As part of my recent resolution to simplify my life, I spent a week (yes, a week) cleaning out my clothes closet.  It’s quite a sizable closet (I’m now realizing), but I couldn’t get into the back half due to all the (..ahem!) stuff on the floor.  My poor husband’s clothes are relegated to the spare bedroom closet, otherwise he’d only have one outfit to wear.

On the weekend I hauled twelve bags and boxes to the Goodwill store containing not only clothing but shoes, purses, hair care appliances, blankets and lots of other miscellaneous stuff.  I also tossed out quite a lot of worn and torn items and old bath and personal care products.

Why was I holding on to so much stuff?

I haven’t worked in an office for several years and I don’t really plan to have a “dress up” job again.  I’ve also gained a pound or two recently but I don’t ever intend to wear my previous size 2 or 3 again.  Even though I really liked my suits and other accessories they have no present or future value to me any more.

Then there were all the items that I probably could wear now but they didn’t look right or fit right, or pair up with anything, or were so old that I’d even out-retro the retro look!  Some things I didn’t even recognize.  Did someone break into my house and use my closet as a dumping spot?

People tend to hang on to clothing for a variety of reasons:

  • It was expensive or was a gift
  • It represents a special time in your life (wedding, first date)
  • It will look perfect once you find something to go with it
  • Yo-yo dieting requires several sizes to always be on hand
  • You might have an occasion to wear it in the future (bridesmaid dress)
  • Or, it’s just too overwhelming to go through everything

Go on a Fashion Fast

A lot of people care too much about what others think about what they wear.  They tend to buy a lot of clothes and try to always be up to date in fashion styles.  Do you remember what you wore last week?  Unless your photo regularly appears in People magazine, I’m sure no one else remembers either.

I read an article about a woman who went on a self-imposed fashion fast, allowing herself to wear only six items for an entire month.  The most shocking result of her four-week experiment was that no one noticed, not even her husband.

She got the idea from the website Six Items Or Less.  An even stricter program called The Great American Apparel Diet has convinced participants to abstain from buying clothes for an entire year.

Even with my recent closet purge, I’m certainly not down to six items and I wouldn’t consider going to that extreme.  I’m happy to know that the items I have are things that fit and that I like.

From now on I won’t buy something on impulse or just because it’s on sale.  Being half price shouldn’t be a product’s best feature.  I won’t buy anything unless I try it on first and it fits and feels comfortable.  I’ll choose good quality over quantity and take care of my clothes so they will last, and toss anything that gets shabby or worn out.

What’s in your closet?

I know some people may think I’m weird, but I like to go to my closet occasionally (often, in fact) and admire how tidy and organized it is now.  I can find what I want and I don’t have to fear an avalanche of sweaters falling on my head any more.

What’s the condition of your closet?  Is it overstuffed?  Do you wear 20% of the clothes you own, while 80% simply takes up space?  Are you overwhelmed by what is lurking behind your closet doors?  Could you choose six items that would hold you for an entire month?  Could you go a year without buying anything new?

I’m just about ready to start working on all my other closets and chests of drawers.  My husband better watch out or he’ll be down to his one outfit again.

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