Friday, September 6, 2013

Less is more: Cleaning out my closet

I'm currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. One of her tasks was a major wardrobe downsizing. Between her and (the love of my life) Tsh of SimpleMom, I had heard the phrase "You only wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time."

Considering how my laundry was piling up, I could have probably just gotten rid of anything that wasn't in the laundry basket, since I seem to always look in my closet and have "nothing to wear." But I still decided to take L.'s nap time to reorganize the disaster closet. 

The "nothing to wear" closet.

Ugh, no wonder I felt so helpless when I opened my closet. It was filled with clothes that didn't fit right or clothes I bought because it was cheap but, in actuality, I didn't necessarily like. I went through it twice, including moving all the random skirts to a multiclip hanger finally. 

And, speaking of hangers, I don't know where they all went, but I somehow could never find hangers. Well, that probably won't be the problem now.

After about only an hour, I was done. I had only tried on one thing: my jeans from college. Despite the foggy memories from where the hole in the knee came  (there was wine, there was a camping trip, that's about all one needs to know), I admitted that was the only reason I was really hanging onto them. Once I put them on, it was the first time I had worn low-rise in quite some time. It was awful. I felt very exposed. Look, I'll put up with having the mom jeans look, but you young whippersnappers can keep your low rise and everything that comes with it: Showing your butt-crack, inevitable muffin tops and the feeling your pants are falling down constantly.

No, I am not a giant among small furniture, I'm standing
on the coffee table.
Once everything was taken out I didn't wear, I organized my shirts by color. Apparently, I need to add some more color to my wardrobe. As much as I buy darker clothing, I tend to wear the brighter colors more. So I think I need to work on my shopping habits.

I looked up my "colors," apparently I'm a Clear Summer, according to one website. And, honestly, it's the color palette I'm most drawn to. I'm not sure why I don't buy in those colors and tend to go for the burgundy or blacks. I think because I'm afraid the lighter colors will wash me out.
Now saved in my phone for shopping purposes. I don't
even remember the website from which I got it, unfortunately.

Following my purge, I had three big bags full of clothes. Just from my closet. I shudder to think what I'll find when I go through my drawers, which will happen eventually. I am looking forward to donating those clothes. There's a good chance my wedding dress (yes, I still have it) will be among those piles of clothes I donate.

Some tips:
  • Like grocery shopping, don't do it on an empty stomach. Crabbiness will just make all the clothes seem unappealing.
  • Be honest with yourself. Really, have you worn something within the last year? Even if you do lose the weight to fit into something, will it be in style anymore? If so, at least put it toward the back of the closet so it's not taunting you daily. Take a photo of yourself wearing a "maybe" item and see how it looks from that perspective. (Hence the sad goodbye to the muffin-top making, I'm-too-old-for-a-hole-in-the-knee jeans.) Or, get an honest friend to tell you the peasant top you think is adorable actually gives you no shape whatsoever.
  • Make sure you have something to match what you're keeping. I've had a brown skirt I've been saving for a few years because I could never find the right boots to go with it. I'm pretty pumped I just bought a pair on clearance in July (the perfect time to buy fall boots, I guess) and I didn't have to get rid of my brown skirt.
  • Even if you like it and it fits, is it too much of a hassle to clean or iron? I just got rid of a green shirt I liked a lot, but as I kept washing it, the tiny gatherings on the neck and arms were becoming more and more permanently wrinkled. Ironing wasn't doing the trick, nor was steaming it or hanging it up as soon as it came out of the dryer. It was time to say goodbye.
  • Are you a repurposer or do you sew? I allowed myself to keep a pair of pants that needed a seem redone, a sweater I can turn into mittens via popular Pinterest post, a light hoodie that needed a pocket mended and my favorite black dressy shirt with a tiny hole in the seem. I piled them by the sewing machine, but anything else I wouldn't really wear, even if it was mended, I threw in the bags to be donated.
I've seen the tip of turning all the hangers around and turning them around once you've worn an item. Then get rid of clothes that haven't moved at the end of a certain amount of time. I don't think that would work for me, since I'm very particular about how my hangers and clothes are facing.