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Welcome Your Essential Wardrobe (Part 3/3 – Reveal Your Essential Wardrobe)

February 1, 2022

Welcome back to Reveal your Essential Wardrobe!

If you missed parts 1 and 2, read it here and here.

Today we’ll get to action!

Part 3 / Revealing Clarity

In Part 1, we learned to truly see, to reveal, your signature style. I don’t mean an aspirational or superficial “style.” I mean your comfortable-in-your-own-skin style.

It is absolutely essential that you honor your style as it’s central to your true identity, your authentic desires, and unique gifts. It’ll help you show up “in character” to do what you’ve come to do in this world.

Renata Watts

In Part 2, we learned that sustainable results come from treating our dressing routine as a collection of interconnected processes, as a system. “Organizing” just the clothes isn’t enough to get us transformative, meaningful, and therefore lasting change.

So without further delay, let’s clear the decks. Today, we get to perform!


It’s no secret that I’m a fan of (and fully trained in) the KonMari Method. It’s simple and structured. That’s a tough combination to nail, and Marie does it beautifully.

We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.

Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

With your signature style and favorite outfits close at hand, I suggest you sift through your items in the KonMari Method’s specific order.


Approach your decluttering effort as a 6-phase project:

1/ Tops

2/ Bottoms

3/ Dresses & Skirts

4/ Undergarments

5/ Accessories

6/ Outerwear and Shoes


The magic isn’t in blindly following this order as if it were a magic formula.

The magic of the KonMari Method lies in the fact that it breaks down the overwhelming task of decluttering your wardrobe into 6 bite-sized chunks that have a clear beginning and end, and that you can therefore schedule in your calendar.


A project is a collection of tasks that progressively drive us toward a desired outcome. As David Allen says, no one can do a project, we can only do a task.

Marie helps us get our arms around our practical tasks. But we still have to troubleshoot for one more obstacle: We have a faulty inner clock.

We tend to overestimate how long tasks take to complete because we dread them or find them boring (read the article at the end for some fascinating neuroscience related to time). A faulty inner clock is a chief reason behind every form of procrastination.


Schedule appointments with yourself – for as little as 30 minutes and at most 3 hours.

Always use a timer, starting with 30-minute increments. It’ll help you develop a realistic sense for just how much you can accomplish in that time.


If you still have trouble getting started:


– Break a subcategory into even smaller steps.

For example, break down Tops into Summer and Winter tops or Short-Sleeve and Long-Sleeve and so on. Make the first step – for example, starting with dark short-sleeve tops – so easy that you cannot help but get started.

– Set the timer for 10 minutes.

That’s usually how long it takes us to engage with a task. Once we get past this hurdle, it’s easier to keep on going, or you can stop without any guilt. You got started!



Once you finish decluttering, you should have a healthy collection of power outfits. Those are the pieces that match your preferred structure, material, shape, color, fit, and care.

But there’s one more thing. We only want to keep clothing that meets our criteria in a go-big-or-go-(to-another)-home way.

It’s inevitable – and I mean this – that we get heady somewhere along the decluttering process. We’re human and really good at rationalizing our choices. It’s possible that we decide to keep something for rational reasons alone!

Don’t believe me?


Pick the single most important criterion that EVERY piece of clothing must meet to earn its keep. If it fails this test, it’s automatically gone. 

Be playful! Try a mantra: “Fit or forget it!

Next, pair up some of the remaining criteria together – maybe it’s shape + color and drape + fit or another iteration… However you break it down, if a beloved piece passes the main test but fails one of these pairs, say goodbye.


Does this exercise seem strict? That’s the point. Compromise doesn’t serve you well, if at all.

That bag has all my “best clothes.”


What my client meant is that the bag had all the items *she thought she should think of as best* – the shapes in fashion, the recognizable brand names, the expensive items.

Trust that your body and heart are better equipped than your mind, and definitely “the world at large” to know (the essence of) what feels good to wear! Let go of the generic and trivial in favor of the essential.

If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.

Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

3 / Making Way for Clarity

There’s no magic way to part with unwanted items. Make an appointment in your calendar and get it out the door.


If you’re short on cash but long on time, resell your items online or at a local consignment shop.

If the opposite is true, take it to the nearest donation center.


Most of my clients “worry” about their give-aways finding a good home. The truth is that it’s impossible to assure this outcome.

The impulse to micromanage how and to whom we give our things away speaks more about our grasp for control than our generosity. Give with an open heart. The rest will take care of itself.

Renata Watts

Going forward, think of your closet as a garden. Weeds will spring up. Our job is to be good gardeners.


Keep a hamper in your closet or a bag in the laundry room.

Every time a piece fails the tests we explored above, put it in this spot.

Make a commitment to have it emptied once per quarter or even once per year. Put it in your calendar! When the calendar reminder goes off, do it that day.

Meeting each morning with ease is a goal you want to make no trade-offs on, so elevate and honor the tasks (no matter how small) that safeguard your morning routine.



And speaking of honoring, over the course of this 3-part series, we’ve distilled a great deal!

You have:

  • Learned to see your clothes as they are
  • Learned what works for you: STRUCTURE, MATERIAL, SHAPE, COLOR, FIT, and CARE
  • Identified which items in your wardrobe “don’t belong”
  • Revealed your Signature Style
  • Mapped out the current and ideal states for your morning “getting dressed” routine
  • Identified the behaviors that need to Start, Stop, and Continue so that it’s easier to do the laundry beginning to end
  • Became aware of your natural tendencies when it comes to folding and storage, again to promote day-to-day ease
  • Turned shopping into an intentional and scheduled task
  • Improved the supporting process – maintenance (laundry, storage) and replenishment (shopping) – that make getting dressed easier or harder
  • Translated your signature style into your very own essential wardrobe through decluttering

Clothing is one of our three most fundamental needs, along with food and shelter. It’s also intimately tied to the quality of our morning routine.

I hope my posts have energized you to simplify your dressing routine and reclaim time for what’s essential in the rest of your day and life.


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PPS – Has this guide been helpful to you? Consider sharing and forwarding to friends who could also use this help!

Further Reading from today’s post:

The Year You Have a Closet Full of Clothes and Plenty to Wear (Part 1/3 – Reveal Your Essential Wardrobe), by Renata Watts

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo (Support Still North Books & Bar, a local shop; not an affiliate link)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeon (Support Still North Books & Bar, a local shop; not an affiliate link)

The Fluidity of Time: Scientists Uncover How Emotions Alter Time Perception, by Joe Dawson and Scott Sleek on Association for Psychological Science

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, on Wikipedia.com

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