted by the entire experience.

Now let’s contrast that with another restaurant. You sit down and the waiter puts down a menu that is 15 pages long. You scroll through page after page finding one dish on each page that sounds good. At the end of the review you feel exhausted, like so much of this is not meant for you at all.

Notice: The outcome of BOTH of those experiences is 15 items…but the path to get there feels VERY different. The same thing happens in our wardrobes.

A large quantity of something does not equate to abundance, in fact the opposite is true.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Identify your biggest hurdle when getting dressed. Is it the top, the pants, the skirt, or the socks? You’ll know because you’re standing gazing at your closet MISSING one of those critical pieces from your current appearance. For this example you’re struggling to find a shirt.
  2. Put on a favorite song. You want something that is around 3 minutes because when we’re teaching our brains how to let things go we need to set real boundaries so the experience doesn’t feel scary. (YES, this is why when you’ve tried to organize your closet everything ends up all over your room and you run away unsure of what to do next.)
  3. For the length of the song you’re going to take out all the shirts that you haven’t worn and will never wear. Ask yourself this question: Would someone literally have to pay YOU to wear this shirt today? If the answer is Yes, you know it’s time to go.
  4. Now that you’re at the end of your favorite song identify a shirt to actually wear today.

As you look at all the selections you have left (regardless of the number) you’ll have a greater feeling of abundance because these are ALL options that you’re able and interested in wearing. Were they in your closet the entire time? YES. But because you had so much EXCESS around them you could only see what wasn’t working.

You may need to do this exercise a number of times with the different types of clothing in your wardrobe. Take it in these song-length efforts and over the course of this next week you’ll have the perfect menu in front of you instead of the 15 page full of excess menu.

What you’ll do with the cast-offs: Put all the shirts that fell in “not for me” category in a tote bin or a box for one week (no longer). If you go back for them and actually wear them outside of your home then back in rotation it goes. Everything that remained in the tote, or wasn’t worn can be donated so that item has usefulness in it’s future.

Originally published at

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