13th March 2020
Have you ever uttered the words, “I have nothing to wear”? I know I used to say this often. I believe I was suffering from ‘closet overwhelm.’ You could be too.
What do I mean by this phrase? It’s the feeling I describe when you open up your closet doors, and there’s just too much stuff. Making a decision, when one is spoiled for choice, is overwhelming. My granddaughter is now 3 years old. If I open up her closet and ask her to select her outfit for the day, she wants to wear everything, and eventually she ends up in a melt-down because, well, that’s just not possible. I have learned to take out 3 outfits, and ask her which one she’d like to wear, and this always works better. She might um and ah for a few seconds, but with her limited choices, the decision is simplified. It works the same way with us!
Marie Kondo has become the Queen of de-cluttering and organisation. She recommends taking everything out of your closet and placing it on your bed so you can see what you have. Often, when we see how much ‘stuff’ we have, we’re overcome with feelings of hopelessness and repulsion. It’s from this place of utter disgust, that we can move more freely, to a place that better serves us. Today though, I’m sharing my own process and not Marie Kondo’s. There might be similarities, but this is what I feel works for me, and hopefully, there’s some practical and prudent nuggets you can glean from me.
My process involves working through my closet, one item at a time. I don’t take everything out. Although I believe this is hugely beneficial, I have, over the past year already streamlined my closet quite a bit, to be able to work one item at a time. As I hold each item in my hands, I picture what outfits I can create using that one piece. I need to have at least three visual pictures. I also make sure the item still fits me. Depending on when you last wore it, you will know without trying it on, if this is so. If it’s an item you haven’t worn in longer than a year, place it on a pile on your bed.
I systematically work through each item. The ones that immediately go back into my closet, are those I love and know I currently wear and enjoy. So I then move on to the pile on my bed. The first thing I do is try each item on individually. If it doesn’t fit, it goes onto a pile on my floor. I don’t keep things that I might wear if I lose weight. However, I do make exceptions if I know I can easily alter the garment. A case in point is a pair of jeans that I loved, but didn’t end up wearing because the waist was too loose on me. I’d seen a hack on YouTube, and decided to try it out on my jeans. What did I have to lose? If it didn’t work, I would have in any case, donated the jeans. It worked, and that pair has become one of my favourites.
Next, I decide one by one, working through the clothing that fits me, whether it actually flatters me, fits into my style or is in good condition still. Clothing that needs mending but still looks great on me, I put in a pile to mend. If I haven’t mended them within a week of sorting out my closet, I either make them into rags or donate them to goodwill. I do not keep things around that add clutter to my home. If it fits me, works with my overall style, and is something I can see myself wearing to create at least three other outfits, I place it back in my closet.
This is a process I repeat on a three monthly basis. My aim is to eventually have far less than what I currently have. Although I’ve bought so much up until last year when my Slow Fashion journey began, the pieces I did buy, were good quality, so I have no fear that my items won’t last. The greater question in my process, has been, “Is this really my style?”
My ultimate goal is to have a closet that is pleasing to the eye when I open it. I want my closet to resemble a beautiful store that I love and enjoy being in. That way, getting dressed everyday will become an even more enjoyable experience. Currently, I have only pieces that fit with my current style – or so I’m telling myself, but I am becoming aware that this is fluid. I know my style, and wearing clothes that don’t fit it, makes me feel like I’m playing dress-up. That might be your thing, and I’m not knocking that, but my style is very classic and understated, with a heavy emphasis on ‘casual.’ If my clothing feels too colourful, too dressy or too overdone, I don’t feel comfortable in it. Comfort for me, doesn’t come so much from the choice of fabric, but from the style of my clothing.
I hope this has been helpful to you. We will all process de-cluttering our closets from different angles, but there are some steps that can be helpful to each of us. By addressing some of them here, I trust you too, will be able to apply a process to your own closet, that will help you de-clutter with ease.