Friday, March 7, 2014

How To Avoid Closet Overload

This may seem like an odd topic to include in a blog about saving money, but hear me out. I own A LOT of clothing, well, I used to. Nothing matched anything and I'm often so poor that I just took hand-me-downs from other people that didn't fit me right and didn't work with anything in my closet. When I did have enough money to get something brand new I would go to the nicest stores I could afford and buy something so outrageous and cool, but could only be worn one place for one occasion and didn't really work for anything else.

My attitude changed one day when I walked into a Family Dollar store and found a black maxi dress. It was simple, and yet it could work for me. I realized that if I wore it with a nice sweater and my pearl necklace I've had since I was 15 it would work for a dressy occasion. If I wore it with a pair of flip flops it would work to just hang out around the house in! I had to buy it. Of course, after I bought it every one else I knew wanted one too... so I knew if was even more perfect than I had originally thought. This got me thinking about everything else in my closet. I realized I wear only a few items over and over again and when I do wear the other stuff it is because my favorites are too dirty to pass off another wear before laundry. Because I go to the laundry mat I then have to dig through piles of clothes to find my few favorites and the other clothes just sit in the corner of the room... dirty. Yuck! I decided that it was time to change all this once and for all. And here is the most basic, cheap and usable wardrobe I came up with. It is also open to interpretation. All the images will be links to a place you can get the items, but they are by no means the only place those items can be bought.
The black t shirt is one of the foundations of my closet. I use men's t shirts because they have a basic and simple structure. They are also VERY cheap. These are an item that are best purchased brand new. I've looked for them thrift, but men wear these things to work dirty jobs in and tear them up fast, they are icky to buy thrift. And so cheap to buy new. My favorite is Hanes. They are tagless and the material is soft and yet so sturdy. I ended up with a few grey t shirts in my bag because the store I bought mine from thought they were doing me a favor. Ha, I have 4 of these basic black t shirts.
I like to have my black tank tops around too. They are mostly for the hottest days of summer, but I've been known to sport them in the winter too. These are really nice to have when you have a dress that cuts a little too low in the front for your taste. I get mine as long as I can as well. they help keeping the top of your butt covered if you are well endowed from the rear as I am. Look around to get them as cheap as you can, I bought mine brand new because for the wear I get out of them it was worth the $4.00 I ended up paying for them. I got 3 of them.
The long sleeved black t shirt is something I only have 2 of in my closet. This is because I don't really have need of long sleeved shirts as much as others might need. This is a situation where you need to consider your own individual needs. I wouldn't recommend getting more than 5 of any of these items. And the plain black t shirt is the only one I really came close to that limit with. As I will get into later I do have a back up item if 2 long sleeved t shirts isn't enough.

This picture doesn't do the pack I got justice, however the ones I actually bought shared the picture of the lady modeling them on the front and I didn't feel comfortable posting that on my blog. Ewww. But, getting undergarments is part of pulling outfits together. No way around it. Though I do know people that go commando, I'm not one of those. You can wear the same pair of pants two days in a row, but not if you have nothing under them! I'm partial to Hanes. And I'm partial to black... I feel even your 'laundry day' undies can make you feel nice and pulled together if they are in black. But, that could just be me. No link for these, you have to just search for what works best for you.

Bras are something I try to get in every color. Of course I want the standard black, white, and tan. But, if I find cool neon and other interesting colors I get them too. The reason is they often show a bit with my black tank tops and I figure make it look like I layered on purpose, right? Also, when I workout at home I don't bother with a shirt because I just get it disgusting with one workout anyhow. So, I wear these while working out at home. It makes me feel cool and hip, even if no one else is around so see how decidedly uncool and unhip I actually am. This is another item you will just have to browse the stores for what you like. I have no link to share.

Black capris, this is a thrift shop find. There is no point in paying full price unless you are creeped out by wearing someone else's castoffs. And if you are serious about saving money, I suggest you get over that one real quick. It is okay to not want to wear used socks and undergarments, but regular clothes are a gold mine at the thrift shops. Especially stuff like this. When the ladies less hard up for cash give up on their new year's resolutions you win by stocking up on these. I have one pair right now, but my goal is to get 3. They are nice for doing yoga in and they are nice to just chill in. GO TO THE THRIFT SHOP! Haha.

When it comes to the black yoga pant I'm going to recommend you only get one pair. Yes, they are super comfy, yes you are going to want to wear them every day. Should you? Eh, okay, I wear mine more often than I should. Frankly Mike really likes how I look in them so I have a fairly good excuse to. But, then, it quickly becomes a rut that you can't seem to get out of. This is another good thrift store find. And if you MUST have 2 pairs I recommend you put on one pair as soon as you get home and bleach the bathroom floor while wearing them... HAHA! Where them out of the house now!

I had never thought to get these until this past winter, now I know you never know when you will need a pair of nice fleece lined sweatpants. I got one pair for $5.00 in the middle of a terrible snow storm. I think one pair is all you really need, unless you live in Northern Alaska and then you are probably reading this and saying 'Duh, Kim, I have a whole drawer full of these... can't live without them!' or if you live in Florida you are probably saying 'Ha, can you imagine me going to the beach in those?' Okay, I'm just saying because I didn't think I needed these for a long time and then the storm hit and I needed them. So, yeah. This is probably one of those things you can 'steal' from your man if you have to.

I ended up with two of these (long story) but I don't wear both of them by a long shot. I wear this thing everywhere. I keep it in my car even in the summer incase I go to someone's house where they like artic temperatures in their home. I wear it under my winter coat if it is very, very cold out. I got mine 3 sizes too big so it is more like a nice blanket with sleeves for me. But, I know some of you will like yours in a fitted style. Doesn't matter. I just think this is a good thing to have in your closet and they are pretty cheap to find. Mike and I ran across a boat load of them in all different sizes and materials at the thrift store the other day so whatever your taste you can find them for a good deal.

I wouldn't leave you hanging on this staple, every closet needs a pair. The only thing I would suggest is what I'm constantly telling my sisters "don't date yourself." there will come a day that you will look at some of the pictures of you in your younger years (even if you aren't that young now) and you will smack your head. WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!! Stick with a classic cut free of embellishing fun. I mean if you must have embellishment do it yourself and do it tastefully. I've seen crazy embroidery down the whole leg of some jeans at the thrift shop and it is usually on a pair of size 22 jeans and it makes me feel sorry for whoever thought that was a good idea. I like boot cut. I only own one pair at this time of my life. I wear them when I'm out in the woods playing and gathering rocks and weeds. I wouldn't recommend buying more than two. Even when I've ever own 5 pairs of jeans I always wore the one pair over and over and over again. Unless you have a store that always carries the perfect cut and shape for you... make this a thrift store find.

Now, if you work in a professional or semi professional setting you probably will be required to have more than one pair of dress pants. All I need is the one pair. They get pulled out for dinners with my family, funerals, you know... the stuff you feel obligated to dress up for, but a dress won't do. Again, don't date yourself with these! Please. As an adult you will probably be able to pull off hanging on to these for years and the skinny pants you wore to your job interview last week will probably look pretty silly on you 10 years in the future and could hurt you in a review. I'm not advertising these exact pants. I'm giving you an idea of want undated clothing should look like.


I like to keep on hand one dressy shirt. I like comfort, so it would be anything too stiff and fancy. If it is winter I'll wear something like this shirt over one of my long sleeved black shirts, or a tank top. A black sweater over it would also pull it together for me. My dress shirt was a gift to me from my Mom years ago. I don't know where she got it, but I've worn it for about 5 or 6 years straight and it is still holding up. I wear it with my jeans to hang out with friends or with my black dress pants for the occasional funeral. It really is an important piece to have. It is the only piece I would really say go for it if you wanted to pay top dollar for it.

Every person has their own unique style, and that is so important for each of us to have. It can be expensive to express yourself while wearing head to toe personal style and I would never suggest you give up who you feel you are just to have a cheaper wardrobe. Personally I like an odd mixture of hippie/military style. I know, it is really weird of me. I think having a few clothing items that express your taste is important. A shirt like the one on the left can be paired with almost any item above I have mentioned and look great with them all. Mostly I keep my unique style items to accessories, but that is for another post altogether.

Remember the black maxi dress I spoke of? It doesn't have to be a maxi dress. But, you need a black dress. If it suits you get a couple of dresses. I think I have about 4 maxi dresses in all. I don't wear them all the time, but I have this thing about being girlie sometimes and long flowing dresses make me feel awesome. I will admit that maxi dresses and skirts are really just yoga pants without the crotch (I found that clever line somewhere on Pinterest) but they are worth it to me. If you aren't into dresses at all I still recommend you get one black dress, short, long, doesn't matter. But, you should have one.

Along with that one black dress, I would suggest one skirt. This is totally optional really, but I wear these things for totally casual purposes. I wear them with my plain black t shirts. I wear them with my tanks. They are like my yoga pants for the summer.

I haven't bought my leggings yet. They are to purchase. But, let me just make a note here. Leggings are not pants. They aren't really a good idea to wear in place of jeans or yoga pants. I don't understand why everyone is doing so these days, it seems silly to me. But, I do want to snag 3 pairs of these. They are nice when you want to wear a skirt in December or if you like to go out in the woods like I do they are nice to wear under your jeans. Again, they should not be worn as pants themselves, that is dating yourself again.

I used to think that thermal underwear was a very silly thing for a girl to own. I don't know why, I guess I watched too many old timey movies with ol' buster cooking moonshine in the back woods with long underwear on. This past November I went out into the woods with Mike and I decided to bring along some long underwear I just happened to have. I'm so glad that I did! It was so cold out there! Then when we got back my Landlord was being silly about not wanting to turn on the heater in my apartment. Again... awesome! Depending on where you live these may or may not be a good investment for you. I think I paid $20.00 for the set of mine. Not that bad. Mine are white, but I wish I would have bought black. Maybe I will dye them black. Or tie dye them! Wooooo!

Following are some shoes that I have worked into my wardrobe. The ones you see below are not the exact shoes I have, they are just similar styles to what I have. I have gotten most of mine for very cheap by watching for sales and going to the Dollar stores. I don't by shoes thrift, because I have small feet that are hard to find thrift. And if I do find them they are usually children's shoes and have been worn completely out before I got them. But, I do manage to find good deals and in a few cases get them for free because my Granny wears the same size shoe as I do!



One final note before I sign off on this post. These are just some guidelines. If black totally doesn't work for you, find another basic color to use as you foundation for your wardrobe. That is pretty much the point of this. I used black as my foundation and build the rest of my wardrobe around that. I will write another post in the hopefully near future of how you can use accessories to give a little punch to what you have. But, it won't be one of those posts that assumes you have lots of money to spend on 50 infinity scarves (or assuming that you even like infinity scarves... what's up with that?) It will just show you how you don't have to swim in stuff to have clothes that don't make you feel like a slob.

Oh, and I realize I mentioned something about having links for everything, somehow blogger wouldn't let me do more than the first few. But, the links I did give have all the other stuff there. And thrift stores ARE YOUR FRIEND. Really they are!

Too Much Time On My Hands


  1. This is great! I am about to go through my closet. I have way too much. It is crazy to have all this stuff that I think I might wear someday in the distant future. It is just so easy to collect more than I need. Thanks for the list of what you kept - I'm still trying to figure out what mine will be (hopefully done by next week!)

    1. Thank you for the comment. This is still an ongoing journey for me and I'd love to see some of your ideas as you work on this as well!


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