I’ve been going through my closet. I know I’ve mentioned it before but usually every Autumn and Spring I do a once over, get rid of things I haven’t worn or that are getting old and bring the bags to goodwill. Recently – prior to going through my closet – I read an article about being organized and – for those of you that think I’m compulsive, there are far, far worse culprits out there!! A woman my age decided to put a piece of masking tape on every article of clothing she owned (by pulling off the tape, she knew she’d worn it – accountability). She then had a project where she had to wear everything she owned – mostly clothes for work – and decide what she’d keep. Interesting….. It’s amazing what we keep for sentimental reasons, because we like it but it doesn’t fit us correctly, etc… So minus the tape, I’ve been doing the same thing with clothing and shoes. The Birkenstock’s I got when I was a Jr in high school but haven’t actually worn in well over ten years?? Gone. The jacket I adored from a friend who bought it in Paris but didn’t fit me AT ALL? Gone. It’s taken a couple weeks instead of an hour and it’s been not only cathartic but less difficult than I imagined once I really got started.
First step – I went through like I always do. Pulled the things I knew I didn’t want. Fast, easy, no big deal.
Second step – most difficult in the purging – try things on, put combinations together, start wearing things to work. Sometimes when I actually put something on and thought about walking out the door with it I’d take it off and put it in the bag instead of back in my closet. It was itchy, it didn’t fit well, it made me feel uncomfortable, etc… I liked the clothing but it didn’t like me back. No matter the sentimental value, the replacement cost (I love a good deal!) or how pretty it looked on the hangar, it was gone. It was far more difficult than I imagined to part with “stuff” but I realized that I have so much and I actually wear so little of it. The fun part of this stage was mixing things up, wearing different outfits and gauging people’s reactions. A friend at work and I talked about my project and – not only is she now doing it – she gives me honest feedback on what she thinks. I’ve worn some items that go directly into the bag when I get home. Honestly, I had forgotten I even owned some things and it’s been like a mini Christmas finding treasures.
Third step (and the most fun) – inviting all my girls into my bedroom to have a try on party. They instigated this stating “Mom, you need help”. Huh… Now that I’ve narrowed things down I’m struggling. Am I too old to wear it now that I’m in my 40’s?? Does it look good enough to keep? Is it stuck in a time warp?? Not only was this fun – we were ALL trying things on – but it was surprising. 5 kids ages 10-16 and myself in panties…. Epic. This put me at 2 – 13 gallon garbage bags of shoes and 3 of clothes. Still, I have a full closet.
Fourth step – easy again. I’ve purged, I’ve tried on, I’ve pared things back. I realize I like classics with a funky twist, I don’t mind showing a little leg (running is such a good thing for legs!) or a little cleavage. I like layering, I like having fun and I dress based mostly on my mood. Now that there is FAR less in my closet, I’m looking at a few things and realizing I just don’t care if they’re there. So the final bag is sitting there slowly collecting the last donations. I didn’t keep it to my closet though. I also went through every drawer (including my entire dresser dedicated to running/exercise clothes), my bras, panties, socks, jeans. EVERYTHING!!!
Fifth step – Relief. Purging is a good thing. I know what I like so why keep what I don’t? Now I’m done cleaning out and I’m making a list. I want to make sure I have the basics and they’re good quality. The 6 pairs of $5 leggings I have in my drawer can go and maybe just one really nice pair. White, fitted, super soft V-neck t-shirt for layering (I have the other colors but white and armpit stains need to go). Leather pencil skirt. It feels good to do a reinvention of yourself through the closet!!