Second only to running out of coffee, nothing puts a damper on my mornings quite as effectively as not being able to find anything appropriate to wear. I don’t know about you, but I’m not usually operating at maximum capacity first thing in the morning. The last thing I need is to go toe-to-toe with a disorganized closet while still bleary-eyed and fuzzy with sleep.

After engaging in far too many gruesome early morning outfit battles, I decided that something needed to change. Bound and determined, I set out to regain control of my wardrobe. If you find yourself in a similar position, these simple steps might just help you to do the same.

Consider your lifestyle.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What does an average day in my life look like?
  • How often do I need to dress in formal wear?
  • What additional items do I need to help transition my wardrobe into the colder months?

The key to creating a wardrobe that works for you is to be intentional. Answer the above (and other similar) questions, and create a list of the type and number of outfits and accessories you’d need to flourish. This list will be key in making the hard decisions about which items of clothing get to stay and which need to go.

Simplify your current wardrobe.

Once you’ve put together a list of your basic wardrobe needs, set aside several hours to simplify your wardrobe.

Take everything (yes, everything) out of your closet and lay it across your bed. Designate space in your bedroom for three piles: a Donate pile, a Keep pile and a Try On pile (for all the pieces that you’re not sure about). Sort every single piece of clothing that you own into one of the three piles.

Once you are finished sorting, breathe deeply and turn your attention to the Try On pile. One by one, try on each item of clothing. A trusted friend might come in handy here. Then consider these questions:

  • Do I feel comfortable wearing it?
  • When was the last time I wore it?
  • Does it flatter my unique figure?
  • Do I have somewhere to wear it to?
  • Do I have something to wear it with?

Be honest with yourself, and be ruthless. A woman doesn’t need a lot of garments to create a lot of great outfits, she just needs the right mix of garments. I know better than anyone how hard it can be to part with certain items of clothing, but if it doesn’t serve you in some easily identifiable way, you’re better off without it.

Photo by Rubbermaid

Create a beautiful closet.

How you create a beautiful closet will depend upon your personal preferences. Be creative! Your closet should reflect you and your individual style. Consider investing in quality hangers, pretty boxes for storing items, and/or scented satchels.

The goal is to create an aesthetically pleasing space. I can’t explain it, but beautifully displayed clothing somehow helps me better enjoy the clothes I have and minimizes the urge to go shopping.

Assess your current wardrobe situation and make adjustments.

Pull out the list you made at the beginning of this process and compare it to the pieces in your newly decluttered closet. Once you’re free of the clothing you no longer wear, you can effectively assess your current wardrobe situation.

If you have too many of one type of clothing, pick a select few of your favorites and then sell or donate the rest. If you find that there are pieces you lack, make a reasonable plan to buy them.

One other thing to remember: every single item you own should be able to be paired with another piece to create a complete outfit. Some people even like to arrange their clothing into outfit groups to further simplify their mornings—this is a great way to confirm that all your pieces have a purpose. If you find stray garments, give them away or find them a mate!

Building a wardrobe that works for you comes with many obvious benefits: It reduces stress, frees up mental energy, results in more peaceful mornings, and creates extra time to spend doing the things you most love.

What’s your favorite item in your wardrobe?