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Closet 101

February 21, 2021

I’m Tanya.
I’ve learned that a little bit of intentionality goes a long way in accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves. This blog is meant to equip you with just that - simple tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement that help you live an intentional life. 
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At the beginning of the year, Todd and I sat down to budget, make some personal and family goals, and figure out priorities based on the answers to these questions. I always have a project up my sleeve, and though I have a few bigger ones in the back of my head, based on our budget and financial goals for the year, I knew that the bigger ones would have to wait. However,  it was really important to me that we tackle 3 areas with some minor renovations: our master closet, the boys’ bedroom, and our basement storage room. The closet got done first and I thought I’d share it with you, as well as how I keep my closet classic and as “minimal” as possible. PS: I’m not a minimalist when it comes to my closet but I don’t like my closet to be overwhelming or filled with things I don’t wear, so I’ll share a few tips here as well if you have a similar goal!

You might not think about your closet as contributing at ALL to your wellness, but how do you feel when you walk into a messy closet overflowing with clothes or filled with things you don’t even like to wear? How do you feel when you try on outfit after outfit and nothing fits right? We’re not ALL wired the same, but I think MOST women will feel overwhelmed by a mess and frustrated when nothing fits or feels right when trying to get dressed each day.

When we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, that can lead to all sorts of other issues – stress, apathy, depression, anxiety, etc. Now I’m not saying that buying a few baskets or figuring out the right style for your body type is going to take away depression. 🙂 Please hear me! But I also know that I’ve avoided social situations postpartum when I felt like nothing fit right and did not feel comfortable in my clothes. And though my closet in and of itself might not put me over the edge, if my life feels overwhelming or my house is a disaster, walking into yet ANOTHER disastrous space might be the thing that puts me over the edge. Does that make sense?

I wish I had “before” pictures for you, but I didn’t originally intend on sharing this, so I didn’t take any. We started building our house almost 8 years ago, which means at the time I was 30 years old! Honestly, if I were to give someone advice, I’d say, “Don’t build a house until you’re at least 35 if you plan to live in it forever!” I love our home but it was an overwhelming experience and that’s a lot of big decisions to make when you are trying to survive with tiny people around you.  I’m actually THANKFUL that our closet is a modest size b/c otherwise I know I’d honestly just fill it with more stuff! If you have the space, it’s easier to accumulate more things. Storage is great, but too much storage can be dangerous! 

When we moved in, we didn’t even have our closet built out yet but Todd later built the closet storage (WAY cheaper than custom cabinets if you’re handy!) and I threw in some baskets and hampers that we had from Target since the beginning of our marriage! Now after 18 years, they were looking pretty rough and it was time for an upgrade. I love to keep clothes separated for laundry day, so we actually have 4 hampers – towels, darks, lights, and Todd’s work clothes b/c he can get pretty dirty at times. I wanted these to match other baskets in the closet, so I purchased some of these from the Container Store and some from Pottery Barn. None of these baskets are cheap, but I’m certain they’ll last at least another 20 years or more, and I had planned ahead and budgeted for them.

I LOVE baskets as alternative storage for things that I don’t hang but won’t lay well folded. In my baskets, I have athletic shorts, workout leggings, workout tanks, and tanks that I wear under shirts. Baskets also work great for socks, underwear, or sports bras. Todd has baskets for pajamas, his workout shorts/pants, and some misc. items that he doesn’t use frequently. The baskets up top hold some seasonal clothing, swimsuits, coverups, Todd’s hunting clothes, paint clothes, and I do have one basket for clothing that I’m not sure I want to part with yet! 😉 That way it’s out of sight and I can see if I actually missed it. If not, then it’s time for it to leave.

I probably go through my closet at least 2-3x/year to take stock of what I have and what needs to go. If I haven’t worn it in a year, I don’t keep it! Now, what about changing sizes? I had 5 babies in 9 years, so trust me that I KNOW ALL about changing sizes. For me, the top hanging area of the closet had clothes that fit well, and clothes that were too small were in seasonal storage or on the bottom. But here’s my advice during postpartum – buy a few things that FIT RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait for the jeans to fit or keep feeling miserable as you shove your body into tight-fitting jeans. No one feels good about their body when their waistline is digging into their abdomen! There’s nothing wrong with YOU! Those just aren’t the right jeans for this season, and there is NO SHAME on you for that! YOU didn’t do anything wrong by growing a human or being in a stage of life where weight loss is challenging. Shame off you. Instead…find a pair of jeans that you feel GOOD in and WEAR them. Put the other jeans/clothes AWAY where they aren’t a constant reminder. We think that if we keep them around or keep trying them that we’ll shame ourselves into fitting in them. And maybe shame has worked to motivate you in the past. But let me tell you…this is not a healthy motivation nor a lasting one. 

You know what helps you live healthily? A thankful heart. Being thankful for a GOOD body that moves and breathes and perhaps birthed children. Seeing friends and living your life to the fullest regardless of the number on your pants. LOVE creates LASTING motivation…not shame. 

After 3 years…there are some pieces of clothing that I decided to let go of. I’m not in that season anymore. And if I do find myself that size once more, I’ll probably want a new pair of jeans anyways! 🙂 Even though I might not be the size I was when I was 21, I’m super thankful for my good, active, healthy body, and I have taken the time over the past 3 years to curate my closet to clothes that I love, that all work together (similar color scheme), that all fit well, and so now when I get dressed, it’s a 2-minute ordeal, not a 20 min cry session. 😉 It’s no longer me trying on 5 different outfits and tugging at this or rearranging that. I literally put on a shirt and a pair of pants and I move on with my day. And it’s the best thing in the world b/c it takes ZERO mental or emotional energy and NO time at all.

SO A FEW QUICK TIPS:

  1.  Find colors that look good on you/colors you like that work together. This helps you make multiple outfits with fewer clothes.
  2. When you can (based on financials, etc) choose quality over quantity. Why? Because quality clothes LAST longer, are often made more ethically (do your research!), AND typically fit much better!
  3. Replace your hangars with ALL of the SAME color. I know it seems silly, but I read this advice once and it really does just elevate your closet a tiny bit! I FINALLY ditched the leftover multi-colored hangers I inherited from my parent’s house when I left 20 years ago!! 😀 
  4. Organize your clothes. I’m not going to tell you how, but do what makes sense for your brain! I have mine organized into season – basically tanks/short sleeves on one side and long sleeves on the other side. And then on my long-sleeved side, I have sweatshirts/casual long sleeve on the bottom and sweaters/nicer long sleeves on the top. On the opposite side, it’s short sleeves on the top and tanks on the bottom! Different organization systems 😀  but it works for me! Within that I have them color coordinated which I just started and actually LOVE! It’s been 2 months now and I’ve actually stuck with it! And you know what, I feel a little happy every time I walk in my closet, which means Todd and I BOTH are keeping our closet picked up which is a first for us – but especially him! 😉
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