THE CURATED CLOSET
HOW TO CREATE A CURATED CLOSET.
mindful shopping –
Impulses for more sustainability.
USING INSTEAD OF OWNING.After dreaming of gigantic, jam-packed walk-in closets à la Hollywood for years, nowadays many of us fancy a minimalist, well-assorted wardrobe instead. Ideally, this well-assorted wardrobe should contain a limited number of pieces yet countless wearing options. The basic rule of thumb is: Using instead of owning!
The goal is to make one’s life easier: Less stress and mental pressure, increased tidiness as well as wise management of time and finances. And in addition to that, a diverse, fashionable closet. In our guideline, we’ve gathered practical, sustainable tips on the topics of purging, organizing & mindful shopping based on our very own experiences.
YOU DO YOU.
Surely, concepts like creating a capsule wardrobe, minimalism, Swedish Death Cleaning or the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo are not news to you – here, it’s important to take note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Any tidying / lifestyle trends should be taken with a grain of salt and interpreted according to your very own reality of life. Following certain guidelines without independent reviewing will not lead to the results that are perfect for you in the end. Therefore, we encourage you to be self-confident, creative and unconventional when taking on the project “closet” so that you can build an individual curated closet that is customized for you.
PURGING & ORGANIZING
First things first: Take a little prep time and create a pleasant atmosphere, for example with a nice smelling scented candle or your beverage of choice. Of course, you can invite company as well. However, we recommend that you take care of the first, rough stock taking and sorting out alone – for any fine tuning and a final say when it comes to your “maybe pile”, having someone whose opinion you trust by your side can be helpful. If you feel like it, turn on some background noise like motivating cleaning/decluttering videos, music or podcasts. Now, for a satisfying before and after, don’t forget to snap a picture of the before situation and you’re ready to go!
Depending on the status quo / the amount of clothing you own, you can either conquer bit by bit or take out everything from your closet and drawers completely and put it on your bed, for example. Either approach is fine – it just has to sit right with you. When going for the “all at once” approach, be wary of feeling overwhelmed at one point and under pressure to finish in one day. It would be a shame to leave your mission unfinished just because of frustration. When moving piece by piece, you can extend this project over the course of a couple of days or beyond.
However, even when breaking up the task into milestones, we suggest that you stay on top of things and pick a couple of consecutive days like a free weekend or holidays. Regardless of the option you choose, now is a good time to clean shelves and cabinet doors – especially open closets tend to collect dust. For us personally, after having tried out both, closed closets work better than open ones. Open systems can overwhelm the eyes, e.g. in the bedroom, and garments may fade from sunlight.
Tip: You will be more focused and faster when spending your time on this (or any, really) project in intervals. Set the timer of your smartphone to 30-60 minutes and give your best with a smile for the time slot chosen. After that, allow yourself a little break. This approach refreshes/prolongs your perseverance and lets you celebrate interim successes. Yay!
First of all, one should establish a base and be somewhat radical. We recommend starting with pieces that do not carry too much emotional attachment and have a rather practical use. This is easier for most people.
SOCKS, UNDERWEAR & CO.
This category includes:
- Socks / Tights / Leggings
- Sleepwear / Loungewear
Get rid of the pieces that are damaged/worn or washed out/stained and those that you don’t like or that don’t fit you anymore. Usually, single socks are not needed as well. For a final purpose, use the latter as dust cloths. Another idea: Take those things that you want to toss – like mismatched socks or stretched underwear – with you on your next trip (and wear them one last time), then get rid of them on site. That way you are able to save space in your luggage on your way back and it spares you the hassle to wash at home, too. By the way, analyze your habits regarding washing your clothes. The more frequent you wash the less pieces (particularly socks and underwear) you have to own, of course.
Sortieren: Socks, underwear & Co. are best stored in drawers which can be divided using boxes. First, you can take these out of the drawers easily which comes in handy to maintain the system you establish. Second, it makes for a better overview of what you actually have.
For the time being, discarded shoe boxes work well. Maybe this solution turns into a permanent one, which would be totally fine. Otherwise, just keep looking for nicer alternatives in the future and swap them.
Often, we feel like we have to get everything into perfect shape all at once and make hasty purchase decisions just to keep finding things that would have been prettier or would have worked better. Then, we either stick to our initial decisions and aren’t really satisfied or we buy again – which contradicts conscious consumption.
Ideally, you don’t just run buying pricey organization gadgets but decide on temporary solutions and use things you already have.
Next up is sportswear. Be honest with yourself: How diligently are you working out right now? The answer to this question should affect the scope of your activewear wardrobe. If you are in a season of life where you neither have a lot of time nor eagerness to work those muscles, you can very well reward yourself with a couple of pants and tops once you up your gym game again instead of hoarding clothes for all eventualities. On top of that, the mere sight of them may cause a guilty conscience. Here as well, keep in mind your laundry habits.
For sportswear, it is particularly important that it’s comfy. And the best way is to try on all of your pieces and answer the following questions:
- Do I like the fit on me? (Too loose, too tight, too short, too long?)
- Do I like the material? (Are those pants see-through?) Does this piece motivate me to work out or do I feel sluggish?
Organizing: Sort by season and/or type of sport. In line with the category socks and underwear, you may go for a system with (shoe) boxes. A clever hack for your tank tops is to hang them up on a belt hanger with multiple hooks. Functional garments, in particular, are hard to fold properly due to their smooth surface, fall apart easily and create chaos in the drawer.
We hope you have warmed up a little by now and can turn towards your everyday clothes with self-confidence. Depending on personal preferences and space, you can store clothing that is unsuitable for the respective season in a spot other than your closet (for example in your basement or on the attic, if available, and ideally in boxes with tightly closing lids or in garment bags to protect the clothing from unpleasant odors etc.). However, we personally recommend to keep everything (except festive wear but more on that topic later) in one place. That is pretty much the only way to get a realistic feeling for the amount of stuff you own (quite shocking, sometimes).
To deal with your everyday clothes generally, we think that the idea of creating a curated closet is a great guideline to follow. Ideally, after the purge, what remains is a manageable number of pieces of clothing that you really like, that really fit you and that are no-brainers in terms of mixing and matching. The end result is highly personal and customized, there is no general solution of a capsule wardrobe with so and so many pieces in basic colors that work for anyone. Some like it colorful and flirty while others are fans of a minimalist design and monochromatic looks. You do you. Also, people change over time. Therefore, our individual needs and our taste are evolving continuously.
Helpful key questions to assist you during the decision-making process are:
- Does this piece suit my current style / reality of life? Would I buy it again today?
- Does this piece fit me and do I like the cut (on me)? Where applicable: Do I like this piece enough so I will alter it or get it altered?
- Do I like the color / the pattern? Is it flattering?
- Do I like the material or am I sensitive/allergic to it? Is the piece easy to take care of? If not, am I the type of person who will send things off to the dry cleaner or wash them by hand?
- Is the piece comfortable to wear?
When you dislike a piece for a certain reason (e.g. you like that jumpsuit but it’s impractical for visits to the restroom or you get annoyed by those buttoned up jeans), take note of that reason – at least mentally – and stay away from similar pieces in the future to avoid unnecessary bad buys.
- If I like the piece for various reasons but it is damaged: Will I get it fixed?
- Do I have multiples or similar pieces? If yes, do I need them all? How often do I do laundry?
- When was the last time I have worn this piece? (Not always a tell-tale sign, maybe this piece has just been hidden in the depths of your closet.)
Rule of thumb: If you have to think really hard about a particular piece, there most likely is legit reasoning behind it and you could probably let it go without the prospect of missing it. If you want to sleep on it for a night or ask a friend for advice, put those pieces into your maybe pile (a decision will be made at the end) or in a quarantine box (This is a box for pieces that you don’t want to part with right away. Put this box in your basement. If you haven’t reached for the things inside within a couple of months, you can get rid of them for good without reconsideration).
Tip: During the purging process start gathering some outfit ideas and photograph them as a reminder (create a designated folder in your smartphone). By doing so, you can discover totally new looks that you wouldn’t have thought of on an ordinary, dozy morning. The pictures may serve you as inspiration on less creative days. If you feel like it, you can even divide the content of your closet into outfits ready to grab. Now is a good time to take care of your accessories (bags, belts, jewelry, watches, sunglasses, scarves, hats, gloves etc.) as well: Which ones will round off your selected outfits nicely?
2. ORGANIZINGMaybe you are already equipped with everything you need to store your remaining treasures adequately and know which organization principles work best for you – perfect. If not, at this point a few ideas.
Hanging garments: For lightweight items you can use hangers flocked with velvet (eye pleasing: Choose a coherent color), these are non-slip. More substantial sweaters and heavy weight jackets/coats should be put on solid and broad (wooden) hangers to keep them in shape. If you want to make a sustainable choice, pick hangers made out of grass and recycled plastic (according to a Product Carbon Footprint Study of the IfaS, their production results in 64% less CO2 than the production of ordinary plastic hangers).
We recommend grouping similar items from one category together (e.g. slipovers, pullovers and sweatshirts) and sort them by color and length to make maximum use of the space underneath. Should you prefer a different principal, it is best to follow your intuition – first and foremost, the classification has to feel right for nobody but you.
Folded garments: To have a better overview, we ourselves hang the majority of our clothing, even pants. If that’s not something you desire or it is simple not possible, at least put your favorite things in the front and fold everything in a manner that makes clear which piece you are looking at without having to unfold and refold it. At no point, drawers should be overflowing and for the sake of easy upkeeping, leave some room to add things without cramming.
The general rule is: Don’t become too fancy when folding your clothes or force complicated folding techniques onto yourself – in most cases, you will not stick with them for a very long time and new chaos is on the horizon soon.
FESTIVE WEAR & MEMORABILIA
Whether it’s party dresses, beachwear, skiwear or even a wedding gown – these things don’t have to take up valuable space in your closet permanently and can be stored in garment bags or boxes with tightly closing lids on your attic or in the basement.
Tip: You need something for one special occasion only? Maybe you can borrow it from a friend or a family member instead of buying something new. Here and there, you can already find opportunities offline and online to rent and lend clothing & accessories. Keep in mind: Demand and supply are mutually dependent. When you try out these kinds of platforms you are giving them a chance to grow and their selection will expand.
AND OF COURSE: SHOESNeedless to say, shoes are especially close to our heart. Therefore, one could expect that this category might be a tough one for us when it comes to letting something go. Ever since we have started our own brand, however, we’ve established a versatile basis of shoes for ourselves. This foundation is now the benchmark that shoes we already owned as well as prospective new ones have to live up to. This principle has worked wonders for us.
The overarching goal is to possess a well-sorted, easy to handle selection of shoes. In our opinion, this well-sorted selection of shoes should encompass styles that are fashionable yet not short-lived as well as special yet always wearable. In general, your personal cost-per-wear ratio for each style should be low.
Sort out shoes, for example, that…
- …are damaged / heavily worn / unhygienic.
- …don’t fit / cause pain..
- …you love to look at but never actually wear.
- …are of poor quality or look cheap.
Next to convincing quality, proper care for the shoes is crucial. For all of our models, we offer specific care advice as every upper and outsole material has different needs. General care advice you can find here. Of course, you can contact us contact us at any time in case of further questions.
Even though special shoe fixtures for closets exist, we personally prefer storing shoes and clothing separately. Shoes are rarely cleaned up after each wear plus odors & moisture evaporate.
To save the shape of your shoes, we recommend wooden shoe trees. Pool noodles can do the trick when it comes to preventing the shafts of your boots from creasing, you can cut them to an individual length (think of really tall over-knee boots, for example!). Of course, you can use crumpled up old newspaper for almost all shoes alternatively, too, that’s totally fine. Just the removal and the stuffing are a little more troublesome.
THE PURGING & ORGANIZING IS DONE – WHAT NOW?After you have finalized purging and organizing, the question of what to do with the purged items remains. Here, various options are available:
- DISPOSE: Things that are damaged, heavily worn, outdated or irreversibly dirty/discolored etc. should be thrown away. Things that we ourselves don’t feel comfortable wearing/using anymore can be discarded without a bad conscience or used as cleaning cloths.
- DONATE: Research about different charities, contact your local church or ask family & friends about options, for example.
Tip: Use opaque bags when making donations so that you don’t start second guessing choices that were hard to make in the first place.
- REPAIR / ALTER / UPCYCLE: In case you want to rescue any of the pieces, you can repair/alter them or give them a “facelift”. CEDOUBLÉ offers scrunchies Scrunchies made out of upcycled, high-quality materials such as 100% silk, cashmere and linen.
- PASS ON TO FAMILY & FRIENDS / SWAP: Offer your pieces to family and friends or organize a swapping event. Especially feasible right now: Establish a group chat on your phone so people can post pictures of the things they’d like to hand down.
- SELL ONLINE: There are lot of options to bring your things back into the fashion cycle, e.g. through sales platforms, purchase portals, concierge services etc. Often, you can choose between a direct payout and a shopping budget for the respective platform.
Tip: While figuring out your new closet situation, take some flat lay pictures of the things you want to part with. This will save you a lot of time when you’re ready to list some of your belongings online. And since you are probably trying on clothes anyway: Snap some pics of yourself in front of the mirror or have somebody take photos of you. Quite a few customers ask for wearing pictures in advance of their purchase for a better assessment of the potential fit. Then just jot down common measurements and key data such as manufacturer size, material composition etc. By doing so, you will have everything readily at hand when you decide to sell any of your pre-loved treasures – and that from the comfort of your couch. Convenient as well: Use your drafts & pictures to list items when you have to bridge the time, e.g. while waiting at the doctor’s office or on long train rides.
- SELLING OFFLINE: You can sell your clothing at garage sales and flea markets (there even exist sales events particularly targeting women) or to second hand boutiques, for example.
Final Touches & tips for future shopping
At the end of your endeavors you should definitely reward yourself with an after picture. Often times, one underestimates the significant change that was made. Now, because of the overview you’ve created, you can identify if there are any particular pieces missing in your closet – sometimes it just needs one new piece to wear five others (again). Many times, these are basics such as thin turtlenecks. Ideally, write yourself a list.
For the future, it is best to purge a bit as you go, specifically:
- For each new piece that you add to your closet, remove an old one
- Spontaneously get rid of pieces that you keep skipping when choosing an outfit
Tips for a more sustainable approach to shopping:
- Refrain from fast fashion as much as you can: Not only does this fast-paced, cheap cycle of fashion stand for a missing attention to the environment and less than perfect working conditions but also does it foster bad buys with a surprisingly high CPW ratio. Generally, pay attention to good materials and quality – that way you can enjoy your things for a longer period of time.
- Take sales and discounted offers with a grain of salt. Who isn’t familiar with this: Almost daily, we receive a flood of discount newsletters / emails that encourage us to get our hands on supposed bargains quickly. This pressure to buy creates stress. Therefore, we’ve unsubscribed from newsletters that almost exclusively advertise with percentages and offer no added value beyond that.
- Try to prevent returns (when shopping online): Instead of buying two sizes of the same item to choose from, turn to the customer service and ask them any questions you might have. Responsible-minded retailers will be happy to assist you.
- Generally, turn to (online) retailers with a sense of responsibility:
- Where are the products coming from, how will they be packaged? Is the shipment CO2-neutral? How extensive is the information that is provided so I can make a well-informed purchase decision? Nobody’s perfect, but you should be able to see the good intentions.
- Have your online purchases, if possible, delivered to a collection point – maybe you have one within walking distance or there is one on your way to work. That’s more climate-friendly than an individual delivery.
- If possible, opt for buying second hand or borrow things whenever you can. Sharing is caring :-).
- Purchases out of impulse, for reward or out of frustration are to be avoided: Generally, shopping should not be a hobby or a pastime. Also, shopping using your smartphone late at night isn’t such a great idea either…
- From time to time, do some shopping detox and in the meantime write a wishlist – not everything you are still going to want at a later time.
- Helpful questions that you can ask yourself before purchasing something: Do I already own something similar? Can I combine this piece with existing pieces from my closet? How often will / can I wear that it?
You have questions, suggestions or further tips that you want to share with us and others? We’d love that! Just use one of the many ways to get in touch with us.
x Christina & Celina