Cleaning Out My Closet

When I lived in Hollywood, I had a massive closet. We’re talking one wall in my very large room completely dedicated to clothes. My closet was so big it could have its own zip code. I loved every morning waking up and seeing my many, many, many clothing options. Yet, I never had anything to wear so I spent almost every weekend procuring more clothes.

When my boyfriend and I toured the house we currently live in, the leasing agent pointed out the “spacious” closets which were a mere thumbprint to the closet I had in my current place. “I’ll make do.” I said to myself and immediately put in rental application.

While moving, I cleared out about four trash bags of clothes that went straight to Goodwill. After we moved in, I donated another two bags. Throughout the year and a half of living in our home, I have cycled through at least 3-4 bags of clothes to donate. I’ve always been a shameless thrift store addict and I am constantly buying cheap clothes and then throwing them out. After watching Jessica Scott’s TEDx talk, I knew I had to make a change.

Last Sunday I made the move to clear out my closet. I went through each piece and asked myself the following questions:

  • Does this skirt/dress/blouse/etc give me joy?
  • Do I feel excited to wear this item?
  • Do I feel good while wearing this item?

If the answer was “no” it went straight into the donation pile.

The one thing I noticed while sorting through my endless assortment of clothing was the different memories I tied to each item of clothing. I came across a sweater that I wore to my Upright Citizens Brigade Improv 101 Graduation four years ago, I found a dress that I wore to my cousin’s wedding in 2008, I found my Decemberists concert t-shirt from when I saw them in Columbus in 2006. That same T-shirt sparked one of the first conversations I had with one of my best friends from college. (It probably went like this: Her :”I love The Decemberists” Me: “Me too, they’re like my favorite band.” Her: “we should totally be friends” Me: “Yeah, Fo’ Sho”)

Ahh, The Decemberists. Lifestyles Pavillion, Columbus Ohio, November 2006. Whatta night.

Although I had all of these great memories, the truth was that the Improv sweater never fit well, the wedding dress was terribly out of style, and I have put on about 15 pounds since I first got that Decemberists shirt, so it is incredibly small on me today.

I put all of my clothes into piles and begin to tally them up. Here was the result

CLOTHES DONATED/PURGED FROM MY POSSESSION

  • 26 Dresses
  • 15 Blouses
  • 15 Sweaters
  • 13 Skirts
  • 12 T-Shirts – This was the hardest because I had to part with so many great band t-shirts and some of my favorite old college t’s that were just way too small
  • 10 Pairs of Pants

TOTAL OF 91 ITEMS

CLOTHES KEPT

  • 4 Blazers
  • 27 Blouses
  • 15 Sweaters/Sweatshirts
  • 25 Dresses
  • 8 Skirts
  • 7 Pairs of Pants
  • 4 Jackets
  • 13 Camisoles/Tanks
  • 3 Bathing Suits
  • 19 T-Shirts
  • 2 Flannels
  • 5 Pairs of Shorts
  • 3 Athletic/Yoga Pants
  • 2 Pajamas

TOTAL LEFT IN MY CLOSET: 137 ITEMS

I was able to purge nearly 40% of my wardrobe. I’m hosting a little clothing giveaway during lunch at work tomorrow, whatever isn’t taken will be donated.

My cat, Dr. P, helping sort through the purge pile

My goal through this exercise to is to build a more mindful closet of clothing that consists of a small amount of high quality pieces that can be worn again and again. I’m clearly not at that point right now but it’s baby steps for the time being.

The day after I did the purge I found myself in a bit of shock. It kind of felt like when you have really long hair and you decide to chop it off then the next morning you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t really recognize the person staring back at you. I found myself thinking that I didn’t have anything to wear. I told myself to suck it up because there are still over 130 items of clothing to chose from so there is definitely something to wear. As the week went on, I found it easier and easier to get dressed. I also found it incredibly refreshing to have an organized closet once again.

This experiment is ongoing. I’m looking forward to seeing what life will be like with less clothes. My guess it will be about the same, maybe less costly.

Have you tried minimizing your wardrobe? Was it easy for you?

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