Letting go is never easy. This holds true for jobs that provide us with stability, relationships that make us feel safe, or the excessive amount of clothing that sits wastefully in our closets. Over the last decade or so, I’ve accumulated a ton of clothing that hasn’t been worn in years and some still with tags on! I know a lot of you can relate. We all want to declutter, hope to wear more than 10% of our closets, and know that we should do something about our wasteful ways. However, it’s not that easy to turn our ‘wants’, ‘hopes’, and ‘shoulds’ into action – I know because I just went through this daunting task myself.
On a Saturday morning, I decided to just dive right in. I cleared out EVERYTHING from my two stuffed closets and explosive chest of drawers. It felt liberating…until I saw that my entire room looked like it was hit by a tornado. It was a sudden and overwhelming realization of “Oh no…what have I gotten myself into”.
I turned to Google for help and started reading other blogs and articles on how one should go about this. Apparently, I was supposed to make a YES, MAYBE, and NO pile – so I did. My YES pile included my go-tos and frequently worn pieces. It also included some pleasant surprises I found that had gotten lost / forgotten in my whirlwind of a closet. My NO pile consisted of the “what I was thinking?” or “this looks like it was made for a child” items. However, majority of my items ended up in the MAYBE category which I assume is a common challenge when clearing out our closets. So here’s how I dealt with what was in my MAYBE pile:
1. What if this comes back in style?
We’ve all seen fashion trends resurface. Case in point – high-waisted jeans.
Here’s what I did: I asked myself, if this trend came back in style after 5 years, would I (me, personally) still be into it? Would I still wear those extra low-rise jeans from high-school if they came back in style today? No. Definitely not. Reality is, after establishing some understanding of our personal styles and preferences, we don’t usually evolve or adapt to the same clock as fashion.
2. Aw my university hoodie and my kick-ass collection of band tees!
Yes – we all have those pieces that are just too sentimental to get rid of. For me, it was primarily my extensive collection of rock band tees that each reminded me of a particular concert or memory in time.
Here’s what I did: allowed myself 1 small dedicated drawer to keep my most memorable pieces. This dedicated space forced me to prioritize my most prized possessions and kept me disciplined.
3. These smaller sized items are going to push me to lose weight.
We often keep clothing that no longer fits because we think it will motivate us to make healthier choices. Truth is – we cannot use material objects that will sit in the back of our closet as inspiration to create change.
Here’s what I did: tried each questionable piece on and moved it to the NO pile if it didn’t fit. I also took some time to accept that my body has changed, and set fitness goals in something I actually look at daily (i.e. journal). Remember - you are beautiful and all the motivation you need to make positive changes lies within you (but that’s a whole other blog!).
Everything else I still had in my MAYBE pile, I brought to the Fresh Fashion Library. It was an easy way to de-clutter but still allowed me with the option to have my items back if I needed them. Update: it’s been 3 months and I have taken 0 items back.
Here are my closets and drawers before the huge clear-out:
And this is after!
We are in a constant state of consumption because we feel that it will lead to more fulfilling lives. I’m learning that abundance isn’t defined by the number of items I have in my closet. There is greater freedom and clarity that lie beyond letting go of past possessions that no longer serve us. Clearing out my closet has not only made me feel lighter and happier, it has also saved me a lot of time in getting dressed everyday. I still have a long way to go but I hope my progress so far motivates you to join me in kick-starting your journey as well.