I do a pretty good job of asking myself if I've worn something in the last two years and giving it the heave-ho if not. I keep a bin in my closet and one in my mudroom of clothes to donate to a local charity. This keeps me from becoming a clutter-bug.
My friend had recently tried Marie Kondo's brand of de-cluttering, that takes it much further than that. Have you heard of her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up?
It is a #1 NYT Bestseller and has sold about a zillion more copies than mine has.
Although I haven't read it yet myself, I have heard about how it challenges you to think about the purpose of each item and also consider whether it brings you joy. It is ruthless and NO ITEM escapes judgment.
When I looked in my closet last week and saw a bunch of clothes that did not "spark joy," I decided to take action. This is what I found:
- I have a lot of disjointed pieces that don't flatter my figure since I've gained a little weight.
- I have items that look great but do not feel great, such as fitted dress shirts that nip me in at the waist but leave me tugging them down a lot, and shoes that I've only worn once because-- ouch.
- I have many "bargains" from the thrift store that I bought because of their great prices more than for whether they were good colors or cuts for me. When I bought a shirt last week that was identical to one I'd recently donated, I had to ask myself whether my bargain shopping was really that effective.
I gave myself a rubbermaid tub to store sentimental favorites and moved the rest of the discards to garbage bags in the guest room. It seems that JOY might be too strong a criterion, because if I only kept items that "spark joy" my closet would be empty except for the "P is for POOP" t-shirt that Margaret and Tim inexplicably bought for me our first Christmas without Jack and my well-loved pjs and bathrobes.
I changed the criteria to clothes that don't annoy me or perhaps even spark mild contentment. This left me with a few items in each category.
I remember two particular roommates I had, Katie and Beverly. Each had a very tidy closet with a few well-made pieces of clothing in it, while my other roommates and I had closets jammed with clothes for every occasion and eventuality. Floral dresses? Business suits? Workout Wear? Ripped Jeans? Costumes for parties? We had it all. I admired Katie and Beverly's restraint and noted they always looked put together.
I would like to be more like that, even if it means wearing just a few items on repeat. Of course, it will also mean I have finally turned into my mother. She wore the same clothes a lot, but looked good doing it. Turns out she was pretty cutting edge because a lot of female professionals are now toying with the idea of adopting a uniform of sorts.
I'm not sure how my experiment will go.
I felt wasteful taking out so many unworn items, but at least if I donate them, someone else can use them. In my closet they sat unworn. I want to learn from my mistakes and question why I buy clothes that don't look great or that I don't really like. Is it boredom? Is it a desire for something new? I also want to think more about what colors flatter me (burgundy, pink, blue, green) and try to come up with a few good summer looks that can withstand the VA heat and humidity.
I also want to continue to enjoy my local thrift shop, a place that does spark joy for me, without bringing home more duds. Especially ones that I've just donated.
What about you? Is your closet cluttered or stream-lined?