Making The Cut

26 Apr

white skirt, printed navy blouse, red cardigan

Skirt: Thrifted (handmade), Shirt: Banana Republic, Sweater: Wal-Mart, Shoes: Payless

Today’s outfit is made up of three of the very few pieces that survived my massive closet clean out this month. Not surprisingly, all three of these items were purchased within the last few months. Going through my closet with a fine toothed comb brought many revelations about myself and my personal style that I never imagined de-cluttering could do. Like every other woman out there, I’d curated quite a collection of hits and misses over the years. But from every phase of my life there were some particular pieces that I had held on to, whether they fit or not, and more importantly whether looking at them made me feel happy or not. There are some articles of clothing that just make me giddy to look at (like the navy blue pyjamas I wore right after both my kids were born), and others that make me sick to my stomach (the olive-green pencil skirt that hasn’t fit me since my first pregnancy in 2004.)

The million dollar question of course is, why do we  hang on to those negative associations? Why not just purge them out of our lives? I’m sure that I’m not alone in my struggle to donate clothing with an emotional attachment, but somehow that didn’t make me feel better when approaching the big closet purge. Now that I’ve made it through to the other side, here are my tips for cleaning out your closet and starting with a clean slate:

1. Go through every piece in your wardrobe, and take your time:

This may go against traditional wisdom and everything that I’ve ever seen on HGTV organizing shows, but I really took my time. Over the course of three weeks I tried on every piece of clothing in my closet. Then I looked at it from different angles, even tried it with different shoes, to make sure I really loved it. Sometimes I even wore something around the house for an hour or two to see how it felt “in action”. This probably seems very extreme to some of you, but for me it was a necessity. I’m determined to fill my home only with things I absolutely love, so the acceptance procedure was quite rigorous.

2. Give away the “easy” pieces:

During the sorting process I started two piles; definitely give away, and should giveaway. The first pile was easy-peasy. Things that don’t fit, I didn’t like anymore, or looked way to worn to wear in public (does that make sense?) This is where most of my shrunken tees and really bad footwear choices ended up. I had no problem giving these away.

3. Tackle the emotions:

This is where it get’s ugly. I’m not the kind of person that attaches sentiment to things. However, I do attach  guilt to things. And it’s not just guilt; it’s makes you sick to your stomach, all-consuming, serious, massive guilt. For example; the dress I bought for way too much 6 years ago and only wore once, or the pink blazer I bought for full retail because it was so pretty and never wore. Every time I look at a purchase like that and think about getting rid of it I’m overcome by guilt. This painful feeling that if I hadn’t bought that item I could have got something for the kids, or we could have gone to Disneyland, all the while knowing how crazy that thought is. And this is the point where I usually give up and walk away.

Luckily, that’s not how it ended this time. As I was trying to squeeze all of those “guilty” clothes into my tiny closet I had an AHA! moment. Over the last 4 years we’ve had to move 5 times for various reasons, and every time we moved, I packed, carried, unpacked, and wrestled with this guilt everywhere we went. Now that we’ve made the decision to stay where we are until we buy a home of our own it seems ridiculous to give precious space to such a horrible feeling. And just like that, it became easy to give away all those impulse buys, pre-baby dresses, and just plain ugly clothes. (To see how much stuff I gave away click here)

4. Put it all away:

Before you run out and buy an expensive organizer and loads of little bins, just put away what you have left and live with it for a few days. I did end up buying some better hangers for my pants and skirts but other than that I haven’t done anything major. Just by grouping like items together and clearing out the unnecessary fillers, my closet has become more functional and approachable.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of the ideas I’ve put in to place for organizing specific items. Before that though, I’ll be posting next week about the new “shopping list” that I’ve started to create after assessing my current wardrobe inventory.

If you’ve found this post helpful, or if you have any questions please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


14 Responses to “Making The Cut”

  1. Twirly Skirts April 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    this outfit is adorable! love the bright jacket against the white!

  2. Jenn May 5, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    I clean out my closet at least twice a year. I love it! Plus I consign so then I have money to go shopping for new stuff. You are so right though… you have have have to try EVERYTHING on! How many of us are guilty of hanging on to things that might fit one day… ugh… when in doubt throw it out!


    • rajthandhi May 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Twice a year sounds like a good plan, I obviously left my closet clean out for too long! I would like to try consigning or selling my old clothes next time. This time I was just to scared that if I kept them around for too long I’d change my mind and let them back in.

  3. Fashion Limbo May 10, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    cleaning out one’s wardrobe is a great thing to do. I try to do it as regularly as I can, but it’s hard work, that’s for sure, it takes a lot of time, once you start you can’t just leave it there and not finish, and it also takes courage, as some items end up being kept because they have a certain emotional value.


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