To Keep, or Not to Keep?
The time had come. The closet situation was perilous. It had reached a point where there was no place to hang the clothes I’d just picked up from the dry cleaners, and definitely no place for new arrivals.
By Robin Jovanovich
The time had come. The closet situation was perilous. It had reached a point where there was no place to hang the clothes I’d just picked up from the dry cleaners, and definitely no place for new arrivals. And even though it still seems like summer, the fall fashions are everywhere and hard to resist.
Enter Cynthia Hudson, who not only offers personal shopping services but will “edit” your wardrobe. I liked the sound of that.
The difficulty is always: How can I get rid of that suit that got me the job back in 1994? And I can still wear that dress!
Hudson has heard it all, and she’s unmoved. After all, it’s easy for her to be truthful about other people’s closets.
Last week, she followed me up the backstairs. After agreeing that I did own some attractive dresses, suits, slacks, tops, shoes — and more shores — from Angela’s, Great Stuff, and Walin & Woolf, she immediately went to all the other stuff.
“You may not really need 17 white T-shirts,” she began, going shelf by shelf. “Start by throwing out the yellowed and stained ones.” And while Hudson acknowledged that she too owned more than four pairs of jeans, she wondered if I was really going to wear “those” jeans.
Hudson isn’t brutal, she’s honest, and knows how hard it is for busy people to organize all the parts of their lives and she also understands the sentimental attachments women often have to clothes they should have donated back in the last millennium. “Tastes change, styles change, so has your shape,” she says matter-of-factly.
The Rye mother of four has always loved fashion and helping people. “I’ve been helping friends go through their closets and building their wardrobes for years. With my youngest in elementary school, I finally decided to do it professionally.”
One of the best things about getting rid of clothes you don’t need or won’t ever wear, says Hudson, is that it “makes you reconsider your style and how you present yourself.”
To reduce the “visual chaos,” that is norm in most closets, Hudson recommends buying a few sets of the same kind of hangers, like the felt ones at Costco. “You’ll actually have more space and be able to see what you own more easily.” She is also partial to plastic bins, such as those sold at The Container Store, which are a good way to keep belts and scarves in one organized spot.
If your closet looks anything like mine, Hudson offers this tip: organize your closet by use — work, play, nights out. If you are short of hanging space, fold your exercise clothes, including tennis skirts! Sort sweaters by type and material: crew, turtleneck, cardigan, etc. If you don’t have the right top, shoe, or accessory for those slacks or skirts, it’s probably the slacks and the skirts.
Before telling me that I might want to bring in this season’s new color (grape fyi) or fashions (pleather, leather, biker jackets?!), Hudson suggested that I review my black skirt section. “They all look pretty much the same style and length to me. Do you need all of them?” Good point. She then moved on to the suit area, which is where I explained that I did get the job because of that Thierry Mugler suit, which I bought at the old consignment shop next to Highland Hall. She was unmoved.
“You know it’s okay to keep part of a suit,” she mused, eyeing the jacket with the fake fur trim that was hanging with the still-stylish wool skirt.
After about an hour, Hudson said she would leave the editing of my closet up to me. “That means trying things on, which may take you awhile.” We both laughed.
I spent a good 15 minutes reviewing my closet this week. It didn’t take me long to realize I do better editing at work. Cynthia Hudson’s email address is posted on my refrigerator: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hudson points out there are many charitable organizations that are always in need of gently used clothing, so start editing. “Don’t just stick clothes in the attic, — where you won’t look at them again until you move — pack them up and get rid of them!”