BeforeYourNext Birthday-DeniseFisher’s Blog

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Packing for Paris

Posted by denisefisher on March 25, 2009

clip_image002I have too many clothes. You have too many clothes. We all have too many clothes. Let’s just consider this one example: T-shirts. All colors, logos, sports teams, clever sayings, freebies from promotional campaigns or volunteer events. You probably have dozens more than you realize in your drawers right now. It’s hard to cull a collection to a manageable quantity because many of them are like new. The discerning qualities of fit, fabric, and style rarely apply – they’re nearly the same, from one T-shirt to another. So we keep them. All.

Who can blame us? It’s hard to purge items that are perfectly usable, even when you have more than you need. So, what to do? As with many productivity strategies, it’s mostly mental; it helps to make a game of it. One such wardrobe organizing game I like is a fantasy role-playing game I call Packing for Paris.

Imagine you’re packing your luggage for a trip to Paris. Even if it’s summer, and you over pack and assume that you won’t be laundering any clothes to re-wear, you’re not going to take your entire T-shirt collection with you. You only have so much luggage space, so you’re going to choose the best of what you own – the outfits with the best fit, the ones that are the most wearable, the most stylish, most versatile, needing the least maintenance, and the most practical for your travel lifestyle and the activities you’ll be engaged in. (Sound familiar?)

The reason why this game works is that it reverses the mindset from what you need to get rid of and instead, focuses on selecting the best of what you want to keep. When you assemble the outfits you want to pack for your travel destination, you don’t go through the contents of your wardrobe considering each item separately to determine what not to take. You start by imagining what types of activities you’ll be doing (traveling with luggage, site seeing in the city, dinner out, a day at the beach or the slopes, or hiking through the vineyards). You also plan your clothing choices for the climate and season (coats, boots, hats and gloves; jackets, pants, shirts with sleeves, and sneakers; or lightweight shirts, shorts, and sandals).

Once you’ve allowed for the climate and activities of your travel destination, you select appropriate footwear and select clothing items in groupings of outfits. Even if you have a great looking print shirt that fits well, is stylish, has low maintenance, and meets other criteria, if you don’t have anything suitable to pair it with (to complete an outfit) it’s not going to be a good clothing choice. You’re either going to need to buy a pair of pants, shorts, or a skirt that will go with this amazing shirt, or you’re going to need to pass.

Now, once you’re able to see the thought process that is used in Packing for Paris, you can use a similar mindset for assessing your wardrobe. Think of the limited space of your closet, dresser, and other storage units as the limited luggage space you have available. Don’t pack everything in and then try to determine what to eliminate. Same thing with your clothing storage spaces – clear them of their contents as if you’re starting with an empty suitcase. Then only put in the outfits that suit your needs and that you know you’ll wear. I’ll address what to do with the piles of leftover clothing and accessories on your bed in an upcoming post. For now, just read, absorb, and survey your situation. And imagine you’re going to be packing for Paris.


4 Responses to “Packing for Paris”

  1. […] Packing for Paris […]

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  3. Moushka said

    Brilliant! One of the most sensible approaches to streamlining a wardrobe I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the suggestion – I’m going to clean my closet out right now!

  4. Thanks for the vote of confidence Moushka. Go for it – I hope it works for you too.

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