How to inventory your closet: building my simple wardrobe inventory blog graphic

A little while back I got the itch to build an inventory of my personal wardrobe. I think a good wardrobe inventory is one of the most underrated personal style tools out there. In this post, I’m going to walk you through some of my process for building my wardrobe inventory. I hope it will provide a little inspiration or insight for you and how to inventory your closet. 

It’s been a little while since I inventoried my closet. But I’ve found myself feeling a little closet scattered and falling into a bit of a style rut. That combined with an impending move, plus what feels like a laundry list of clothing alterations and fixes, prompted me to build myself a 2022 personal wardrobe inventory. 

First off, what is a wardrobe inventory?

Quickly and simply: a wardrobe inventory is an inventory of your wardrobe or closet.

Your wardrobe inventory could be in photos, or a spreadsheet, or an app, or database, or some combination. The job of your wardrobe inventory is to give you a bird’s eye view of your closet. The bird’s eye view helps you see the whole of your personal style more clearly. 

When we’re getting dressed day to day it can be easy to focus on individual clothes, losing sight of your whole closet. 

Why I’m building mine

Like I said, I’m in the process of a move which will have some of my clothes in storage and some with me. I decided the primary task I was going to use this wardrobe inventory to tackle was having an inventory of what is in storage.

A couple other things I want to use my wardrobe inventory for are: 

  1. Tracking repairs, mending and alterations.
  2. Clarifying what clothes I consider my personal day to day wardrobe. Separating out what clothes I consider costumes or reference pieces or clothes I’m holding onto because they were part of The Self Made Wardrobe Project.
  3. Sparking some style inspiration – I love the process of building a wardrobe inventory to find new perspectives on old clothes. 

How I’m inventorying my closet

On the outset, I wasn’t sure if a simple visual inventory would be enough. I was originally considering a combined written and visual inventory. But as I worked through the process I realized my needs would be best served by separate visual and spreadsheet inventories.

With that in mind, I decided to build myself a VERY simple visual inventory first. I did this by simply taking a quick photo of each piece of clothing I own. (Like I said in The Wardrobe Inventory Workbook, “sometimes all you need is a simple gallery to remind you what you have.”)

This collection of photos live in a phone photo album and it’s a great way to visually skim my wardrobe. I chose to photograph my closet over the course of a couple days. But I could have easily done it in a dedicated weekend morning or afternoon.

Next, I’m using these photos to build my wardrobe inventory spreadsheet. This way I don’t need to type notes while standing in my closet, I can just refer to the photos. (I’m not getting every detail perfect, but again, I’m mostly looking to jog my memory.)

For my spreadsheet, I know I want my wardrobe inventory to handle a couple general things (like item information and location) and a couple very specific-to-me things (like if it was part of The Self Made Wardrobe Project or not.) 

Because that’s where I’m focusing my wardrobe inventory, I’m basing my spreadsheet off of the In-Depth Wardrobe Inventory Spreadsheet Template from The Wardrobe Inventory Workbook

Since I’m in the middle of a move, building the rest of my wardrobe inventory spreadsheet will have to wait. But I know that I have my visual inventory to jog my memory. 

Here are a couple photos of what my very simple photographic closet inventory looks like & the beginnings of my wardrobe inventory spreadsheet.

The beauty of a wardrobe inventory is that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective, you can customize it in any way that works for you. 

That’s why one of the first steps is deciding what you want to use your wardrobe inventory to tackle. You might find you only need a gallery of photos. But you also might find that a highly customized spreadsheet is exactly what you need. (Or you might find both.)

If building a wardrobe inventory sounds intriguing, take a look at The Wardrobe Inventory Workbook here, and see if it’s right for you.

Or keep reading:

And if you want to see a follow up when I get to creating my wardrobe inventory spreadsheet, or have any questions about how to inventory your closet ask them here.