Anyone up for a Wardrobe Challenge?


(Skirts, cardigans, sweaters and other tops)

As I mentioned in Friday’s Shoe Save post, last week Naiadknight came up with the idea of applying the principles of the Shoe Challenge (i.e. use it or lose it) to the rest of our closets, in a Save the Closet challenge.

I thought this was a great idea, partly because it’s something I’ve actually been doing on an informal kind of way ever since the start of my first Shoe Challenge, two years ago. Now, it’s no secret that I love to shop. Quite a bit, actually. I mean, if there was a Shopping Olympics (and there totally should be, if you ask me), I’d be in it, for sure. Although I love to shop, though, I absolutely HATE the idea of wasting my money by buying things I never use: just the thought of it makes me itch. I like to get my money’s worth, in other words, and that was the main inspiration behind the  Shoe Challenge – and also behind my decision a few years ago to stop wearing jeans every day, and start actually getting some use out of the other clothes I would buy and then squirrel away, never to see the light of day.

When I started my first Shoe Challenge, then, I also started doing a wardrobe challenge at the same time. I didn’t blog about it, or photograph all of my outfits or anything, but I did use a little technique I’d read about on Fi’s blog, where you turn all of the hangers in your closet to face in the same direction, then every time you wear something and replace it, you turn the hanger around to face the opposite direction. The aim is to have all of the hangers facing the other way by the end of the challenge, to allow you to instantly see what you’ve worn and what you haven’t, and to get rid of the items that just aren’t earning their keep.

closet tour

(Trousers, scarves, more sweaters. Can you tell I like stripes?)

Obviously this method doesn’t work on clothes you fold, rather than hang, but I still found it really helpful. Like a lot of people, although I have a bulging closet, I had a tendency to reach for the same, favourite items over and over again, while other things just hung there unused. Being able to see exactly what I’d worn and what I hadn’t, though, forced me to think about outfit combinations I wouldn’t otherwise have tried, and also helped me rediscover some items I loved, but had forgotten about. I did it for six months at a time – I switch my closet over every six months, and exchange winter stuff for spring stuff, so it made sense to do it that way – and by the end of it, I was quite surprised to find that I only had a few items to donate, having worn everything else.

After the first six months I stopped switching my hangers around, but I did try to keep up the habit of wearing everything, thwarted as I was by lack of space, and lack of nice weather. (SO many summer dresses. SO few summer days.) I have to admit, though, that I’ve started to slip back into my old habits again (perhaps I’ve been focusing too hard on saving shoes!), so when Naiad suggested saving the closet as well as the shoes, I thought it sounded like a great plan.

We haven’t actually worked out all of the details of how this will work: I definitely won’t be able to count every item of clothing, for instance, and I don’t want to photograph them all either, but we have made a start over in the forum, and if we can get enough of you joining in, I can set up a separate board for it. I’d envisage it working on much the same lines as the Shoe Challenge, but on a much more flexible/informal kind of basis – it would be pretty hard to count and photograph every single thing you own/wear, after all.

As with the shoe challenge, the first step is to photograph what you’ve got, so the two pictures above show one half of the closet I share with Shoeperman: I like to hang as much as I possibly can, to prevent creasing, (and also so that I can see everything at a glance: I find that if I have to rummage through a drawer or stack of clothing to find something, I’ll quickly forget it exists and just keep taking the items from the top of the pile!) so I had Terry put a second hanging rail halfway down the closet to double the space. This one holds everything that’s short enough to fit in the space, so basically tops, skirts, trousers, etc. Not pictured are the two shelves above it, which hold folded things like tank tops and jeans, and which are, quite frankly, an absolute mess. As you can see, my clothes aren’t nearly as organised as my shoes, purely because of lack of space: I dream of one day having a walk-in closet!

In the office, meanwhile, and right next to my shoe shelves, is my dress closet:

dress closet

This is only about half of my dress collection: all of the summer stuff is currently packed away, and when it comes out, some of these will be packed away in turn. (Not all of them, though: there are obviously quite a few items that I wear all year round, so they stay out. I have much bigger issues with storage in summer than in winter, because of the climate. In wintertime, I know that there’s just no way it’s every going to be warm enough for sundresses and shorts, so there’s quite a lot of stuff that can be packed away and forgotten about. In summertime, though, all of that stuff comes out, but not ALL of the warmer clothes can be stored, because there’s a good chance I’ll need some of it. I need a walk in closet. Or, you know, three of them).

On the other side of this, and not pictured, is all of my outerwear, and I also have some drawers in the bedroom which hold lingerie, tights, workout gear, etc. Up above the dresses is a shelf for bags and assorted other junk: there’s also a hanging rail there too, but it doesn’t hold much, because there’s just not enough space.

So, there you have it! These are all of the clothes I’ll be doing my best to “save” over in the forum: come and join us!



  • This is an awesome idea, and I think I’m going to be joining you guys, possibly in an informal way. But, excellent idea.

  • Awesome idea, but I’m not going to risk my wardrobe by signing up. 🙂 My shoes, that’s a collection that can be worn in the span of one year, my dresses etc… not quite. I think there are just too many of them. I do have my own system though, where I sort through all my clothes. Those that I haven’t worn in a while go on a special ‘doubt’ pile. If I haven’t worn them by the next time I clean out my closet, they’re donated. For me it works like a charm, although I don’t count occasion dresses (ball gowns and cocktail dresses) or items that have emotional value.

  • Yes! And I’ve already started – I’ve worn two dresses this week that haven’t seen the light of day for some time.

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