New Year’s resolutions for your home and wardrobe

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Image courtesy of Chic Little Poor Girl

The New Year is a great time to re-calibrate, wipe the slate clean and for many set new goals and garner some momentum and excitement about what this fresh start can bring. It is also a great time to think about your priorities in life and adjust your belongings to reflect that. I must admit that this post is also inspired by a recent move to a smaller house. Not just a smaller house but a much smaller closet, eeeek! That means that I have to seriously reduce the amount of clothing I own while simultaneously try to increase the storage space we have.

I guess I could store stuff in boxes or vacuum packed bags and put them in the basement, but I actually would prefer to reduce my wardrobe and take more of a minimalist approach to my clothing choices.

I know purging can be very difficult and heart wrenching for some who struggle to let go of stuff, especially if there is some sentimental connection to it. We've done a similar post recently about de-cluttering and if you struggle with letting go of stuff use this mantra "have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

So where to start? For reassessing your closet requirements I've come up with a simple 3 step rhyme to guide the process – prioritize, categorize and minimize.


What are your priorities for your closet? You can think about this in a number of ways. For example, I now try to prioritize quality over quantity, especially now as I approach my mid-30's, cheap and nasty stuff doesn't work so well. Quality doesn't have to mean expensive either, I try to avoid polyester and buy wool or cotton, and natural fabrics wherever I can. So for me now that means having just a few items that are a great fit, quality fabric and fashionably classic so they don’t just last one season, like that fluro striped floral peplum top you may now regret.

For example a priority buy for winter is a quality wool coat. I'm always shocked when I see a very expensive branded coat that is only say 20% wool, when you can buy much higher quality for much less. This Burberry example is probably more pricey than necessary, but as long as it is 100% wool (or in this case mixed with Cashmere) the brand should not be that important. Image courtesy of Burberry.


I work 5 days a week and I go to the gym 5-6 days a week so my wardrobe is rightfully dominated by work and gym clothes. Then there are special occasion outfits, weekend relaxing clothes, casual shopping/movie going wear, etc. These items should take up considerably less space in my closet, but that's not always the case. What I try to do is find clothes that can cross over from work to casual, and from winter to summer. Versatile clothes are very valuable and worth the space they take up in your closet. For example a summer dress can be re-purposed for winter with opaque stockings, boots and a cardigan. Or formalize a casual outfit from the weekend with a blazer and heels for during the working week. 

Here is another great blog post that goes into much more detail about wardrobe categorization and analyzing whether or not your wardrobe fits your lifestyle. It is from one of my favorite bloggers IntoMind and it can help you to become more aware of your clothing needs and figure out whether or not your clothing reflects those needs. For example I personally prefer buying more casual wear but I have to hold myself back because I hardly get the opportunity to wear them at all. So the most important thing to do is categorize your clothing and ensure you have the right allocations per type.

Try to keep this in mind next time you go shopping and only buy new things to fill gaps.

A couple of examples of outfits that can cross over from casual weekend wear to work wear. Image courtesy of

Get more out of your wardrobe and re-purpose a summer dress for winter


Now for the the hardest part, so you understand your priorities and have categorized your wardrobe appropriately, so the next step is to minimize your wardrobe and get rid of everything that you don’t wear. There are some guidelines around minimizing or purging, for example if you haven’t worn it in the last 6 months you should get rid of it. I would say if you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months then definitely get rid of it because if you go a full 4 seasons and it hasn't seen the light of day, then it should hit the road! Give unwanted clothes to charity, or your friends. Again for more insight into a minimalist approach to your wardrobe styling check this post from IntoMind.

Image courtesy of IntoMind

Finally here are a few ideas on how to increase storage space in your home. When you have limited space, you need to get clever and tricky about how you can keep everything away nice and tidy. Another mantra for storage is (without being too obsessive about it) "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Use unused spaces

The inside doors of closets are perfect for hanging hooks for belts, necklaces and scarves, or anything else you can think of!

Use hooks and even towel racks to store accessories behind your closet doors. Image courtesy of
Under beds and on top of wardrobes you can get extra storage space with pretty boxes or drawers. A decorative trunk can also store your winter woollies or linen.

Check out all the great storage ideas from our fifth house and their great post on Clothing Storage Ideas for Small Closet Owners. They also have small closet issues and with four full seasons give great ideas on how to maximize storage space.

Create multipurpose spaces

Seats with drawers included, an ottoman to store linen, secret storage and floating shelves, just some more great ways to get more out of your furniture and spaces.
Brilliant idea to create bench seat storage with two book cases on their sides and foam cushions with baskets in the shelves.  Image and full tutorial courtesy of IHeartOrganizing.

For extra storage hiding places an ottoman can be perfect for extra blankets, toys, and games. Image courtesy of Garnet Hill.
Hidden table storage, cunning idea. Image from

Floating shelves are a great way to display beautiful things, or store less beautiful things in beautiful boxes. Image courtesy of
No garage? Mount your bike on the wall like art, just make sure its clean. Image courtesy of
Storage hooks don't have to be boring, go for something fun and unique, I quite like these slightly creepy vintage doll hands. Image courtesy of

I hope you're inspired to live a simpler life and get your possessions a bit more organized. I promise you will feel better for it, and in my case it's much more of an urgent necessity. Happy New Year and happy organizing!

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