I see the irony in me talking about my closet cleanse as I wait for my Black Friday haul to arrive literally any minute now. But trust me, there’s a method to my madness. A week ago, while sitting in the last surviving empty spot of my bedroom floor, I was consumed by the sudden and very rare urge to clean out my closet.
Though I may never know what brought on this sudden need for order and clarity, the simple act of assessing my closet made me realise something about myself which I found to be true for many others as well: we don’t always know when to let go.
Knowing What You Need
The idea of identifying what you need seems simple enough in theory, but when you’ve rationalised keeping that cute dress you wore to your friend’s 21st birthday just because, you know something’s gotta give. Shifting your mindset in this sense can be tough, and it’s normal to feel uncomfortable while trying to throw out something you’ve convinced yourself holds value. But one thing I’ve learnt from this experiment is this: not all reasons are good reasons.
Being able to get rid of all the clutter, if even for a moment, gives you the chance to understand what it is you truly need–wardrobe related or not. Be it a good pair of jeans, a basic white tee, some downtime for yourself or a new project that excites you. Don’t get caught up with the “I shoulds” of the situation, and just take a moment to identify what it is that actually adds value to your wardrobe and your life.
Detox In Doses
Like I said, having a closet cleanse is tough, especially if you’ve attached some value to the pieces you own. Case in point, a shredded denim midi I’d found at the bottom of a pile of barely-worn clothes that I’d held on to for 9 years now. It’s survived multiple rounds of Chinese New Year spring cleanings, and at some point, I’d convinced myself that this heinous article of clothing would somehow come back into style.
But sometimes, if not most, the 6th, 7th or 8th time is the charm. Just ‘cause your first closet cleanse wasn’t as drastic and self-improving as you’d expected, it doesn’t mean that you’re not destined to get it together. It may have taken me 9 years to part with this particular piece, but the point was that I did, and you can too, as long as you keep at it.
Leave The Baggage Behind
We’ve talked about getting rid of impractical parts of our wardrobes but now comes the tricky part: the emotional baggage. Though this may not ring true for all, it’s definitely a point of struggle I’ve heard from multiple friends, and one I used to find hard to deal with as well.
As we go in and out of relationships–platonic or romantic–we rack up collections of gifts, tokens or general memorabilia of our time spent with someone. I’ve always felt a specific sort of guilt when confronted with the thought of throwing out a gift, which explains why I had to empty out drawers full of birthday cards from Primary school classmates I don’t talk to anymore, but I digress.
During my 4 hour endeavour to achieving mental and spatial clarity, I found an old letterman jacket an ex-boyfriend had given me 4 years ago or so. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an ugly jacket, neither does the sight of it bring back any negative emotions–though if something does for you, you should definitely ditch it. I just had no use for it anymore, and I, nor you, should feel guilty for leaving it behind for that very reason.
Less For More
Which brings me to my final, and most important point: you have to have less, to make room for more. I say this not in justification of my aforementioned Black Friday Haul, but the concept works all the same.
We’ve already established that stripping things back helps you clear your mind, and figure out what the essentials you need in your life are. But it’s also important to actually do the difficult thing and make room for newer, better things in your life–and wardrobe of course.
In the simplest sense, there’s only so much room you can make in your closet before everything turns into a heaping mess. Which is often similar to how we approach life—we feel the need to have the most, do the most and be the most, and forget to prioritise things that are the best for us instead.
Having a closet cleanse is an excellent exercise in getting to know what suits you, and your personal style. There’s no rights or wrongs in the matter, but more of discovering what sits best with you at that point in your life. So as we step into the final month of 2018, here’s to a cleaner and brighter year ahead!