yays in my closet

ndwc closet 1

See that sweet little step stool needlepointed by my grandmother 60 or so years ago? Yeah, I hadn’t seen it for months either. I’d forgotten how sweet it is because it’s been buried under a pile of sweaters since September.

I have a small closet. (Old houses = small closets.) Luckily, there is another closet in the hallway, and I rotate most of my cold and warm weather clothing with the season change. There had never been room in my closet for my sweaters, however, so they lived in the hall closet.

In front of that hall closet is a dog bed, upon which Max the 11-year-old dog is regularly perched. Plus it’s hairy. He’s a yellow Labrador Retriever. It’s really hairy. And a little smelly. I digress.

ndwc max

Our house was built in 1888 and has small rooms. The only place the dog bed will fit is in front of the closet. Believe me, I’ve tried elsewhere. So, to get into that closet on a daily basis is…unpleasant, shall we say. Max doesn’t like it. I don’t like it.

Thus the pile of sweaters on the sweet little step stool. And, I don’t know about you, but for me, once a pile is started, it’s really easy to just keep adding to it. The pile was becoming a mountain. It was past time for me to do another Wardrobe Consult.

keepin’ it real

You’d think since I’m a wardrobe consultant my closet would always be pristine. NOT. A common theme of my blog – my everything – is keepin’ it real. Because that’s who I am – just a regular gal with the same challenges, inner critic, procrastinating tendencies, struggles with body image, and crazy life as the next person.

I also have the knowledge of my own personal journey through all of this and the tools to address it. And, let me tell you, it’s so much easier – and fun – to help someone else through this process than to do it alone. Every time I do my own Wardrobe Consult, I whine to my family that I need a wardrobe consultant too. Having support makes all the difference in the world.

organize and purge

My primary goal this time around was to organize my closet and the hall closet in a different way so that my sweaters could be in my closet during the winter. Not only did I have a mountain of sweaters and other clothing on the step stool, I had workout clothes and pajamas on the high shelf in my closet that had gotten disorganized enough to be regularly falling on my head when I reached for something up there. (Again, keepin’ it real, people!)

I pulled all of that stuff down and it became immediately clear that I didn’t need a lot of it. Time to purge. I recycled jammies and workout tanks that were worn out. I donated things that were in good condition but I wasn’t wearing anymore. And I separated winter workout gear from summer so that some of it could go into the hall closet.

ndwc closet 2

Here’s the fun part: I moved a shoe shelf that had been on the floor of my closet with summer shoes on it (very necessary to have handy in the winter in Minnesota, right?) up to the top shelf. New space for sweaters! I can put them away! I can see them! Nothing will fall on my head! It’s the small things that bring me joy.

speaking of joy

Soo, the pile of sweaters was addressed. The abundance of workout gear and jammies was addressed. Now I had a big pile of shoes on the floor. Purge again.

While I don’t subscribe entirely to Marie Kondo’s method of organizing, there is something to be said for getting all of something out to look at it collectively. When you have a big pile of summer shoes all together, it’s easier to decide what should go. And her concept of “Does it spark joy?” is spot on. If an item of clothing doesn’t bring you joy when you wear it, why keep it?

Some shoes I recycled – NO ONE will wear my old running shoes – some I donated, and some I will consign. Then I took most of those summer shoes that I won’t be wearing until May (sigh) and put them into a storage box to go into the hall closet.

ndwc closet 3

That freed up the other shoe shelf and created more space on the floor of my closet. Woo hoo!

I had room to add in an old Ikea rack that was going unused in the basement. I put shoes that I wanted to have easier access to on that, and converted the other shoe shelf to a space – much smaller – for my workout gear and pajamas. Now I can reach these things easily, and they aren’t taking up so much real estate in my closet.

closet love

It’s amazing how doing this helps me to feel better. I’m actually excited to open my closet door now. I use the sweet little step stool to reach for a sweater if I need to. I found sweaters that I hadn’t been wearing because they were languishing in the hall closet behind the hairy dog puff.

I am a person whose mindset is impacted by too much clutter. I know this about myself, but sometimes it takes me a bit to address it. And when I do, I feel so. much. better. I feel like I’m taking care of myself, not just my closet. Yays all around!

Are you ready for some closet love?

Contact me today to schedule your Wardrobe Consult. Together, we can make it happen, and have some fun while we’re at it!

 

i ♥ resale: Elite Repeat

In honor of Earth Day last year, I posted a roundup of consignment and resale clothing shops in the Twin Cities. We are fortunate to have a broad selection of choices – each having its own niche in the market.

As we mark Earth Day tomorrow, I’m celebrating practicing sustainable consumerism with the first in a periodic series, I ♥ Resale, featuring local consignment shops.

ndwc_ER_storefront

elite repeat

Elite Repeat is a gem. Located on Randolph Avenue at Hamline in St. Paul, the shop celebrated its 40th Anniversary last fall. After 18 years as an employee, Melissa “Missy” Auran took ownership of Elite Repeat in 2014, and she has brought a fresh eye, tone, and energy in her new role.

Elite Repeat features “designer and on-trend clothing and accessories.” The consignment portion of the shop has recently been augmented with an increased selection of new jewelry, scarves, and “giftables,” many of which are Minnesota-made.

Elite Repeat’s selection is appealing to women of all ages and styles – classic, contemporary, trendy, and couture. You will find higher-end mall brands like JCrew, Talbots, and Banana Republic, all the way up to Burberry, Prada, Chanel, and St. John. They also have a nice selection of outerwear, athletic wear (think Athleta, Lululemon, and more), accessories and handbags, and shoes.

ndwc_ER_missy

Melissa Auran

“Customer service is really important to us – it’s how we distinguish ourselves. We want Elite Repeat to feel like a boutique – and we want people to feel good when they are here, whether they buy something or not.”  ~Missy Auran

Elite Repeat is very selective in what it accepts for consignment: “Items need to be in excellent condition and current [3 or less years old, unless a timeless designer piece],” according to Missy. “We have a very large and loyal consigner base, and we are always looking for new consigners – from teens to grandparents.”

This makes shopping easier – I know when I do a personal shopping session with a client at Elite Repeat that the clothing will be like brand new. And the staff is careful about not overcrowding the racks, which can get overwhelming and frustrating. If you are looking for a particular item, they will bring out any extra stock for you.

The staff regularly refreshes displays and creates an appealing, relaxing environment to shop in while featuring their offerings.

Once a customer told Missy, “This is the one store where I can shop together with my mom. At the mall we have to shop in separate stores to find what each of us likes.”

Elite Repeat has a fabulous selection of dresses, workwear, and casual pieces.

Elite Repeat reliably has gorgeous shoes – from casual, like these on trend for summer espadrilles, to drool-worthy high end designer brands.

Handbags range from good quality mall brands to designer, like the Kate Spade one on the left. They are always in excellent condition and reflect contemporary styles.

A portion of the shop features “giftables,” many Minnesota-made. You will find lotions, house decor, accessories, and more.

Missy’s first job in retail was at Dayton’s! Elite Repeat just started carrying Bygone Brand Apparel’s homage to the historic department store’s iconic logo. You can find memories of Elite Repeat’s original concept of couture consignment in decor like these vintage department store hatboxes.

giving back

For a second year, Elite Repeat is celebrating Earth Day (tomorrow, Saturday, April 22!) by giving a portion of the day’s sales to plant trees in the community through Friends Of The Parks And Trails Of St Paul And Ramsey County.

The shop also holds a food drive two times a year in conjunction with their seasonal clearance sales in July and February. Shoppers receive 75% (instead of 50%) off all items with a food or cash donation to The Food Group.

And Elite Repeat supports organizations like Dress for Success, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and Operation Glass Slipper by donating all unsold merchandise at the end of the season, and consigners receive the tax donation slips for their items. Consigners can also donate their earnings to an organization of their choice.

when you go

You will receive a warm welcome and a great selection of new-to-you clothing at Elite Repeat. As Missy says – and I couldn’t agree more, “We want people to wear what makes them feel good!”

 

 

my wardrobe consult

“Ugh! I need a wardrobe consultant!” I whined to my husband.

Recently, I made the switch in my closet from warm weather wear to fall and winter clothing. As I dug in, it quickly grew into much more than a switch. It ended up being a full-blown assessment of my wardrobe, which is what I do with clients in a Wardrobe Consult.

As discussed in my last post, my style has evolved some this past year. Partly because of the change in my hair color, and also inspiration from French fashion during our extended stay in Lyon last fall (nostalgic sigh). Things were piling up – I had added new-to-me pieces to reflect my new style, but hadn’t done a closet purge in several years.

My closet is on the smaller side, so I store off-season clothing in a closet in the hallway. This is actually good, because it forces me to directly interact with all of my clothes twice a year as I make the swap.

Notice I said “good.” Not “fun.”

Sound familiar?

I LOVE helping others to organize their wardrobes and to make them more functional and enjoyable. I can do that every. single. day. My own stuff? Not so much.

When it’s your own things, your emotions, and – let’s face it – baggage, become a part of the story. Facing stuff that has been lurking in your closet for years, if not decades, can bring up all kinds of internal stuff too.

why it can be hard to assess and purge

It takes precious time – before you begin, it feels like it will take FOREVER to accomplish anything.

So many decisions have to be made, which is overwhelming, and sometimes even paralyzing.

A lot of memories come up – some good, some bad.

Experiencing guilt of purchases you made that haven’t worked out.

Finding clothes that fit at one time and don’t anymore (too small or too big), or never actually fit, can trigger negative body image messages.

Finding unworn items you like the idea of, but never really were you, nor will be, can also trigger purchase guilt.

Items are outdated or just plain worn out, but have sentimental meaning.

Items are outdated, but aren’t worn out, so it seems wasteful to purge them, even though you aren’t actually wearing them.

Managing gifts from people you love that just don’t work for you, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings by purging them.

When it’s my closet I’m addressing, I quickly get overwhelmed by decision-making. I also can get caught up in self-scolding – this time around I pulled out a bridesmaid dress from a friend’s wedding that occurred EIGHTEEN years ago (or was it 19?) and several other dresses that were 15+ years old and too big, but I had saved them anyway. Why??

I also have the “it’s not worn out” guilt around things that are still in good shape but are no longer my style. Do I keep them, just to have as options? (No. Consign them!)

See, I needed my own wardrobe consultant. Because organizing and purging, especially your clothes, is actually grappling with your sense of self and your personal history.

Having someone who is objective and who can give you support throughout the process with encouragement and gentle, honest feedback can make the process much less overwhelming and much more effective. I help my clients keep a positive perspective, avoid getting bogged down, and have fun in seeing the potential in the items that do work in their wardrobes.

It took me 6-8 hours over two days to completely go through my clothing, which was more than double the time it usually takes when I work with a client. This reminded me how helpful – and efficient – it can be to have a supportive presence to help you along! Working together, we usually get through most if not all of a typically-sized wardrobe in three hours, not only purging, but also creating new outfits with the keepers.

I had a lot of conversations with myself while I was doing my wardrobe consult. The exact conversations I have with my clients. “When did you last wear this?” “Do you actually LIKE it?” “Does it make you happy to wear it?” “Why do you feel like you need to keep this?”

And I tried to treat myself as I do my clients – with encouragement, support, humor, permission to purge, and permission to keep certain items that just can’t be let go – yet. The bridesmaid dress and other late-90s delights did go. Again, why???

I took three garbage bags of clothes for donation, and I consigned 15 items. I feel much lighter to have cleared out clothing that was doing nothing but cluttering my closet. Others will benefit from my purge, and my wardrobe is ultimately more functional without those items. I also now know what I have and what needs to be added or replaced, which makes shopping more focused and fruitful.

Ready to take the plunge into your closet in a faster, less painful, more productive (and FUN) way? Contact me today to set up YOUR Wardrobe Consult.