Practical Advice

GOOD-BYE 2010 SPECIAL: "Spring Cleaning" is a Must!

Wanting to start on a fresh, new slate is a common desire every time we face a new year. Much as we ought to be grateful for 2010, we have to admit that there are some things and memories we’d rather not bring with us this 2011: A broken heart, a nasty confrontation, getting a horrible scolding at work. Reminding ourselves of these things does not allow us to move on, instead they act like shackles that hinder us from treading easily on our paths.
Before the year ends, I think it’s good practice to come to terms with the things you know that hurt or disappointed you. These memories could have been caused by other people or by our own folly. I love looking back at every year through the many pictures I take every month, as well as the documents and writings I have on my computer which contain my random thoughts, scripts or even minutes of the meetings I have attended. And then there are the people who come and those that leave—whether good or bad, we do know that these people leave their marks on our lives and we learn from our encounters with them.
Since it’s a Monday today, I was thinking of doing a Good-bye 2010 Special which will focus on different aspects of my life and the lessons I’ve learned this year. I’m hoping that the tips I get to write will help you welcome 2011.

Sure, people might say they’ve heard this tip so many times but let me tell you that the best time to do it is NOW as we end the year. Cleaning up one’s wardrobe doesn’t mean getting rid of all the old stuff; I personally clean up my wardrobe after a lifestyle assessment. Our clothing usually follows who we are and the kinds of activities we do. A student let’s say, will have a lot of casual jeans, shirts/blouses and comfy shoes but won’t have a lot of evening gowns and power suits, while a seasoned executive won’t have a lot of sneakers and ratty old sweaters.

As you go through your closet, think about the following:
1.        Where am I and what am I doing 5 days a week?
Assess where you spend most of your time each week. If you work in a bank, you either have to wear the company uniform or comply with a corporate dress code. That means, your choice of clothing for the remaining days of the week are left for leisure and weekend activities.
2.        What does my activity/job require?
Does your job require you to be in the boardroom most of the time? Are you a pre-school teacher who needs to be on the move, running after kids? If you are a sales/marketing executive who does a lot of presentations and client meetings, you can’t be wearing a cap, a leather jacket and tight jeans when you go to work. On the other hand, you won’t be wearing a long-sleeved blouse and a pencil skirt if you work for an amusement park right?
3.        What do I do for leisure/recreation?
Do you like running? Do you do volunteer work every weekend?
If you’re into sports, then your wardrobe should have a considerable amount of sports attire. We’re talking about running shoes, sneakers, shorts, jogging pants and cotton shirts. You know it won’t be easy to run or shoot hoops in your leather shoes or office slacks. If you do volunteer work, dressed-down casual jeans and shirts would enable you to do what you love without being uncomfortable.
4.        How much of my day do I spend outdoors/indoors?
Weather, temperature and climate are some of the factors we should consider when we plan our wardrobe. One may be dressed appropriately for work, but he would have to be ready for instances like rain, snow or the irritating humidity. Investing in cover-ups like cardigans and jackets to protect you from the cold, as well as rain boots for walking through wet, rain-drenched streets is good practice.
If the weather is dry and hot on the other hand, you have to check if you have clothes that allow your skin to “breathe”.
Having those questions in mind will assist you as you sift through your wardrobe. For girls, it’s a common practice to hoard. I’ve been there and done that, but have learned my lesson after realizing how many pesos were wasted on clothes I don’t want to wear anymore. If you want to be practical and stretch your wardrobe, hoarding is a habit you should get rid of! Sure, it’s very thrilling to see a lot of clothes when you open your closet, but do you seriously wear EVERY SINGLE ITEM more than thrice? In the Wardrobe Class of John Robert Powers, students are taught to maximize their wardrobe by means of clothing capsules, body type and color analysis to name a few.
Building your wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget. One should be able to create different looks by combining a certain article of clothing with others, therefore creating many looks.
Now that you’ve braved the wardrobe doors and stare at the clothing, you might get a little misty-eyed parting with some clothes. Keep this in mind as your sort through the hangers and piles: Do you see yourself wearing that piece of clothing more than thrice in the coming year? Is it something you can mix and match through all the seasons of 2011? In the Philippines, we only have to deal with the hot summer, the humidity, the rains and the cold “ber” months. If it’s not too much work for you to assess your wardrobe quarterly, I encourage you to do so because there are some clothing items that are all good for summer but totally inappropriate for December.
    1.        Sort through your underwear
Losing/gaining weight and expecting a child are some factors that require you to ditch old underwear and buy some new ones. Remember that your underwear has to fit you snugly (for women specially, since it’s main purpose is body support).

    2.        Sort through your tops
Which tops will you wear to work? Which tops are versatile? Sorting through your tops allows you to see if there are some that need to be replaced or just repaired. If you see a boring solid-colored blouse but can’t seem to part with it, you might want to put it in a box labeled “FOR REPAIR/RE-STYLING”. I have been doing that for the past 5 years and it’s amazing how a little snipping and sewing can change the look of an old outfit.

    3.        Sort through your bottoms
Most people will have lesser bottoms than tops. Just like underwear, your bottoms should fit you comfortably and should work in favor of your body structure. If you know you have a big bum or have huge thighs, will you seriously keep light-colored slacks/jeans in your wardrobe? If you know you have short legs, would you keep calf-length skirts that would make you look shorter?

    4.        Sort through your accessories
And we’re talking about bags, your jewelry, scarves/shawls, hats and gloves. Do some of your bags need repair? Do you need to get a formal bag for social events you might need to attend next year (debuts, awarding ceremonies, weddings)? Do you have so many earrings but don’t get to wear them all? Don’t be afraid to get rid of some accessories; you can give them to friends or even earn by selling them at a cheaper price.

    5.        Sort through your shoes
There’s a saying that goes “A girl can’t have too many shoes.” Come on, I know you’re familiar with former First Lady Imelda Marcos who is famous for her many shoes. As much as it is fascinating and addicting to collect shoes, you have to admit that you don’t always get shoes that are stylish and comfortable at the same time. 

Just like bags, there are shoes for every occasion. You won’t be playing volleyball in sexy red stilettos, nor will you attend a client meeting wearing sneakers, right? Sorting through your shoes can be a little more tedious than going through your wardrobe if you’re the type who hoards. My personal take on this? Make sure you have the basic colors in different styles which will help you maximize their use as you mix and match your wardrobe.
Once you’re done sorting through your clothing, make sure that you put them in boxes that are properly labeled. Assess what you have in your closet and see what items are lacking based on the lifestyle check. You might need more cardigans and sweaters when you find out that you’ve outgrown the ones you had this year. You might need to purchase new running shoes because the ones you have are worn out already.
Happy sorting and assessing! Email me at for messages and questions! Toodles!

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