The Happy Closet

I turn thirty-two today and I’m proud to say that I finally have a happy closet. And by that I mean, a closet that’s not bursting at the seams and that’s filled with clothes that I actually like to wear.

My closet has been such a happy one that I haven’t bought anything since November last year. That’s almost coming up to eight months, and so far I’ve still got no inkling to buy anything new – online or offline. In fact, when Rick asked me if I wanted anything for my birthday just earlier this week, I couldn’t think of a single thing.

I mentioned in this post how I recently learnt that the fewer clothes I own, the happier I am, and that the beauty of a piece of clothing has everything to do with how much it’s worn and loved. I truly believe this, and I think that this is the secret to having a happy closet.

Prior to the end of last year, for as long as I can remember, my wardrobe had always been filled with clothes I never wore. This got me down for several reasons:

  • I always felt like I had ‘nothing’ to wear, even though I had no shortage of clothes.
  • I never felt like I had ‘the right clothes.’
  • I therefore always felt like I had to buy more clothes to fill the (perceived) void.
  • I felt like a hoarder.
  • I felt like a waster.
  • I always felt like there was never enough space in my closet.
  • Every time I was out at the shops, I would eye other women and covet their outfits. Not a nice feeling at all.

For the most part, clothes seem to be just clothes to men. I know that this is definitely the case with Rick. He’s perfectly happy to chuck out high school jerseys and favourite shirts when they get ripped, while I’m the one left all teary because that was the shirt he wore on our dates before we got married.

And therein lies the heart of the problem. For most of us women, our wardrobe represents more than just our clothes. Our wardrobe forms part of our identity. Our wardrobe has emotion attached to it. Our wardrobe holds remnants of our past life; perhaps a past life we’re unable to let go of. Our wardrobe represents in part the person we were, and the person we aspire to be.

Sometime last year after giving birth to my fourth baby in three and a half years, it dawned on me that my body was changed forever and decided that it was as good a time as any to makeover – or should I say, make under – my wardrobe.

The process didn’t exactly happen overnight and I will be the first to admit that it was both time-consuming and mentally exhausting. But the result is that I’m now at a place where I’m finally happy with my closet. I have no longings for anything new. I love what I wear every day. My closet is, for the most part, devoid of anything I don’t actually wear. And most importantly, I am content.

If you’re similarly interested in turning your closet into a happy one, I’ll be sharing some of the things I learnt in the process, and the numerous roadblocks that I encountered, over a series of posts. It’s nothing ground-breaking, and you probably already know a lot of it. But in an era where we’re constantly told we need to buy new things every day, I thought it would be helpful to gather all my thoughts on this topic in the one place for anyone who might be interested in making under their wardrobe and learning to be content with what they have.

As for tomorrow – another scrapbook shall be revealed!

You can read all of The Happy Closet posts here.

(And yes, tis the season of the chunky scarf here in Sydney. If only it were flu-proof.)

81 comments

Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos July 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

You are so right Ronnie!
My wardrobe is exactly as you mentioned yours used to be; full to the brim of clothes that I don’t wear, and I always feel like I have nothing appropriate to wear!
It was only yesterday I decided to clean it out, starting this weekend!
I’m actually looking forward to it! I would love to have a wardrobe I’m happy with! :)

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

How did the cleaning out go, Tracey? Were you successful? :)
Ronnie xo

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Corrine July 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Oh my goodness! It’s like you are inside my brain. I’m feeling the same but haven’t yet psyched myself up to deal with it. I’m very much looking forward to reading your insights. Thanks Ronnie!

And Happy Birthday too!!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thanks Corrine!
Ronnie xo

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Niru July 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Many wishes and blessings on turning thirty two, my friend. Picture me lighting beautiful fragrant candles for you to blow :)
What a lovely way to start another new year of your life by feeling content.
Would you believe if I said I own no more than 15 garments? I’ve been living on only one jeans for the past 3 years, although I’ve one other cotton trouser and a couple of linen pyjamas, along with a dozen tops. I’m the only one among my friends with such a minimal wardrobe, but I’m HAPPY with it. Truthfully.
I’ve always been reluctant to expand the size of my wardrobe. Maybe its got to do with my very humble childhood, but even today everytime I buy new clothes, my old ones get gifted away; to the less-privileged. The thought that a few girls out there are enjoying wearing my lovingly tended clothes, blesses me very much.

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Niru,
Thank you so much for your lovely message. That is amazing, just 15 outer garments. I can certainly believe that it makes you happy. A smaller wardrobe is most definitely a happier wardrobe.
Ronnie xo

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Soph Russell July 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I SO want to be where you are now!!

I nodded my head to most of your posts. Yep, I’ve got a full wardrobe yet never can find clothes I’m ‘comfortable’ (both physically and appearance wise) in. I’ve always thought I’d be really happy with a minimal wardrobe, so long as every item was good quality, suited to my body, something I enjoyed wearing, etc. And then, if I ever got to that point, I’d only ever replace something if it tore.

My dilemma at the moment is what to wear having had a baby 2 months ago. I’m quite a bit heavier than my usual weight, so I was in a quandry as to whether to buy new things to wear (knowing I’ll probably lose weight in the year and not fit in them anymore) or go on wearing maternity clothes. I’ve opted for the maternity clothes, with a handful of cheap items from Kmart which probably wont last past winter, but that’s okay as I’ll change shape.

Niru…would love to know what items you own :) That sounds great, only having 15 items.

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Niru July 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

Hello Soph, I didn’t expect anyone to be interested, thank you.
First, I’d like to correct what I forgot to include yesterday in my comment: my sarees (that I wear at weddings and on festivals); plus, two winter jackets (one woolen and other suede). When I mentioned 15, I was only considering my regular wear in my mind.
I own a blue jean (that’s nicely smooth, after much washing), a beige cotton trouser, 2 linen pyjamas (for my yoga), 3 white tops (with lace and frills), 2 formal shirts (one stripped and other plain), 1 silk dress, 1 block-printed tunic, 2 cotton tops and a couple of hand-embroidered muslin Indian kurtas (traditional wear). All of my clothes are either cotton, linen or muslin and I don’t have any t-shirt. And most of my sarees are handlooms. I’m not a very brand-conscious person, my wardrobe is rather thrifty.
AS you can see, I’m definitely not fashionable. I think my clothes reflect my disposition more than any trend. I hope this was fine :)

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Thanks for sharing Niru!
Ronnie xo

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I kept wearing maternity clothes for a long time after Jamie was born sixteen months ago. Actually, a lot of the dresses that I’ve kept in my closet are in fact maternity ones. I’m perfectly happy with that as they look good and feel good when they’re on and they deal very well with my muffin top. :)
Ronnie xo

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Laura Gofton July 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Ohhhh, so looking forward to your tips and tricks Ronnie! I am most definitely at that stage where my wardrobe is full but I have nothing to wear. I probably wear about 10-20 per cent of my clothes and the rest just sit there but I am loathe to throw (or give) them away just ‘in case’ I might feel like wearing it again sometime down the track!

It may be silly but some things I feel like I am keeping in case I have a daughter and she might like to wear them ‘one day’. My mother had an AMAZING clothes collection that she kept and my two sisters and I have absolutely loved being able to search through it every season to see what is ‘back’ in fashion. Mum has loved it too. Actually that reminded me of a post I wanted to write! haha. Sorry for the ramble. x laura

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Laura Gofton July 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

I just realised I missed the very first part of this post. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you get to celebrate properly when you are all feeling well again. x

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thanks Laura!
That doesn’t sound silly at all – when I was younger, I loved going through some of the clothes that my mum kept from her twenties as well. Maybe one idea could be to keep those clothes separately in a suitcase somewhere so that they don’t clutter up your happy closet. :)
Ronnie xo

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shinelittlelight July 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!
Oh god yes please share! I have a wardrobe full of vintage dresses that I don’t feel cool enough to wear. *s*

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thanks Sophie! :)
Ronnie xo

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Alice C. July 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!

Great post and all so true, I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. I think that especially in large cities, people don’t want to take the time to “see” people for who they are, and just judge them by what they’re wearing. Especially the women … and women dress for other women, not men! Can’t wait to read your tips …

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thanks Alice!
Ronnie xo

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Chantel July 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

a) happy birthday!! b) I love the chunkiness and color of that scarf c) I’ve recently purged my closet but know that I have a few more things to let go, I can’t wait to read all your tips! :)

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Thx Chantel! It’s one of my favourite scarves. :)
Ronnie xo

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theresa July 13, 2012 at 12:21 am

happy birthday!!!

i would like to get to a similar place with my closet — unfortunately, having just had a baby, i’m in a weird limbo state where i don’t really know what fits or what will fit when my weight has finally leveled off. i’m keeping this post in my bookmarks though — very inspirational!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I totally understand – that limbo stage is a tricky one…
Ronnie xo

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Linn Maria July 13, 2012 at 12:50 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! <3
… and this post certainly makes me feel like marching up to my closet and finally taking action to get this process started, because you're so right, and I've been putting it off forever, and ever…

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Thnx Linn!
Ronnie xo

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rooth July 13, 2012 at 1:42 am

Happy Birthday Ronnie!

I’m looking forward to your tips about how to sort out your closet. I feel like my clothes don’t represent who I am and the image I want to project but I’m not sure I know how to go about culling pieces

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Thx Rooth!
Ronnie xo

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rachel July 13, 2012 at 1:42 am

Yay! Happy Birthday to you!! Celebrate, be celebrated, enjoy!

I have a sort of empty closet because I like to purge from time to time but as for liking my clothes….that’s another story. After 6 babies in 9 years I don’t even know my size anymore. I’m looking forward to your Happy Closet Tips!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Thank you, dear friend.
Ronnie xo

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jillian m. July 13, 2012 at 2:04 am

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!

And I’m in need of a “happy closet”. Right now, I’m at a place where I look at it and go, “Ugh, I have nothing”. I’m just tired of seeing and wearing the same things. Are you saying I should go shopping? Yes? Okay then!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Thanks Jillian – and LOL, you made made me smile with your comment!
Ronnie xo

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Megan July 13, 2012 at 2:04 am

Happy Birthday!!!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Thank you, Megan.
Ronnie xo

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Alexandra July 13, 2012 at 4:00 am

Hope your birthday is a beautiful one!!
xo

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks Alexandra – sadly, I caught the flu on my birthday, but oh well.
Ronnie xo

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Punctuation Mark July 13, 2012 at 4:24 am

Hope you’re having the best of times… My closet is still evolving and I’m a bit older than you… Haha!!!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Thank you!
Ronnie xo

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Sammy G. July 13, 2012 at 4:57 am

Happy happy birthday to you!!! :D

I love to look at clothes but in my case, nothing ever fits because I’m so small (I know boo hoo me) but it really isn’t that fun either to not have anything fit. I still wear clothes from when I was in high school 7 years ago but my taste in clothing has changed A LOT. I’m much more casual and plain jane, which I like haha.

Have a wonderful day!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Thanks Sammy,
Ronnie xo

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alex July 13, 2012 at 5:02 am

happy belated birthday! and wow, i didn’t think it was possible for women these days to have a happy closet but i’m glad you’ve found it! it’s like nirvana for the clothes~ hehe and wow, 8 months? that’s very very impressive.

i agree with you… for women, what we wear (and how we wear it!) is a bit part of our identity. i know i’d feel really uncomfortable wearing something that i did not pick out meself.

i look forward to your next posts! do share, do share!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Thanks Alex, and thanks for stopping by here too!
Ronnie xo

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Fiona July 13, 2012 at 5:07 am

Happy Happy Birthday, Ronnie! I hope your day is wonderful! I purged my closet about a year ago, but it’s still got a bunch of clothes in it that I don’t wear and some that I wish I could fit into (post-baby body!). What I really want is a wardrobe I love, full of clothes that fit (both my size and my style), so I can’t wait to hear your tips! Looking forward to it….and to see tomorrow’s scrapbook!
Hugs, Fiona xoxo

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Thx Fi, you’re the best!
Ronnie xo

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Vicki July 13, 2012 at 5:08 am

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ronnie! I hope the year ahead is filled with love, laughter, and good memories!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Thx for your lovely msg, Vicki.
Ronnie xo

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katherine July 13, 2012 at 5:49 am

I’m feeling the same the more clothes you have the less you find to wear and its frustrated that why i keep my self from trying to buy clothes so i focus on my kids/house stuff.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
wishing you the best and don’t (YES) eat lots of cake, hope your enjoying your day with family and friends.happy birthday dear friend…

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Thank you Katherine.
Ronnie xo

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Charlotte July 13, 2012 at 5:49 am

Well if you must wear a chunky scarf, it better be a beautiful, deep yellow! That’s such a wonderful color.

I’d love any tips you have about creating a ‘happy closet’.

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

It is, isn’t it? I call it mustard yellow. Love it. :)
Ronnie xo

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Diane July 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

Happy birthday, and happy closet….love your ability to pare down…and looking forward to your tips. Simply love the chunky scarf. The first I read your blog and commented was a photo of you in a beautiful scarf. ox

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Oh wow, I can’t believe you remember that Diane!
Ronnie xo

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trishie July 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Happy birthday!!!

I need to turn my wardrobe into a happy one.

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Thx Trishie.
Ronnie xo

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Lisa July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Happy birthday, Ronnie! I just found your blog and am so glad I did! I love your concept of a happy closet and you’ve inspired me to take a closer look at my own. Your blog is absolutely beautiful and I look forward to visiting more often!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Thanks Lisa for leaving such a sweet message and thanks for stopping by here! It’s lovely to have you.
Ronnie xo

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jen July 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

i wish i had a happy closet too.. and i *most* certainly have encountered all of those probs! happy birthday & thank you for the inspiration! looking forward to more scrapbook reveals too! xo

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Thx jen!
Ronnie xo

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lamina @ do a bit July 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I put my hand up…. Guilty… of all of the above! I have a wardrobe of clothes that I don’t wear and don’t fit but can’t throw out! I always think I might wear it one day… hmmmm… I think I need a shake up! I look forward to your insights on how to do this terrible task ahead of me :)

Oh and ***Happy happy birthday*** Hope you had a wonderful day xxx

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Ah yes, the dreaded “I might wear it one day…” I know exactly what you’re coming from! :) Thx for your sweet msg and congrats again on your shop!
Ronnie xo

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Vivian Doan July 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

For a mommy of three, you seem so incredibly organized what with Happy Closets and amazing scrapbooks. I dream of being more like you and less like cluttered, disorganized me. Thank-you for inspiring me.

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Vivian Doan July 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

PS: Happy birthday you spring chicken!! SO YOUNG!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Thank you, Vivian! Spring chicken, hehe.
Ronnie xo

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Johanna July 14, 2012 at 6:48 am

A very belated happy birthday to you, my dear!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Thank you Johanna!
Ronnie xo

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Tang July 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

WOW. I think I need to learn this lesson! But first of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY RONNIE!!! I hope it was an amazing day! :)

I think I have definitely cut down to buying what is now what I know is my style, but I still love shopping way too much for what it is. Inspired to step back and go through my closet!

Happy belated again!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Thx Tang! Hope you have a fab holiday.
Ronnie xo

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BrigittaR July 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I’m joining this movement! Happy birthday :)

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Awesome! (And thnx for the birthday message.)
Ronnie xo

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Sandra (Simply Peachy) July 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I would love to turn my closet into a happy one. It’s currently rather depressed haha. xx

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Bergljot July 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm

After reading this post over the weekend I was seized by inspiration :) and cleaned my closet yesterday morning. I love the idea of a happy closet. I made two piles on the floor—one of items I could donate/sell and one of items that are are just too worn out and have to be thrown away. I also carefully packed away the rest of my winter clothes, the ones I know I want to keep. My closet now makes me smile, not least because it is filled mostly with clothing that suits the summer weather in Japan. In the evening I did the same, more or less, with my husband’s closet and he was happy about it too.

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Well done, Bergljot! That’s very encouraging to hear!
Ronnie xo

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Latrina July 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I completely agree! And I am glad to know that I’m not alone here. I can’t tell you how little clothes in my closet that I ACTUALLY wear. It’s very sad. I occasionally get the courage to clean it out… and although it’s tough — trying on this and that and then make the decision whether or not I should donate it or keep it. It’s tough! BUT I always feel SOO much better afterwards. Definitely a happy closet and a happy ME!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

A closet detox always feels nice. :)
Ronnie xo

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SassandSpice July 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

Omigosh, I’m so late but I hope you had a great birthday! I’m so glad you have a happy closet. I went all minimal and basic after having a baby but now I’m back to loving having lots of clothes again. I think I go in cycles! But next month I’m doing a challenge where I’m not allowed to buy anything and wear mostly opshop clothing. It’s so much cheaper, goes to a great cause and better for the environment. Definitely makes for a happy closet!

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thanks sass&spice! I look forward to seeing photos from your challenge. :)
Ronnie xo

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Galit July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Happy belated birthday dear Ronnie!!!
Sorry I missed your post and your birthday date!! Hope you’ll have a new occasion for a date night now that you are all feeling better!
I agree with you 100% about the happy closet theory.
I’ve got the book “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UNJX4S/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title"The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide” last year as a present and it was a wonderful inspiration for me to minimize the clutter around my closet and all around the house really.

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Galit July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Ooops, meant to put the link to the book but now it just looks weird, sorry…..

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Pink Ronnie July 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thanks Galit!!
Ronnie xo

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Grace July 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for the reminder to get my butt into gear and clean out my wardrobe properly! I did half of it 4 months ago and I never got around to culling out the other.
So true what you say that there’s so much emotional attachment to our clothes. I can’t even throw out the cheapy summer dresses I bought in Bali because that was the trip we got engaged. Ridiculous!

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Pink Ronnie July 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

LOL Grace, we’ve all been there! :)
Ronnie xo

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I love hearing from you!

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