Dilemma: how to change a wardrobe that suited my working life to fit with retirement?
In 2014, I officially retired from my position as a school librarian. As I had been off work for some time with illness, this was the obvious next step. Over the subsequent weeks and months, I began to realise that I needed to make some changes in my clothing to fit with my new life.
If you opened me up like a stick of rock you would find “Librarian” written right through. It is repeated over and over in my DNA. Even though I have retired, I cannot shake off years of professional practice and training.
So, all of this plus the boredom of being ill in bed meant that I had to organise my wardrobe in a typical librarianish way!
I thought about how I would list (catalogue) all of my current clothing and accessories, plan future purchases (make a wish list), add new items to my list (accession) and make sure that I didn’t duplicate or buy unnecessary items (regular shelf checking).
Reading The Purse Forum (see the link in the sidebar) gave me suggestions for apps that I could use on my iPad, one of which I tried – Stylebook. As I want to use my laptop from time to time and also my ancient smartphone, this was not working for me. In addition, I would have to spend a lot of time inputting information into the app in someone else’s format. Other people find this app very useful as it works out things like “cost per wear”, if you input the right data. Some people on The Purse Forum use Word or Excel to catalogue their clothes, scarves or jewellery, but this would not work for me as you would have to carry an up-to-date print out when going shopping. Google Docs might work well here as an alternative and I am sure that there are other services that have come into being since I retired.
Instead, I thought back to my working days and the system that did everything that I needed to organise my personal and professional life. This could run on all my devices and I was very familiar with it…
Evernote is a system which works across devices, online and offline, syncing everything that you want to save: text, voice clips, images, video, documents etc. You can clip parts of web pages, add in your own text, save photos, attach documents and much more. It is very flexible. When I was working, I used Evernote for both personal and professional organisation with to-do lists, planning for events, tracking achievements, prepping for reports, and much more. Evernote has a series of tutorials to help you get to grips with how it works and it has loads of extra add ons, if you feel more adventurous!
The screenshot below should give you some idea how I use Evernote to organise my wardrobe planning. The idea is that you can make a series of “Notes” grouped into “Notebooks” and put anything you want into each note. I have a “Note” for each wardrobe colour for my clothing and list every item in an order that suits me:
- Heavy jumpers and jackets
- Light jumpers and cardigans
- T-shirts, tops and blouses
- Trousers and jeans
For each item, I also note the following:
- Season/month and year of purchase
I am thinking of adding some other things such as condition if not new, size etc.
Where possible, I also add in an image of the item. These are easy to get if I have bought the item online or if it is available online (for those items I have bought in a shop). With my older clothing, I am planning to take quick photos with my iPad and add them in. This is a work in constant progress as I enter new items or things I already own and tweak the information that I want to note about each item. It will probably take some time, but then I have a lot of time available!
Notes about accessories work in a similar way and I have all of my footwear listed, plus handbags, jewellery and, of course, my scarves!
All of this helps with forward planning in a number of ways:
- I can easily see everything I have, neatly set out in colour families.
- This helps me to spot the gaps and I can then note down what I need to replace or add to my wardrobe.
- I can put in images and links to items that I would like to buy.
- Sale items can be tracked so that I get the best price!
- I can access all of this on my iPad, laptop and phone so that I don’t make mistakes.
- This is also a way of keeping an inventory of everything, just in case…
Sooo librarianish, although I can’t work out how to include Dewey in all of this!