Practical tips on how to declutter your closet and achieve the ideal wardrobe
Spring is in the air. The earth wakes up for new life and we look for new ways to stay stylish, beautiful, in harmony with the blossoming world around us. Spring is traditionally the season to clean and clear the house. For many of us it is also time to clean up the wardrobe. Out with the old, in with the new. Just like the nature around us. In this article we would like to share some tips from our own spring clean up of the wardrobe.
First things first: the motivation
Before you even start throwing away clothes ask your self why are you starting this. And give yourself an honest answer. It might sound like a phony step, but it is an important one. Getting your motives right is vital for the success of this challenging endeavour. Some popular reasons to start a closet clear-out are:
- I can’t manage my closet. Read: there is too much stuff for me to be able to handle.
- I have enough clothes but still I have nothing to wear. Read: most of my clothes are not to my taste, don’t fit, don’t pass my lifestyle or I have just no idea how to style them.
- I don’t have space for everything I own. Read: the items are falling off the shelves.
- I don’t want to own so many clothes any more. Read: I would like to make time and space in my life for something more important.
After you’ve made it clear in your head WHY are you doing it you are much better equipped to handle it successfully. So, let’s start.
Then, the easy stuff.
Give yourself a kick start by getting rid of the items that clearly need to be thrown away: anything that
- doesn’t fit any more;
- is worn out to the extent of being a disgrace to put on;
- is hopelessly out of fashion and can’t be called a “classic”
- you are sure you will not put on any more no matter what.
Next, the harder work.
Depending on what you own, step one might or might not have shrunk your wardrobe size significantly. In any case, you are still left with items you are not sure what to do with. At this point your motivation comes-in handy. You will have to remind yourself WHY you are doing the closet clean-out and this way give yourself courage to go on.
So, you look at the biggest pile of items, for which the answer whether to throw away is “maybe”. How do you decide?
I WILL wear that vs. I CAN wear that
How do you feel about this item? Do you keep it because you “might” wear it or is it because you will definitely wear it? Will you wear it 20, 30 times in the future or do you keep it because you MIGHT put it on for a given event/occasion?
Being able to make the difference between what you actually wear and find a great joy in wearing vs. what you COULD wear given the right occasion, weather etc. is a powerful skill. Your author caught herself keeping multiple items for “special occasions” like going to the ballet, attending school celebrations for her kids and a few more.
How many times have I gone to the ballet last year? 2 or 3. How many school celebrations are per year? 1 or 2. How many items for them? 20!! It is clear that the arithmetic is not correct here.
Keeping it for the wrong reasons
Many times we were triggered into buying something for reasons different than our need or desire to wear the item. Some popular ways how this happens are:
- We saw it on someone else and we loved it not asking ourselves if it actually fits our wardrobe and our style.
- We saw it on someone we admire or identify with but again, did not consider whether it actually fits into our life.
- It cost a lot of money to buy, so thrashing it feels like a total loss. (It already is).
- We like to own it because its exceptionally beautiful.
- It invokes associations with a place, person, character, movie, event etc.
Let’s take a minute to reflect on those reasons. Just because a long dress looks good on Giselle Bundchen doesn’t mean it looks smashing on us or that we love to wear long dresses for that matter. Sticking to the pair of shorts that you saw on Taylor Swift won’t make you a famous singer.
Besides, what do you prefer: to have clothes that make you feel like yourself and you wear every day vs. having the place taken by an item, which you’d wear 2 times a year to feel as someone else?!
Even the most expensive item is pointless if it doesn’t serve you. Concentrate on the fact that thrashing it is one-time loss while keeping it without wearing it is accumulating looses over time. Buying semi-precious drop earrings because they look fantastic is pointless if you have nowhere to wear them. Keeping the shirt that the main character wore in the movie which you watched on your first date with your husband would better be replaced by a photo, given the shirt is not worn and you don’t actually like it.
Mind the count
You wear white t-shirts? Great! Is this a valid reason to keep 20 of them? Do you wear white tees only? Even if you do, how fast does a white t-shirt wears out and needs to be replaced? Even if you’ve stopped buying new jeans/sweatshirts etc. storing a crazy amount of them because you actually wear them is pointless. You might change your mind. You might change taste. And you might not live for 300 years to wear them all out. Even if you do, there surely be something appropriate to buy if the need strikes.
It doesn’t do any harm to keep it after all
I have space, why not keep it? It’s not such a big deal if I wear it or not, why dwell on that question now? Well, that’s a BIG catch. Actually it does harm if you keep it but you don’t wear it. Because it blocks your mind, your space, your imagination for what you actually would wear. Unfortunately one has first to go through this to realize it. Before you’ve actually cleared out the unused items you will always think there is no difference. There is a HUGE difference but you will discover that only after you’ve kicked the unused stuff out. Before that, you’d just have to trust that it makes a difference. And you will live to see that it does.