I am sure many of you often look inside your closet, only to close the door again, telling yourself you will organize your wardrobe one day soon. Unfortunately, that day never seems to come and your closet could easily be turned into a consignment store with all the hangers that are filled with garments you never wear. I am one of those people, however I have been trying very hard lately to become better at purging. In doing so, I needed to understand why my walk-in got to be so full in the first place. Upon considering this, I came up with 6 possible reasons why my (and your) closet has become a wasteland:
1. There are many hangers holding clothes that have since become covered in dust because it has been years since they've been worn. These articles of clothing that hide in the shadows of your closet represent the various sizes you have been over the past decade or so. You are hoping that one day you will be able to fit back into those outfits you loved so much when you were at a happier size.
2. As you scour your wardrobe, you come across the dress you wore to the opera (looking so much like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman), the skirt you picked out for the first day of your very first job, the top you had on for the first date with your husband and the pair of jeans you were wearing at the Bon Jovi concert when his sweat may have hit them as he sang just a few feet away from you. Most of these garments you will never wear again, but they hold sentimental value in some way and you find it hard to part with something that brings back a moment you always want to remember. Will you still remember the opera, your first date and the Bon Jovi concert without them? Well, of course you will'but just in case, you hold on to them.
3. There is a pair of overalls hanging in the back of the closet that you are so happy you did not throw away because they are now coming back in style. Fads come and go, which is exactly why we hold on to them'because we know they will come around one day, so why buy it again? I am sure you can all look into your closet and find some trendy piece you were keeping, sure it would return one day.
4. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, my mom taught me to take care of my clothing because it was expensive and her and my dad worked hard to make the money they spent on me. This carried into my grown up years, because today, when I look into my closet, it's hard to get rid of things I bought, knowing I worked hard to make money and then spent it on those clothes.
5. As you go out shopping for something new, whether it be with a group of friends or on your own because you need to buy a new outfit that makes you feel good, your view of clothing becomes skewed by your emotions that day. Most of the time, you end up buying things that look so good at the store, but when you get them home and get around to wearing them, you don't love them as much as you did the day you bought them. It now may be too late to make a return or you think you might like them again one day, so you add them to the row of wannabes in your closet.
6. Ironically, to save you some money, you buy items on sale for the next season or next year, carefully choosing pieces that will still be in style or you know you will definitely wear. Too bad that by the time you get around to wearing them you aren't sure why you bought them in the first place'other than you were hoping to save money, but now you end up having to go out shopping again to find something to wear, since you have nothing in your closet!
Now, as soon as I started thinking about the possible reasons for accumulating the variety of clothes taking up space in a closet, I wondered how these problems could be fixed, thus solving The Case of Closet Wasteland. Unfortunately, coming up with how to fix the problem was not quite as easy as figuring out how it occurred in the first place'as solutions are usually the more difficult half of problem solving. That being said, I will offer some suggestions for those wondering where to turn now that they have realized they do have a problem (which is the first step to recovery, remember).
The first thing to do, and it is easier said than done, is to clean out your closet. Sort your clothes into items you wear all the time, items you wear once in a while and items you have not worn in at least a year. As I'm sure you have probably heard, if you haven't worn something in a year, you probably won't wear it again, so it is just taking up space in your closet. If you don't think you'll be objective enough when it comes to this, ask a partner/spouse, sibling or best friend to look after this for you. If it's something they've never seen you in, give them permission to dispose of it.
Once you have your piles, obviously get rid of the 'hasn't been worn in over a year pile' by donating or selling it or even putting it aside for a Clothing Swap Party. The other two piles, don't just put them back into your closet, because there could be some hidden space suckers in there, just waiting to be weeded out. Instead of thinking you still want to keep everything else because it looks nice, try it on. That dress you wore last summer or the pants you bought a few months ago may look great in your memory, but once you try them on, they may not look as you remember. If not, get rid of them. Your goal is to trim down your wardrobe to items you could have someone else choose for you and you'd be happy in anything picked, rather than tops that only go with certain bottoms because they can hide the muffin top or skirts that can only be worn with leggings because they are too short and show your varicose veins. If there are stipulations on pieces of clothing, they should be tossed as well.
You should be left with clothes you are happy with on any given day, in any given scenario. That being said, you should be rewarded for your efforts in some way, so why not go shopping? This is part of the vicious cycle many people do become caught in, however there should be some new rules now that your wardrobe has been paired down. The first is, if you don't fall in love with what you're trying on within the first 3 seconds of looking in the mirror, don't buy it. If it's going to be a lasting clothing item, you should fall in love with it in a matter of seconds and not ho-hum about it or look at it from every angle. The second is, whatever it is you are buying should match something you already have at home'your goal is to begin to create a wardrobe of pieces that go together, rather than a mishmash of random pieces that are great on their own.
The trick, after going through all of this, is to keep on top of it so you don't have to start all over again in a few months. My suggestion is to figure out your problem first ' is it one of the six possibilities or something else ' and then one step at a time, reduce your outfits to the pieces that really work for you. If you are unsure, ask someone who can be honest with you and do it together. It will feel so good once you get through everything and start fresh and your closet won't feel so neglected anymore. Hopefully, you will soon be able to say, 'Goodbye wasteland, hello freedom to find a better me!'