Defining Your Mom Style + Tips for a Closet Cleanout
If you’re anything like me, the first couple of months of the year are spent cleaning, organizing and spending as little money as possible. Rather than piling the new on top of the old, it’s a great time to donate those pieces in your closets that are no longer working for you.
So for my first Momma Society style post, I thought it would be a good time to focus on steps to define your personal style and how to clean out your closet (+ your kiddos).
DEFINING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
Defining your personal style goes hand in hand with cleaning out your closet and building a wardrobe full of pieces you love.
Before I had kids, I had a good sense of my personal style. I knew what I liked and looked good on me. Post-kids is a completely different story. Even though my youngest is almost 2.5 years old, I still feel like I’m figuring out what I feel good in and what works for my lifestyle.
If you’re struggling with determining your style, these are a few steps that have helped me:
Search for inspiration. Pinterest, Instagram and people watching are my best sources of inspiration. Create a board or collection to save images that catch your eye.
Review those images for common elements. For example, I’m mostly drawn to neutrals with a pop of a color or print. I love leopard anything and striped shirts are my jam.
Consider the types of fabric you like best. I wear a lot of sweaters in the winter and prefer cotton or cashmere over wool. If it’s itchy, I won’t wear it!
Be realistic about your lifestyle. I’ve really pared down the number of dresses and heels I own since I don’t reach for them in my day to day life as a stay at home momma.
I’ve been posting my daily outfits to Instagram Stories this year, which has been enlightening. I’m finding I reach for the same pieces over and over. While I like to dress up, I choose comfort over dressier styles almost every single day.
If you’re really serious about putting the effort into figuring out your personal style, I recommend ordering a copy of The Curated Closet Workbook. It will walk you through, in detail, the steps to defining your style.
CLEANING OUT YOUR CLOSET (ALSO KNOWN AS THE BIG PURGE)
I’ve helped several friends clean out their closets over the years. While some people are hesitant to purge, I’m the opposite. It gives me great pleasure to get rid of the old!
The goal of cleaning out your closet is to clear room for those items that you want to wear. The ones that make you feel good. If that’s jeans and a tee, a dress and heels, or leggings and a sweatshirt, that’s great. What’s most important is to find what works for YOU!
Clear some time in your calendar, grab your drink of choice and pull out each item in your closet and drawers. Don’t forget the smaller stuff like underwear, bras, belts, jewelry and socks!
Now ask yourself these 5 questions for each item:
Is it in good condition? If it has holes that can’t be patched (or you know you won’t get patched), fading or excess pilling on sweaters (if you still love that sweater, try using this gadget to remove the pilling), it’s time to put it aside.
Does it fit? Ahh, are you holding on to it because it might fit again someday? I’ve done this and on the off chance I do fit into it again, I would prefer to treat myself to something new.
Is it still “in style”? As I’ve gotten older, I subscribe to trends less and less. While I firmly believe you should wear whatever you want, there are certain items that are probably best retired. I’m talking about you choker necklaces.
How do you feel when you wear it? This is the #1 most important question I always ask my girlfriends when we go through their closets. If you don’t feel great in it, it’s time to let it go. Life’s too short to wear clothes you don’t love.
Does it work with your current lifestyle? Do you work in a business environment or from home? Spend your days chasing after kids? It’s helpful to have clothes for multiple occasions, but the majority of clothing should work well for your lifestyle.
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to donate, sell (try Poshmark or ThredUp) or store it (should be reserved for maternity clothes you plan to wear again or sentimental pieces like a wedding dress).
CLEANING OUT YOUR KIDS CLOSETS
The same rules apply to going through your kids’ closets and drawers. I tend to do this twice a year, usually spring and fall, as I’m buying them new clothes for the next season. At their ages, they are still growing so quickly that clothing doesn’t make it to the following season very often.
Similar to going through your own closet, I put their clothing into five different categories:
Gift to other family members or friends // This is my favorite category, especially for pieces that evoke strong memories (favorite pajamas, a special outfit). It makes me happy to know someone else may wear them. I even sent Sybil’s first Christmas dress to Mandy for Isla because I thought she might like it!
Keep // I do keep certain items for the following season if I think they will fit in another six months.
Store // I consider myself fortunate that I’m not overly sentimental when it comes to my kids’ clothing. Sure, there are certain pieces that I love, but I take a million pictures and look back on those instead. If you can’t bear to part with it, a good rule of thumb I’ve read is to keep one container for each child.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I did save some clothing (my kids are 16 months apart so this was pretty easy to do). When it was time for her to wear it, I wondered why in the world I saved some pieces. If it’s stained in the slightest, I’d donate it instead. Speaking from personal experience here.
Sell // There’s a very small percentage of their clothes that I try to sell. It’s a lot of work and the resale value is pretty small for the effort.
Donate // If it doesn’t fall into the other categories, it goes into the donate pile. And as soon as I’m done cleaning out their closet, I put the donate items into my car so I’m forced to get them out of the house.
I hope these steps help you to find your inner Marie Kondo. Wearing clothing I feel comfortable and confident in truly makes me a happier person. It takes some time and effort, but I promise you it will be worth it!