Back in December, I cleaned out my closet and got rid of 65% of what was in there. Sixty-five percent! It was a big undertaking but I’m so glad that I did it! Because it felt so good, I wanted to share the experience for those looking to purge!
The first thing I did was read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingI by Marie Kondo. This helped me mentally prepare and provided a set of solid rules to go by. So many excellent tips!
The second task was enlisting the help of a girlfriend who I knew could help me get the job done. The key is finding the right friend. Someone who—besides the willingness to help—provides moral support, is practical, non-judgmental (hey, we all have embarrassing things in our closet!), has a taste level that you can trust, and is good about getting rid of things. I had the help of my girlfriend Drew who I owe a big thank you to – BIG THANK YOU, DREW (<–if you aren’t familiar with her and her jewelry line, DYLANLEX, please do yourself a favor and get acquainted)!
From my experience, I found that this friend really serves as a mirror. Once we got started, I knew exactly what I should or shouldn’t keep based on the level of embarrassment I felt before showing her the item (read: self judgement). The mortification manifested for different reasons: some items were just FUGLY, others I hadn’t worn in years, and then of course there were the absurdities like that one Phillip Lim dress I couldn’t wear a bra with but without a bra ALWAYS scratched my nipple (ouch! what was I thinking?). There were many more impractical reasons to hold onto things (sentimental attachments excluded) and debating them with someone who was completely detached emotionally was extremely helpful.
As we cleaned, we did 3 other things that helped the process:
1. Piles were separated into: fix (ex: jeans that needed to be shortened, boots that needed repair, etc.), giveaways to friends/family, donations and sell.
I had a few piles for each category and labeled them clearly so that piles didn’t co-mingle. For example, giveaways to my mom, sister, etc. Donations for Goodwill, Dress for Success, the women’s shelter. And sell to TheRealReal, Wasteland, Crossroads.
After the clean out was complete, I tackled folding and bagging up the piles then carried them up to my car. The only items that remained were for The Real Real which I tried to editorially merchandise to make items more appealing to the buyer coming to my house.
2. For the clothing I was keeping, we hung on unified hangers (like these) facing the same direction, arranged by section and color coded.
3. We made a shopping list of things that needed replacements (ex: a new black cashmere sweater to replace the pilled one we gave away).
So, how did it feel to purge more than half my closet? To be honest, the initial feeling was ANXIETY. My closet looks empty! Did I get rid off too much? What was I going to wear? Should I have held onto ‘insert 20% of the items I gave away here’?
The anxiety lasted for a few days until it became very clear that getting dressed in this streamlined environment was a much more simplified process. I wasn’t bogged down by excess clutter. Those once jam-packed racks filled with items that I held onto for all sorts of impractical reasons were now lean and hanging with pieces I genuinely enjoyed wearing. It was a game-changer and getting ready has never been easier!