Jan 23, 2012

Why Do You Keep All Those Clothes?

Considering that I wear only a few favorite outfits each season, I have to wonder what my attachment is to all the other items in the closet, not to mention the seven large tubs of clothing stored elsewhere.

Yes, we have four seasons in Michigan, so I can justify keeping more clothing than say if we were living in San Diego (where the average temperature is a beautiful 72 degrees all year.)  And I could justify the seven tubs if I actually wore the clothing I've been hording. But honestly, some of it hasn't seen the light of day in 10 years. A decade!  Really?

It's definitely time to purge again.

You may have a similar closet scenario. I have to warn you about what you already know - it's not easy letting go of clothes you've been emotionally attached to for a decade.  But if you're ready to rip off the Bandaid, it's super liberating.  And if you just cant imagine the feeling that a good clothes purging provides, think of weight being lifted from your shoulders, the freedom of flight, etc.  Yeah.  It's that good.

Below are some bullet points of what I did to my clothes cache. Try one or two of them.  I promise you won't regret it.  If you can go whole hog, prepare for closet nirvana!
  • TOO BIG - Do you want to gain weight, or do you plan on using those maternity clothes again? Why hang on to them? Unless you are a person who needs to put on a few pounds, keeping clothing too big is like giving yourself permission to NOT eat more healthy and NOT exercise.  It is fall-back position most of us don't want or need.
  • TOO SMALL - Are you realistically going to lose two or three sizes before all those clothes are out of style?   Let's say you get back down to that size you were in high school - chances are your shape will have changed just enough so that even the most classic cuts will not fit your body the way it used to.  I kept one size below what I wear now (because I'm currently losing weight and almost ready for that size.)  I did keep a couple of items that are two sizes below for inspiration only.  If by some spectacular miracle I actually wear them again, I will have officially entered a hotness of physical fitness I thought I'd never see again. :)
  • WRONG COLOR - If it doesn't do anything to lift your spirits or complement your complexion, let someone benefit from it by donating it.
  • NOT A GOOD FIT  - If you find yourself tugging, pulling, pinning, taping, re-buttoning, gapping, etc. this item of fussy clothing is doing you no favors.  Either put it in the mending pile if it can be saved, or get rid of it.  It may be a beautiful blouse in your current size, but all anyone will notice is that your bra is playing peekaboo. Is that the kind of attention you want? 
  • WAY OUT OF STYLE - Dated clothing makes you look older and out of touch. While it's true that styles reappear, the cut and length will change to an updated, modern twist. Changes also occur in the types of cloth, material designs and colors. That leisure suit from 1970 (and everything from the 80's) is good for a costume and that's about it.  Say goodbye!
  • WORN AND TIRED - if frayed, faded, pilled and limp describes any of your clothing, why not retire it?  Some items can find a new use, for example in the rag bin, or the yard work/painting clothes category. But even here, you don't need an overabundance.  Like Moses said to Pharaoh: "Let them go."
  • EXPENSIVE/GREAT SALE ITEM BUT NEVER WORN - Most of us do it. We spend money because it was a great deal, or perhaps we allowed ourselves a splurge  . . . . but for some reason it never gets worn.  If you haven't touched it in a year, it's time to admit it wasn't a good purchase and let someone else benefit from your mistake.  (Dust on the shoulders is a good indication you can give this to charity.)
  • TOO MUCH TROUBLE - If you find yourself liking but not wearing an item because you don't want to iron it/dry clean it/brush off pet hair that is magically drawn to it, throw it in the donate pile. This is a high maintenance item taking up valuable real estate in your closet.  Be strong.  You can do it.
Emotional attachment to clothes is pretty common. And, without embarrassment, I'm guilty of hanging onto to clothing too long as well. But like me, eventually you may get tired of making space for things you don't wear. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and apply a couple of the suggestions above. And if you really can't handle it alone, call me or a professional organizer in your area to help you see it through.  It's so worth it!