Taking Inventory

The seasons are changing, and the summer is rapidly approaching! Given how long the winter has been, and our lack of spring here in the midwest, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m so excited! I cannot wait for the sun to shine, to lay by the pool and to be able to break out all the dresses in my closet. I

As the seasons transition, and summer begins, there’s something that I do each year. I used to assume than everyone else did this, but you may not, and that’s okay. Maybe it’s helpful for you. My feelings wouldn’t be hurt if it’s not.

But each spring, I take inventory.

What does that even mean? It means that I take inventory of my calendar and of my closet.

First, I look at my calendar and see what trips I have coming up this year, what weddings I’m attending and if there are any other big events.

Then, I go and stand in my closet and look through what I already have. If you change over the your closet, don’t do this before you have done so because you may forget what you already have and love, but just haven’t seen for several months.

If you’re super organized or someone who needs to write things down, grab your planner when you do this. While weather can always change, it’s usually safe to guess that it’s going to be HOT in July and August.

Here are some of the questions I ask as I stand in my closet.

  • What did I wear to weddings last year that worked?
  • How can I re-use what I already have with a different or new necklace, sweater, scarf or shoes?
  • Was there a dress that really didn’t work for an event last year? (Strapless dresses, alcohol and dancing at weddings doesn’t work for me, but I can forget this if I’m trying an outfit together at the last minute.)
  • Who was at the wedding that I wore this to? This may not matter to you at all. I’ll be honest, it matters to me, and that’s why I ask it.
  • If you’re in a wedding this summer, you’ll want to remember the extra events that are required of you – showers, bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners. If you’re already panicking about costs, start thinking of friends who will let you borrow clothes.
  • If you’ve gone through body changes in the last year, start trying things on now. If it doesn’t fit now, in April, unless you lose or gain weight quickly (I don’t), it probably wouldn’t fit in June… and be honest, maybe it wouldn’t work in August. Get it out of your closet. You don’t have to get rid of it, but don’t plan on it being part of the rotation this summer. That’s life. Don’t feel guilty. This is not the time to feel shame or even make a plan for fitting into it again. We’re being practical about clothes in this moment in the closet.
  • My go-to outfit for a wedding includes a dress, wedges or heels, a statement necklace and a jean jacket or sweater. That may not be yours, but that’s what I usually do.
  • Write your planner or in your take note of what dresses you want to wear to each wedding, plus possible shoe and jewelry options. Yes, get that detailed, I promise it helps. If you don’t keep a planner or feel weird writing it there, you can write your outfit choice on the back of the wedding invitation.
  • Take note of what gaps exist. Maybe you’ve got five weddings this summer, three with the same group of people, but only two dresses that you’re comfortable wearing, and you’d rather not repeat. This means, you’ve got a dress to purchase for this summer. Maybe you’ve got enough dresses, but your shoes are really worn out, this means you’ve got a pair of shoes to purchase before that first wedding.
  • If your budget is really tight, I recommend you start to ask friends to shop their closets and offering the same in return. “Hey, I’ve got a couple of weddings to go to this summer, can I borrow a dress so that I can avoid buying something? You can look through what I have, too.” Ask in advance, offer to have it dry cleaned before you return it, and usually friends are willing to lend things out. Especially if it’s not part of their everyday rotation.

Now that you’ve taken inventory, you have permission to buy specific items. I start this process in April because it eliminates the day before the event rush to get something that ends up with me buying something that I’ll never wear again. It gives my online window shopping purpose instead of the impulsive shopping I can do just because it’s payday and I have cash burning a hole in my pocket. When you do go shopping, make sure that you’re buying things that you’ll be able to wear again and that are versatile for other events. Have a backyard wedding to attend and a bridal shower this summer? Wear wedges to the wedding and a statement necklace, then swap out the wedges for a cute flat sandal and a different necklace for the shower. Are you catching on to my madness yet?

I ask similar questions about my summer vacations and special events. I even start planning what I’m going to wear or pack. Yes, even in April for a July vacation. Maybe it’s because I start getting excited, but also because I’ve made too many purchases right before something because I thought that I “needed it” only to be disappointed because I ended up donating that same item to Goodwill years later, and didn’t like how it looked on.

Taking inventory has helped me make wise investments and maximize new purchases that I make while eliminating the stress of standing in my closet in my underwear deciding what to wear as I run late to a wedding. Instead, I can buy new stuff that will be worn for seasons to come as they go on sale and head to a wedding without the frantic stress that comes with not being able to make a decision.

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