January. Wintertime. Is this the time to check your wardrobe for things you can let go? Usually, this is something to do when you change wardrobe in spring or late autumn, but there is actually something to be said to do this when you are still in full swing of using the winter selection.
Before we explore this idea, have a look at this video (less than 2 minutes): you will most likely recognise some of the thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mcu19a5qvTQ
“Ironing? Not now.”
If items in your wardrobe need ironing before wearing, it’s of utmost importance to not only iron them before hanging them, but also to make sure they are hanging properly (or you’ll have to iron again before wearing every single time). Many people don’t iron these items and end up with Srishti’s dilemma: when looking for something nice last minute you’ll only find items that need a bit of tender love and care before you can use them.
“There’s a hole”
After the laundry, drying and ironing, there comes the folding. It pays to spend a moment doing this because not only will it protect your items from crumbling and getting lost, but also it gives you an opportunity to find the things that need repairs.
If you are honest with yourself, there will likely be some items in your wardrobe that fall into these first two categories. What’s the point of keeping these items if you don’t take care of them? It tells you something about how little importance this item has to you. Next time you find one of those items, why not take them out of their hiding place and either deal with them or get rid of them?
“I have nothing to wear with this”
This is – again – a classic comment we hear ourselves saying, in some cases for years on end. This one usually comes up for impulse buys or an orphaned item where the perfect fit has been lost or seen better days. If you have items you believe don’t fit with anything else, and you hear yourself thinking this precise thing, there are two outcomes: either you keep the item and make it match with something else, or you get rid of it and make space for something that matches with what you have!
If you think it’s “too good to throw out”, “has only been worn once” or “is exactly what I like”, ask yourself why you are not wearing it, then!
“Can I hold my breath all day?”
The classic: clothes that don’t fit! The reasons we invent to keep them are legend! “I’ll drop some weight and it will be right as rain” and “it will come into fashion again” are only two of the usual suspects that we conjure up when it comes to deciding what to keep. Unfortunately, those do not really address the issue, do they now?
The problem is that the moment that you try to find something to wear for a particular occasion may not really be the best time to make decision on what to keep, and then we rarely look at our wardrobe with a mind to make cuts.
The way forward
Maybe it’s time to separate “getting ready for an occasion” from “clearing the backlog”: take a while to look at your clothes when you have some time on your hand and you don’t have to worry about finding something specific. Take out the things you wear regularly. Not the ones you IMAGINE yourself wearing regularly, but the items you ACTUALLY have worn lately and/or regularly. That’s your “top selection”.
Now inspect the remainder. You will likely find some stragglers for the top selection, but be careful: remember, you have already made your top selection. Anything you find now that you believe is interesting to keep goes into “second pick”.
In parallel, you may find things you recognise and not having been worn in a long time, damaged or dirty. Those go on the “last stop café” pile: think of this as the place just before the dumpster. If they are not regular items, you have not found the time to fix or clean them, and they have not been worn, maybe it’s time to let go?
You’ll find that many items are hard to assign into those three categories, though: not regularly worn, not quite good enough to make the cut, but not quite decrepit either. Take a good look at what’s left! Those are the items you probably go through every time you look for an outfit and end up not using. You spend time picking them up, considering them and yet you end up wearing something else instead.
Most likely this turns out to be the largest category, too. And that should tell you something about your wardrobe: the things you like most and wear most regularly make up a minority of the items, and there is a lot of stuff you don’t really use. Of course, some things are only used irregularly, and that’s fine, but if you are honest with yourself, much of the rest is not all that useful.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: “do I really want to spend time and energy each time I get dressed to sift through things I am unlikely to wear?” If the answer is “no”, get cracking and slim down that wardrobe.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.