Here on YLF I try to be consistent in using “wardrobe” when I mean the contents of your closet, and “closet” when I’m referring to the place where you keep your wardrobe. And I mean “closet” in a very general sense. It might be a walk-in wardrobe, one or more cupboards, an armoire and chest of drawers, or even some portable clothes racks. 

All sorts of factors affect how we edit and add to our wardrobes. From our lifestyles, climates and body types, to environmental norms, budgets and style personas. And here’s another factor to consider. How does the nature of your closet affect what you keep and purchase? 

Generally, I see a pattern with my clientele. Those with limited closet space have smaller wardrobes, which makes for a stricter editing and shopping policy. Those with huge walk-in wardrobes have larger wardrobes because they can store more items. This makes their editing and shopping process more forgiving. 

That said, I also have clients with small closets who have large wardrobes because they store items elsewhere and swap things out with the changing seasons. They prefer to have lots of stuff, do less laundry, and not repeat outfits all that often. Conversely, I have clients with huge closets and small wardrobes because they are minimalist by nature. They prefer to wear the same outfits over and over again and do more laundry. 

This brings us to your closet goals, and whether they are strict or flexible despite the size of your closet. My closet goals are extremely strict. I share half of a small walk-in wardrobe with hubby and it stores my entire wardrobe apart from outerwear that I keep in the coat closet, and undies, socks and hosiery that I keep in a chest of drawers. I also store my ball gown elsewhere because the tulle skirt is bulky. I do not swap out clothing and footwear for the changing seasons, or keep wardrobe items (aside from the ball gown) in other storage spaces. I even store my necklaces in my closet.

As you can see above, each hanger in my closet has a distinct slot so I can’t add more hangers to my closet even if I wanted to. I don’t have the same compartmental restrictions for my footwear, handbag and folding spaces, but I’m disciplined about keeping the inventory down so that I do not overfill the space. My closet goal is to keep my entire wardrobe apart from basics and outerwear in my walk-in wardrobe. No spreading out the contents to other cupboards so that I can store more stuff. I could easily use the empty cupboard in the guest room and utilize the ample space in the garage and under the beds to store items that can be swapped out with the seasons. But I choose not to because I like to see my wardrobe in a single glance, and do not want too many options to choose from.

So my closet goal has a significant impact on my editing and shopping habits. I have to exercise the-one-in-one-out wardrobe principle if I want to keep my wardrobe at this size, which is perfect for me. My closet goal simplifies my style, and satisfies my control freak gene. This in turn gives me a sense of calm when I walk into my closet to choose an outfit.   

What are your closet goals? Does the nature of your wardrobe storage situation influence the way you edit and add to your wardrobe?