Have you ever had that panicked “I think I just wore this outfit, but I can’t remember” feeling?
Or maybe you’ve gone shopping and found “the perfect purple shirt,” only to come home and find two “perfect purple shirts” just like it in your closet.
What if you have a few favorite outfits that you wear on rotation even though you have a million clothes in your closet (and no, I’m not talking about the fabulous capsule wardrobe, although bonus points to you if you’re using one)?
After months of wearing the same outfit on repeat, I decided enough was enough!
I was tired of wasting money buying clothes that I didn’t need while still feeling like I had nothing to wear. I had a closet full (maybe even too full) of clothes that weren’t being worn, but when it was time to get dressed, I never knew what to wear.
Rather than overhaul my entire wardrobe, I decided to organize the clothes that I had and simplify my wardrobe. My solution: a clothes organization system.
What is a clothes organization system?
A clothes organization system is a simple method to organize your clothes, plan your outfits, and simplify your wardrobe. It’s the perfect way to see what you already have at a glance. You’ll also be able to easily see what you still need to complete your wardrobe.
In its most basic form, a clothing organization system is a list of your clothes. You can take pictures and create outfits in apps, create a checklist in Evernote, or even create a simple list of the items in your closet. You can also create a spreadsheet and pair like items together, like jeans in one column, blouses in another, etc.
A capsule wardrobe is one example of an organization system, although you can organize your clothes without going to that extreme.
Related reading on Organized Motherhood: 8 Tips for Your First Capsule Wardrobe
Why do you need a wardrobe organizer?
If you have a large closet, a wardrobe inventory makes it easier to pair outfits. If you want to wear a certain skirt, you’ll be able to see at a glance which tops would match. You also won’t have to worry about forgetting a top in the back of your closet for years.
As you’re planning your outfits, you’ll be able to see what you’ve already worn and what should be added into your rotation.
As your clothes wear out or you add new clothes to your wardrobe, update your spreadsheet. Also, bring a copy of the wardrobe inventory with you whenever you go shopping. Even if you shop online, keep a copy of the spreadsheet close when browsing.
I use my closet checklist so that I don’t buy multiples of the same item (for example, I don’t end up buying another long-sleeved purple shirt when I already have two in my closet). It’s also great to bring shopping so you can see if you have any holes in your wardrobe, like needing to replace your worn black pants.
The printable will show you which outfits you wear most frequently, which ones you don’t wear at all, and which outfits need to be updated. It’ll also show you if you need to buy a new top or bottom to complete an outfit. For example, if you have a navy pencil skirt but no matching tops, you’ll know what to look for when shopping.
How do you make a clothing organizer?
While there are apps that allow you to take pictures of your clothes and create outfits, I found that using a spreadsheet was simpler. It was easy to update, didn’t require fancy technology or good lighting, and, best of all, was free to make. 😉
To make a closet cheat sheet, list all your bottoms (pants, skirts, jeans, etc.) in the top row of your sheet (download a free copy of my Organized Wardrobe printable here). Below each bottom, list all the matching tops. If a top matches two bottoms, list it in both columns if appropriate. For example, if a blouse matches black leggings and a beige skirt, list it in both columns.
If you have some pants that you wear with everything, like jeans, feel free to create a special column of tops that you only wear with those bottoms, or even a “random” column of tops that could be paired with everything. Because I typically use jeans to “dress down” every shirt that I own, my jeans column only contains shirts that I wouldn’t wear with anything else.
Feel free to add a “special occasion” column to the sheet, too. For example, if you go out for a girls’ night once a month, list each top or dress that you wear. Then, when you go out again, you won’t have to worry about wearing the same thing repeatedly.
How do you use a closet cheat sheet?
Once you’ve gone through your clothes and listed every bottom and top on your sheet, use your cheatsheet to plan your outfits.
When I was working, I would highlight five outfits every week in a different color. For example, I would highlight five tops in yellow for January 2-6, five in pink for January 9-13, etc. At the end of the season, I would save that spreadsheet for the following year and start over for the next season.
As a stay-at-home mom, I use a similar spreadsheet to track my “mommy uniform,” which mostly contains t-shirts and jeans with the occasional “special occasion” outfit.
If you’ve been struggling to wear the clothes that you have, know what you need, or even plan your outfits, try creating a closet cheat sheet or using another clothing organizing system to simplify your wardrobe.
Since creating my spreadsheet, I get more use out of the clothing that I already have and I spend less money on new clothes. It also makes getting dressed so much easier. 😉