October 10, 2013

purge


Urban Outfitters tights I found while I was cleaning

A Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet
I'm not especially sentimental, but every once in a while, I find that my closet is overflowing with the ghosts of hobbies past.  I tend to buy things and then never wear them, because I wear a variation of the same outfit every day.  God knows why I feel the need to buy Native American inspired Target garb, or something that might suit a Midwestern grandmother rediscovering her sexuality.


Sorry for that mental image.

Some day, I will move to a little mountain village in Switzerland, throw away everything I own, and start over.  In the meantime, I like to purge out my closet, try on everything I own, and throw away the things I don't actually need.

I came up with some helpful tips to getting rid of stuff you don't need.  Have fun!

1. Limit your storage options
Pretty self-explanatory.  I used to have two dressers (in addition to a spacious walk-in closet), but I realized that I used one of the dressers to hold stuff I didn't wear.  As soon as I realized it, I threw everything away, and then gave the dresser to a friend.  If you have tons of plastic boxes, you'll be tempted to fill them with junk you don't need.

2. Live in the present
I'm guilty of doing this all the freakin' time.  I have a lot of clothing that would look SUPER CUTE if I went on safari, and wanted to climb a baobab tree, or pet a rhinoceros.  I also have a dress that would be awesome if I ever got nominated for an Oscar...do you see what I'm saying?  Don't keep stuff because you might someday go to an event that merits its existence.  Don't do it!  If you haven't worn something in six months (or whenever the seasons change where you live), chances are, you won't.

3. Know your taste
Pretty simple.  I know that I wear the same ten items of clothing on a weekly basis, so everything else is extraneous fluff.  Granted, it's really fun, sparkly, adorable extraneous fluff, but I wouldn't die if I had to live without it.

4. Consolidate
I used to have a stack of food magazines taking up space in the kitchen.  I finally bought a binder and a hole punch, set aside a few hours, and went through the magazines.  I tore out all the recipes I wanted to make, then put them in the binder.  This rule works for a lot of hobbies - what can you combine to free up more space?

5. Trial separation
I might seem heartless when it comes to old clothing, but I have a lot of trouble getting rid of things that have sentimental value.  Six months ago, my closet was close to bursting, and so I bought some storage boxes and put away everything that was either fall or winter related.  Since it rained yesterday, I opened up the boxes to take out my fall wardrobe.  Guess what?  I threw almost everything away.  When I opened up the boxes, my first thought was "Oh, great, I have to deal with this crap again." If that's the way you feel, it's obviously time for a change.  Sometimes it's difficult to get rid of something, so it's better to just set it aside, and see if you miss it.  If you do, great!  Back in the closet it goes.  If you don't, some lucky thrifter will snap it up at Goodwill.

6. Pretend you're shopping
The biggest reason people hold on to junk is because they're sentimental.  I find that the easiest way to clean out a drawer is to dump everything on the bed, and pretend that I'm shopping.  I like to pretend that I've never my clothes before, and I'm browsing through a department store, deciding what to buy.  Would I buy this particular sweater?  It's cute, but is it my style?  Where would I wear it?  If I'm completely honest, I probably wouldn't buy the same things even a year later.  People are dynamic, they change, their tastes evolve.  Give yourself the freedom to change by getting rid of things you don't need.

7. Watch an adventure film
Whenever I leave town for a long period of time, I watch "Catch Me If You Can."  It's a movie all about leaving everything behind to have exhilarating adventures.  Granted, the main character is a pathological liar, but still.  He has so much fun!  I also like to listen to music that reminds me of trips I've been on because to me, traveling and collecting junk are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

7. Let the right one in
My dad is my biggest style inspiration, and he knew his taste better than anyone I've ever met.  Since he knew what he liked, his closet was streamlined, and he didn't own anything that he didn't need.  We used to compare notes when we cleaned out our closets.  He had a really good philosophy when it came to getting rid of things: "Take everything out first - it has to ask permission to come back in."

That way, you don't have to deliberate over everything you pull out of the closet.  Pretend you're shopping, be honest with yourself, know your taste.  And sooner than you know, you'll have an immaculate living space!

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