Clearing the Clutter

Cable knit sweaters, tall boots, and layered looks…ahhh the
wonderful wardrobe options that fall and my fashion Bibles Elle, Bazaar, and
Vogue September issues bring!  Most of us
are constantly adding new pieces of clothing to our closets but how often do we
weed through the used and abused and remove them from the masses?

It’s time to rid of the old to make room for the new.  Since we all don’t have Madonna sized walk-in closets, I believe that twice a year, it is necessary to spend a few hours with your closeted loved ones and bid farewell to the misfits and well worn that might have overstayed their welcome.

While watching the Today Show last week, fashion expert and author of I Have Nothing to Wear, Jill Martin suggested that women search through their belongings and dispose of at least 75% of their wardrobe. 75%!!!
For those of you who might be secret closet hoarders, 75% is probably a
good suggestion and necessary amount; however, I thought about what my closet
would look like if I disposed that much of it and found her suggestion to be
too much for me.  Jill stated that there is a bonus of eliminating such a large amount of clothing. With all that you part with, you are then, able to restock with fresh, in-season merchandise!  My sensibility started to kick in at that moment when I thought about just how much money restocking my only 25% full closet would be.  And truth be told, I don’t dislike, don’t use, or really need to rid of ¾ of my look. Therefore, in my opinion, an average individual who cleans their closet at least once a year, need only to recycle anywhere from 25%-50% of closet (the percentage decreases the more you clear the clutter).

Now on to the de-cluttering…

We all tend to develop sentimental attachment to our clothing (i.e. why some women spend obscene amounts of money on their wedding dress). This is mainly due to the memories we have when we’re wearing them whether it be numerous compliments on how great you look in a particular shirt or heartwarming flashback you have when you step into an old pair of jeans.  Nevertheless there will come a time when it doesn’t fit properly anymore or has been “loved” so much that it needs to be retired.

This week while cleaning out my own belongings, I found it difficult to make cut throat decisions on whether or not to discard of some items. So, I created 3 little piles; a pile for keepers, a pile for those leaving my closet for good, and a pile for the things that I was undecided on.  I found that by putting these things in a
separate pile allowed me to think it over again and really focus my attention
on what needed to stay and what needed to go.  There comes a time when you’re going to really contemplate on giving something away but it’s important to take a step back and be honest with yourself. Are you really going to wear that shirt again? Or did you just pay too much for it, only wear it once, and therefore don’t want to let it go? Cut your losses and clear up some space.

Some basic rules to go by:

1.  If you haven’t worn it in a year or more – it’s time to bid it adieu.  Face the harsh reality that as much as you love the garment, it can be better appreciated by someone else.

2. If it’s stained, holy, or torn – toss it in the “Bye bye” bag.  We’ve all bought items that were one triple clearance because of a tiny hole we knew we could fix with a needle and thread; however, if it hasn’t been fixed yet, or has a stain that is irremovable, get rid of it!

3. If it has had a well worn life, and you can visibly see that – give it a purple heart for bravery and let go. This goes for shoes as well. I once kept around a pair of heels that I wore more times than I can remember but none of which were in the past few years. After looking at their sad soles, I reminisced about the good times we shared and gently put them in the donate pile.

After you have your 3 piles narrowed down to 2 (keepers and those who didn’t make the cut) it’s time to pack them in your car and rid them from your house for good.  There are a few different options you can do with the items you’re giving up.  As always, you can take them to the nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army and donate your wonderful things so that others may enjoy them at ridiculously low prices, you can donate them to your best friends for free, or you can take your lightly worn items that are still in very good shape to a local consignment shop where they will then re-sell them and you reap a percentage of the profits!  The last option won’t give you enough money to re-stock your closet with the goods now gone, but it will help in mending the pain of them leaving your home forever (and support a new pair of jeans, most likely, which also helps).

So get to it! Spend one afternoon de-cluttering your closet and your life and prepare yourself for the wonderfully bulky sweaters, chic hats, and fashionable coats for fall!

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