|January is a good time to start a clothing purge project|
After I went traveling for a year and got by with a tiny wardrobe of about 15 items (including socks and underwear), I started to wonder why I needed any more than that. It was one reason I stopped buying anything new for my wardrobe.
How To Tell If You Have Too Many Clothes
- You have clothing bought long ago that is still in its packaging.
- You have more clothes than closet (the answer is not a bigger closet).
- You have clothes in boxes that haven't been opened in years.
- You have clothes you didn't even know you had.
- You keep losing things under piles of clothes.
Getting rid of stuff is a challenge for most of us, but getting rid of clothes presents some unique challenges. Giving away dust-collecting trinkets may be easy, but how does one get rid of something as practical and useful as clothes? Clothes are kind of like foodstuffs - you can't survive without them.
Without clothes we are naked, and being out and about in your birthday suit is not socially acceptable in most places I know. We need clothes not only to cover our bumps and bits, but in a climate like I live in, clothes are essential for survival as well.
Parting with essentials is difficult, but really, you can only wear one shirt or one pair of pants at a time. I know how many clothes I really need, and my entire light wardrobe can fit into a backpack with room to spare. The rest of the stuff is just taking up space in my closet, and my head.
Clearing The Clothes
A necessary first step is admitting that you have too many clothes, and have a desire to cut back to a more manageable and useful level.
The hanger method shown in the photo above is one way, albeit a slow one, to weed out the unnecessary clothing from your closet. This is the equivalent of pulling a band aid off very, very slowly. It may not be the most efficient method if you can feel a big purge coming on.
To pull the band aid off in one fell swoop, one must be brave and go all in from the start. Having committed to reduction, attack the clothes like they are your enemy and show them who is boss. Wrestle the clothing into 4 piles:
- Clothes that don't fit you.
- Clothes that you haven't worn in over a year.
- Clothes that need to be repaired.
- Clothes that you can't live without.
Take piles 1 and 2 to a second hand store, or offer them to someone you know that would appreciate them. Pile number 3 should be taken to a tailor, or handy friend or mom, for repair.
Pile number 4 should be set aside and gone through one more time. Pull out redundant clothes, such as more than 2 or 3 pairs of jeans, or white shirts. Get the pile down to a manageable amount of practical, functional clothes that you will use on a regular basis.
If you are having trouble with the task, think of how organized you will feel owning only clothing in good repair, that fits you, and that you feel good wearing.
A clothing purge is excellent for resetting your wardrobe, but a moratorium on the purchase of new clothes will prevent the build up from happening again. Oh, the money you will save.
And remember, "people seldom notice old clothes if you are wearing a big smile".