I grew up in a big family.
I am the second born of six kids. When you grow up in a family this size, you don’t have much thats just yours. Everything is shared and handed down and shared again. I never particularly cared about toys, but one thing I did dream of having once I was old enough to make my own money was new clothes. Not hand-me-downs or thrift store stuff…new stuff that I chose. My love for clothes goes back as far as I can remember.
My love for clothes is why I started the process of decluttering with my wardrobe.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the term “capsule wardrobe” right? It’s pretty hip right now. I can hardly scroll through Instagram without someone showing off a new, expensive purchase for their “hashtag capsule wardrobe” or seeing an ad from a clothing company suggesting items to add to your own capsule wardrobe. But incase you live under a social media rock, basically the idea is having a wardrobe comprised of few, high quality pieces that can be mixed and matched and used for a long time, saving you money and closet space. Phew…got it?
Good concept. I love the idea, but part of my goal here was to save money, not to immediately go out and spend on new, nice clothes when my closet doors were literally vomiting out junk from cheap clothing boutiques (and Target sale racks, oh how I love to hate thee). I needed to purge out the junk first to see if I really, truly needed anything to add to my already enormous wardrobe. (Though I really wanted the excuse to buy something expensive and tell myself “no worries, it’s for my #capsulewardrobe”).
So to the closet and dresser I went. The clothes had to meet at least one of the following criteria: I love it, wear it often, or feel great in it. If not toss it. (And by toss it I mean donate it. The people at Goodwill and I are now on a first-name basis). This included things I spent a lot of money on, cheap stuff, gifts (guilt), stuff from my old life (aka career wear, really and truly if I ever go back to a formal office…I’m not going to wear suits from 2011 no matter how frugal I’d like to think I am, ok?).
When I got though all of my clothes, I did it again and got rid of more. The whole process took about two hours, but when I was done, I was left with clothes hanging nicely on hangers that have space between them like a fancy store. Clothes that when I touch them I feel fabric that is soft and appealing to me, colors and prints that energize me and look good on me. No longer are there messy piles of sweatshirts from 2003 on the top shelf threatening to topple over. And you know what, I still remember playing tennis for NPHS in 2003 without the ratty sweatshirt reminding me that I did.
But you know what else I saw in my closet and dresser that I didn’t expect? Clothes I want to wear. Stuff to wear to church, to weddings, on date night, around the house, out with the girls, to the gym. I started to think about the countless hours of my life I’ve spent staring at my huge collection of perfectly acceptable clothes and exclaiming to my poor innocent husband “I have nothing to wear!” Then promptly scrolling through my favorite clothing stores online and ordering a few new things to add some momentary spark to my pile.
By keeping only the things I love, I wear only the things I love. I wash only the things I love, and fold only the things I love, and put away only the things I love. When they wear out, I’ll replace them with an even better version (now here is where I can really justify the nice stuff!). For those of you out there like me who feel like you’re drowning in piles of laundry, you get my excitement here.
This whole process took place about a month ago now and I can honestly say without hesitation that I don’t miss one thing I donated. I’ve gone through my clothes again and gotten rid of even more. Sure, there may be a time in the future where I wish I had something I tossed, but you know what? The lightness I’ve experienced in the actual physical weight of the stuff and the work related to maintaining those clothes is totally worth the risk. When in doubt. Toss it.