How big is your closet?
My hunch … regardless how big a closet you have, it’s full!
Now answer this: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually wear?
I came across a statement from a closet expert (someone who knows closets, not someone hiding the fact they’re an expert) who told the Wall Street Journal that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobes.
What if you could have a wardrobe where most everything is loved and worn regularly.
One idea that will help you work towards this reality is to do the Hamper Test.
Here’s how it works:
- Determine your normal interval between laundry loads. Could be five days, a week, or even two. If you are someone who does laundry often, consider making your interval long for a while. It’s also okay if your laundry interval is connected to someone else’s, like a spouse and/or kids; just determine your combined laundry interval.
- When you do laundry, look at the clothes not in the hamper (or laundry bag)–the clothes that are not in active rotation.
- Get rid of at least one item that didn’t make it into the hamper per laundry interval.
- Repeat until most of your clothes are in the hamper at the end of a laundry interval (some prudent reserve of unused, but wearable clothes can be forgiven).
A couple of more notes:
- Be aware of seasonal clothing with this test. In other words, don’t ditch your shorts because they didn’t make it into the hamper in December. But do subject shorts to test in August (make appropriate hemispheric/seasonal adjustments). Actually, this test should be done for every season, i.e. conduct test in summer, then do separate test in winter.
- Clothes that are either infrequently or dry-cleaned won’t exactly fit into the Hamper Test. Just be honest about how often these things are worn.
- You can make some special clothes exempt: Formal wear and specialty clothes (ski pants, cycling shorts when not in season), for example. But do not abuse this exemption. If you haven’t worn that tux in the last twenty years, there’s a chance you won’t wear it in the next twenty. And that old prom dress/bridesmaids dress/graduation outfit likely isn’t going to be worn anytime soon again.
Even people who think they have pretty pared down wardrobes (like me) can find dozens of things to give away: t-shirts at the bottom of the t-shirt stack, that sweater that’s really warm but only possibly worn one day a year here in Texas, and so on.
Give it a try and see what you discover.