It is a great and sometimes even fun way to ''get your life back on track'' during a stressful time and start with a blank canvas.
Anyone reading this, who has known me for a long time knows, how ridiculous it is that I, out of all people, am writing a post on getting rid of clothes. I simply do not like doing that and I am known for my hoarding. Once I have something, I make it fairly easy for myself to create some kind of sentimental value to it, even where it is completely not due. All of that being said, I did just sort out two trash bags full of clothes to give away before leaving LA, and as per usual it was not an easy task. The following is definitely meant to be helpful for anyone reading, but mostly, it is just a collection of notes for myself for next time I'm doing this and have definitely forgotten how to proceed.
Set a timeline. Cleaning out your closet can be pretty stressful and time-consuming and that is why you should plan it out wisely by setting aside a certain amount of hours every day so you could finish the whole thing, take your time. Not too much time though, to the point where the ''maybe'' pile has been on the floor for a good three weeks, trust me, I've been there and in the end, you just end up more stressed by staring at it.
Get fully emotionally detached. Be cold-hearted, no mercy for anything. Clothes/things are not people, they won't get hurt and neither should you feel like they will.
Make cleaning fun! Don't think of cleaning out your closet as an obligation but rather as a great opportunity to get some new space in your closet for new clothes (okay, I see what the problem here is with me…).
Put on your favorite music while cleaning, but be careful not to get caught up in dancing, because what could end up happening is you just prance around the room, picking up things at a speed of three items per hour. Also be wary of putting on a TV show while cleaning as that might distract you more easily. Listening to a good podcast with wireless headphones on is what I have found to work the best for me.
Reward yourself. For example: After every six pieces you give away, you get to buy a new item. Or after three hours of constant cleaning, you get to order those ramen noodles you've been craving. Small stuff like that, trust me, it really works. We can trick our minds, in that sense, forever.
The Three Piles
Things you definitely have to throw out. Anything that…
- you haven't seen yourself grabbing for lately or ever (lots of tags in the closet are a warning sign of true kind) and simply don't like (anymore)
- doesn't fit you or doesn't fit you like it used to. Those extra pounds are happy staying there and by keeping that dress that used to fit you now as a way of ''body motivation'' is just another way of making yourself feel self conscious. Out of sight, out of mind.
- has holes in it; or that small but still noticeable stain on it; has a rip in it that you think might be able to be fixed, but let's be frank, is never going to be fixed.
- you only have in your closet because ''I can wear this for a theme party,' ''It will come back in style soon,' and ''I could use this for a look.' Save one small box in the garage for things like that, but that is it. No costumes in the closet, unless you are an artist, then it is partly excusable (my mind messing with me just again).
- is basically the same item with slight variations; just keep one. I'll make it easy for you: throw out the older one.
The things you definitely want to keep
- I can't help you much here, you just know. But to sum it up: your essential basic items and favorite pieces, that's it.
The Maybe pile…
- This one is the most dangerous one, as many things that should be in the throwing away pile happen to end up wondering here. The smartest thing one could do with the carefully thought out maybe pile is put all of it in a box and if within 12 months you miss any of the items, you just go grab it. If not, it is time to throw out the whole box after that time and not give it a second thought.
- Take the clothes to a charity store nearby, be a do-gooder for the day.
- For the items that are broken or stained, throw them away. Don't make the people at the donation center have to throw them away for you.
- If you happen to have a designer item, sell it on depop or poshmark.
- Enjoy your clean new life and closet.
- Try to maintain it like it was right after the big clean up. Weekly check-ups, always putting things right back where you took them from, etc. This is something I still need more than lots of help with, but hopefully, it comes with age.
What are some of your cleaning out the closet tips and tricks? What advice would you give to someone like me, who really has a hard time with keeping up with the clutter?