Live Purposefully – Clean Closet, Clean Mind

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Keep an eye out for my new blog post series “Live Purposefully,”
Featuring great ways to get purposeful about the things around you, and help enable you to live life to the fullest!

Live Purposefully Capsule Wardrobe How-To The HWL

I have a problem.  I have waaaaaay too many clothes.

For the longest time I didn’t even know it – in fact, I thought I didn’t have enough clothing items. Every time I looked in my closet, I had nothing to wear.  Or all the good stuff was dirty.  And obviously that makes it hard to resist buying more. Besides, there are cute new things hitting the racks all the time, how can you not at least check to see if there’s something in your size?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a shopaholic.  I don’t have a spending problem, and I don’t go crazy at the stores all the time. You’ll never see me up at the crack of dawn to catch a sale.  But a couple of times of year, I go on a mini-splurge – usually with my mom as my partner-in-crime.  Let’s just say we know how to shop.

Over time, however, I’ve come to realize that out of a pretty large wardrobe I really only have a few tried and true favorites – who doesn’t??  I have also realized that the reason all the good stuff is always dirty is 1. Because that’s what I enjoy wearing (and do wear) the most, and 2. I never do laundry.

Seriously. I HATE doing laundry.  Especially now that my washer and dryer are in the basement, down two flights of stairs, AND I’m pregnant.


Clothes and Cats The HWL

Clothes and Cats – What more could a girl need?


The laundry situation though, is only going to get harder once our Little One arrives.  And my ability to stand in front of my closet for 30 minutes staring blankly at things draped haphazardly across hangers or shoved into the back on the floor, trying to decide what to wear, is about to disappear.

Part of me is just lazy enough to figure that I should just give up now – that if I’m overwhelmed at the prospect of getting dressed under absolutely no stress at all, there’s no hope for me trying to look fashionable after the baby comes.

But the other part of me is too vain to let that happen, and realizes that I need to come up with a plan now, to prevent myself from being a hot mess in 5 months.

I need to live purposefully.


Live Purposefully The HWL


About a week ago, I was talking this all over with a friend, when she gave me a piece of advice.  She told me that in order to really clean out your closet, you need to look at each piece and ask yourself, “If I saw this in a store today, would I buy it?”

PING!  It was like a lightbulb went off.  Uh.  No.  I would not buy SO MANY of the things in my closet if I saw them in a store right now.

With the nesting instinct kicking in, I began to get the itch to organize…(which I do quite exceptionally by the way, when in the right mindset).

So it was rather serendipitous that I stumbled upon this blog post at Un-Fancy the other day, about the concept of a “Capsule Wardrobe.”  I was immediately intrigued.


Capsule Wardrobe UnFancy



The basic idea behind the Capsule Wardrobe is that you only keep/buy pieces you really, really love. That way, whenever you go to your closet to put something on, instead of staring at a bunch of things that make you feel undecided and “meh,” you can easily reach in and grab any piece that will make you feel comfortable and fabulous.

I’ve only been trying it for a few days now, and I didn’t even follow all of Caroline’s guidelines, but I’ll tell you what, I’m already in love and never want to go back!


Here’s How It’s Worked For Me:

1.  Instead of limiting myself to a specific number of items (no way I was gonna get there on my first try!) I just tried to focus on eliminating anything I didn’t love.  The “adore’s” went back into the closet (or dresser), all of the definite “no’s” went into a donate box, and the “maybe’s” went into a tote under my bed to try on again post-pregnancy.  Obviously I kept some of my staple white tee’s and plain tanks that are just a little too basic to feel passionate about, but that everyone needs a few of.


Clean Closet Capsule Wardrobe The HWL


2.  I didn’t really sort my clothing into seasons.  GASP.  I know, right?  Maybe I’m a total weirdo, but I don’t completely understand the concept of “putting away” out of season clothes.  I thought my clothes were already away when I put them in my closet!  How many storage spaces am I supposed to have, exactly, for my clothing, anyways?  I don’t know about you, but my house has just enough closet space for everything we have as it is, I don’t exactly have room to be keeping my winter clothes in the linen closet during the summer.  Plus I like to layer things.  I overheat easily, so I wear tank tops all year round – and it gets cold in the evenings here, even in summer, so I’m never too far from a sweater.

BUT, I did make a small concession and picked out my distinctly summery items that don’t layer well – floaty tops, tanks, and sun dresses – and folded them up in another tote to store under the bed as well.

3.  Going forward, I’ve implemented the rule that I won’t buy anything that I don’t love, and that twice a year I’m also going to sort through my closet to make sure that I’m not keeping anything that’s unwanted or going unworn (and to switch out anything that’s been hiding out under the bed, out of season).  As far as buying clothes goes – I’ve decided to invest in higher quality items that will last, and that I know fit me and my lifestyle.  Unless it’s an item that I absolutely have to have right now, I’m going to put it back on the shelf and sleep on it.


How It’s Making A Difference:

Well, first, check out the before and after pics below, and I think you’ll see the difference is quite obvious!

Most importantly however, my closet is already doing what I hoped it would, and putting time back in my day (weird, right??). Seriously though – for one thing, it’s infinitely easier to find something to wear now that everything is organized.  I tend to gravitate towards a similar color palate (black, white, coral, turquoise, gray), which means I can pull out almost anything and slap it on and it’ll match and look good together.  I also don’t have to wrestle with my piles and hangers to put items away, which means I actually put them away, and that equals less time rummaging and sorting and re-washing clean things that are now maybe dirty because they’ve been on the floor for a month.  All good things!

Most importantly, however, I feel more comfortable with and confident in how I look, because I get to wear my favorite clothes every day and still look put together!


Closet Before and After The HWL


I’m entering a new stage of life – one that is so exciting and fulfilling, but also going to be exhausting and time-consuming.  And now is the time to start making those conscious choices that are going to enable me to live purposefully.

Will my husband – or anyone else in my life for that matter – stop loving me or think less of me if I turn into a slob and never try to be fashionable again after the baby comes?  Heck no!  Of course not! That’s why I keep all those people in my life, because they love me anyways.  But would I love me a little less, or think a little less of myself if I just let MYSELF go, and became mom – Andrea Smyth, the person, never to been seen again?  Probably, after a while anyways.

Maybe I’m being selfish, or naive, or just plain greedy – but I’m not really ready to take anything off my plate just yet, even though I’m about to add another pretty big slice.  So that’s where the idea of “living purposefully” comes in.  Because certain portions of my life are going to have to be diminished, obviously, for something else more wonderful to take their place.  But that doesn’t mean they have to disappear altogether.


To Live Purposefully means to make conscious choices in your life about what really requires your energy and attention.

Looking nice is important, yes – but does it need to take up the majority of my morning routine?  No way!  So for me, finding a way to simplify the process is the obvious answer.  That way I can still feel and project confidence, while taking care of the bagillion other things on my to-do list.  Like laundry…and spending time with my husband and awesome pets, and getting ready for our Little!


Andrea Smyth The HWL outfit


Will you join me in deciding to Live Purposefully?  Look for more articles like these, coming soon – and be sure to share the ways you’re already living purposefully in the comments!


What do you think of the Capsule Wardrobe Project?
Would you consider giving it a try, or are you too attached to your clothes/already organized enough??
How do you keep your closet clean, and your fashion ideas fresh?



Thankful Thursday The HWL
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Sunday Songbird – The Places I Will Always Go
Andrea Smyth The HWL
Wordless Wednesday – Meet the Family!

One thought on “Live Purposefully – Clean Closet, Clean Mind

  • November 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I really, love the idea of would I buy it today, and to buy only what you love. I’ve actually been trying to do that more lately and not just with clothes, though that is a biggie, but just in general!!!! Who needs life cluttered with things you don’t really love. I have to fight the part of my that hates to part with things though, I must say. There’s always that part that says well what if…. I just got something important writing this, wow, thank you. I have a much easier time taking things in than letting them go and really it is about balance. And about not taking on things that don’t really “fit”!!! What a metaphor for life!!


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