Thursday, 13 March 2014

Closet Clear-Out

Good Day Everyone,

Okay, so in all honesty closet isn’t the word that I would use. Being English means I’m more likely to say wardrobe but Closet Clear-Out makes for a better blog post title, don’t you think? 

I’m just as guilty as the next person of getting into a rut with my clothes and wearing the same selection over and over whilst ignoring the deeper section of my wardrobe. Like most women, I have clothes in different sizes for when I’m having a particularly slim day versus more of a bloated day partly because I may have over indulged and / or partly down to hormones. I also have a selection of clothes that no longer fit me since I came off my steroid medication and lost the drug induced weight gain, but I’ve not discarded them. At the back of my mind I know one day I will end up on more potent medication as my arthritis progresses and chances are I’ll get bigger again because of it. Therefore I may need these clothes again. In addition, and again like most women, I have a few clothing items that have never seen the light of day. Call them impulse or what was I thinking buys but either way they are brand new, never worn pieces that just evoke feelings of guilt (and shame) whenever I look at them.
So last weekend I decided to take the bull by the horn and have a closet clear-out and just keep the clothes that fit me now. Whilst doing this I used a few rules / principles in order to make the clear-out process as effective as possible. I thought I’d share these with you, in case you too, were thinking of having a closet clear-out. With spring just around the corner for my friends back in England, I felt the timing was quite apt for this blog post :o)
  1. Time: Allow yourself plenty of time to go through your closet. If you do it in a rush and under time constraints you are more likely to make a rash judgement call. I set aside a Saturday morning to go through my closet. 
  2. Mood: Don’t force yourself to clear out your closet if you’re not in the mood for the task in hand. Like above, it may result in poor decision making. I would suggest doing things that make the process more relaxing such as listening to some of your favourite tunes and / or lighting some nice smelling candles / oil burners so that you have a more relaxed atmosphere as this could take some time ;o) 
  3. Try everything on: This is a must in my books. Unless you are a 110% sure that you know exactly how a clothing item looks on you (and even then I would suggest you still try it on), you should try every item on to see how it fits your body today. It’s also important to see how the clothing item makes you feel when wearing it because what we wear can have such affect on how we feel. 
  4. Mirror: To aid the above it’s important that you have a full length mirror so that you can see how the clothes fit you. You may want to pair a particular item with something else to see what the overall outfit looks like before deciding whether to keep it or not and for that you really do need a full length mirror. 
  5. Be honest: This typically applies to the impulse and what were you thinking buys. If the items have been in your closet for over a year (i.e. through all the seasons and yearly occasions) and you still haven’t worn it then be realistic, are you really ever likely to wear it? Go on, be honest with yourself? 
  6. Be ruthless: It’s always easier, I find, to add to my clothes than it is to take away. It’s more fun to shop for new clothes than it is to go through my closet and decide what I no longer want to keep. As a result my clothes collection keeps growing. With me, this can lead to me getting stuck in a rut, wearing the same few clothes because there’s simply too much choice, so be ruthless. If you buy a new piece of clothing then exchange it by removing a piece of clothing from your collection that you no longer wear / enjoy. 
  7. Limit sentimentality: As I was clearing-out my closet I came across a few clothing items which I didn't really wear but because they hold sentimental value and have strong memories associated with them I didn’t want to get rid. Now you could end up using sentimentality as an excuse for keeping most things so limit the number of pieces you keep for sentimental reasons / as keepsakes. 
  8. If it’s not an immediate yes then it’s a no: If you try a piece of clothing on and your immediate reaction isn’t yes I really like this / love how this looks on me then it’s a no, in all honesty. So for those clothes where you try them on and you’re looking in the mirror thinking, ‘I’m not too sure about this’ then it should go into the do not keep pile by default. 
  9. Get a second opinion: Okay so now I’m going to contradict the point above but hear me out. If it wasn’t an immediate yes when you tried something on, yet you still can’t bring yourself to put it in the do not keep pile (for whatever reason) then get a second opinion. Ask your partner or friend how the item in question looks on you but do not tell them what you think about the item or how you are not sure whether you should keep it or not because you do not want to influence their response. If they say the item looks great on you but you're still not convinced then don’t keep it. 
  10. Recycle: I have two points under this heading. Firstly, any clothes that are in your do not keep pile that are new / barely worn / in good condition and you think a friend or family member might like them then offer it to them. The rest can be donated to a clothing charity / second hand shop. If you have clothes that are not in the best condition, then you can find charities that will still take them off your hands for either recycling the fabric or sending them to third world countries where a lower standard / quality of clothing may still be acceptable than what would be in your own country. The second point I have is that you could recycle some clothing items yourself by changing it's purpose. For example a pair of trousers could be turned into shorts, a long maxi dress could be turned into a skirt or cushion covers. Clothes do not have to remain as clothes when recycling.
The maxi dress I couldn't put in the Do Not Keep pile
When I was clearing-out my closet I kept a beautiful silk maxi dress simply for sentimental reasons. I don’t wear the dress because it makes me look seven months pregnant (I’ve come to the realisation that despite being slim, with my short height and wide hips, maxi dresses are not my friend ;o)). I bought the dress whilst on holiday in Sydney from a really cool store and it reminds me of a wonderful time in my life. Also the print on the fabric is simply stunning and so I’ve held on to it with the view of turning it into cushion covers or making some kind of a throw out of it one day. That’s me recycling :o)

These are my tips and advice for having a productive closet clear-out, from my recent experience. I hope you’ve found them helpful. I’m sure there are probably a few ideas or thoughts I’ve missed, in which case do let me know as I’d love to hear your tips :o)

Love Sheen xxx

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