white long sleeved blouse and gauze red and yellow skirt laid out on a chair

Catalog Your Clothes

Coming up with the perfect outfit is too much brain work first thing in the morning. You keep meaning to set out your clothes the night before but by the time evening comes, all you really want to do is brush your teeth and roll into bed. If you create your own personalized catalog, you’ll never have to stand at the closet wondering what to wear again.

Create a Catalog

It’s easier if the closet is decluttered, but that’s not a requirement.

You will need:

  • A clean surface, like the bed. Smooth down the covers so it’s nice and flat.
  • Your phone or camera.
  • Your clothes.

Pick out something you know you like wearing from your closet (or the laundry pile or the floor). Check if it fits you, then lay it flat on the bed.

What goes with it? If you pulled out a skirt, which blouse or t-shirt or sweater looks great with this skirt? If you pulled out a shirt, which pair of pants goes well with that shirt?

Find the matching item. It’s in there somewhere. Don’t get sidetracked into trying to organize your closet right now, just keep hunting until you find what you’re looking for.

Add the top to the skirt on the bed.

Take a picture of this outfit. You can photograph the outfit as it lays flat on the bed or you can hang it up with top and bottom on one hanger, whatever looks best to you.

If many different tops go well with this skirt, pull each one out and take another photograph.

You’re making a catalog of outfits to choose from, so keep going until you’ve exhausted all good matches for the skirt.

This isn’t the time to search online for perfect combos. We’re using what you already have. I bet there’s some great stuff in your closet you’ve forgotten you have.

Pick out another skirt or pair of pants and do the same thing. Photograph the top and  bottom of each outfit you can make using the clothes you already have in your closet.

  • If an item doesn’t fit, don’t photograph it as a possible outfit.
  • If something is fusty and musty and you know you’ll never wear it, set it aside to be donated. You don’t want to lose sight of what you’re doing here but it’s also a good opportunity to free up space in your closet.

You could choose and photograph an outfit a day or you could keep going for as long as it’s fun. While you’re choosing outfits, you may notice that you have a lot of similar clothes. If you feel moved to sort out the green t-shirts and find your favorites, letting the rest go, allow that to happen.

When you’re done, you’ll have a photographic record of all your outfit possibilities. You can either make an album on your phone to flick through in the morning or you can get fancy and start a free private blog to display your choices. When I first heard of this idea*, the suggestion was to use a Polaroid camera to print out photos of each outfit and pin them to the inside of the closet doors.

*tip of the hat to Sarah for giving me this idea years ago.


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