While the boys were enjoying a sleepover at their grandparents back in January, I finally made the time and effort to give my closet its yearly purging. To my surprise, I only ended up with a small bag of items to give away. Before I began, I’d been under the impression that I would be purging at least half my closet. But as I looked through every single item that I owned, it dawned on me what a thorough job I did the last time. Almost every item I came across was one which I’d worn in the last couple of years and/or something that I knew I would wear at least once in the next couple of years.
(The one exception are these pair of Levi jeans that I used to wear every day some fifteen years ago. For some reason, Rick refuses to let me give away these jeans, even though there is no chance that I will ever fit into them again. But what is a wife to do? Anything to keep the hubby happy.)
It wasn’t like this when I first started to seriously purge my closet a few years ago. It took me an extremely long time to work out that it’s okay to let go of clothes that I used to love wearing. The reality is that as your life changes, the type of clothes you wear will change. In my twenties, I wore a lot of pencil skirts and fitted tops for my corporate role. Now, as I look after three little boys at home, my daily uniform (second/third trimester excluded of course) tends to be jeans paired with slouchy tops and oversized garments, or a loose dress with stockings and a cardigan (and sometimes just my PJs, but that’s another story). It took me a long time to let go of those old clothes – I guess I kept thinking that my body would somehow go back to what it was, and that I would one day wear exactly the same outfits again and look just as smashing as I once did (or so I like to think anyway!). If I had to be honest, it was really quite hard to accept that my body had changed (permanently) and that my life had also changed. But about two years ago, I finally saw the light. I let go of all my clothes from my early to mid twenties. I’m not kidding – there were bags of the stuff. I gave them away to friends whom I knew would fit the clothes, enjoy wearing them, and (hopefully) take good care of them.
Quite frankly, it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life.
But back to the January just gone by, it wasn’t just the clothes that I went through with a fine-tooth comb. I also took stock of all my jewellery, bags and shoes. But again, there was very little to get rid of. Since I knew that I wouldn’t be buying anything new for a while, I was happy to hold on to a number of things which I “might possibly use or wear” in the next ten years or so. I didn’t mind adopting this rather loose criteria, since it wasn’t actually all that much stuff at the end of the day. Plus, I wouldn’t have to worry about making room for extra stuff anyway, so it was all good.
Whilst going through the motions of working out what to purge and what to keep, I found myself becoming re-acquainted with what I had in my closet. This was such a great thing. It meant that I was reminded of items which I had – and loved – but had momentarily forgotten about. In a way, it was like re-discovering qualities about one’s partner which we are sometimes guilty of losing touch with or forgetting about. In re-acquainting myself with the actual contents of my closet, I was once more truly thankful for what I already had.
In addition to the purging (and the re-acquainting), I also took the opportunity to re-organise certain items like my scarves, and also to make everything tidier and neater – for example, folding my basics properly so that they fit properly in their compartment without overflowing. Somehow, this itself made the clothes seem… nicer. I guess that’s why they iron and fold everything so neatly in clothes stores!
All in all, it was totally worthwhile taking the time to purge, get re-acquainted, re-organise and tidy things up, because at the end of the day, my closet truly felt like a happy closet.
Tell me, have you done any purging recently?
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Other posts you might be interested in reading:
The Happy Closet, Part 4 (on not buying anything for a year)
The Happy Closet, Part 3 (my tips on buying less)
The Happy Closet, Part 2 (the basic principles)
You can read all of The Happy Closet posts here.