First thing’s first: I’m not a Marie Kondo decluttering type. I have stuff, and I have a lot of it. I’m big on shopping and holding onto things for sentimental reasons and if I was looking for a way of describing my household style, I would (somewhat generously) say happy clutter. There comes a time though, usually about once a year, when I go on a decluttering spree of the wardrobe variety. I call it my Brutal Seasonal Wardrobe Clean Out and it generally coincides with realising all my clothes, when laundered, do not physically fit in my wardrobe and that I have started dressing from a clean clothes pile, normally strewn over my bedroom chair. It’s also sometimes a ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ scenario because, I am telling you, for everything crammed into the cupboard, I have nothing to wear.
Marie Kondo has one thing right: letting go can feel cathartic and freeing, so filling the first bag or two with clothes to donate is always easy. These are filled with the obvious items to cull. It’s getting down to the nitty gritty that can be tricky. We want to avoid decision fatigue, whereby everything feels like trash and then three days later you regret donating that pair of soft pink mary-janes and that one dress that was old but was actually still awesome. To a hoarder like me, being brutal is vital, but so is making considered assessments. It’s a slippery slope.
Items I bought without trying them on.
Everyone knows that sizing varies wildly from store to store, and a medium from here may be comfortable but a medium from there may only fit one leg. We should all know better than buying without trying. But you do it, I do it, and occasionally time is of the essence and you just have to guess, right? Oh hello, unflattering mid-calf length knitted pinafore dress. And you, frilly off-the-shoulder shirt. We tried. It didn’t work out. Let’s move on. You’ve hung, unloved and unworn, oftentimes with tags still attached, for long enough. Verdict: cull.
Oh, how frequently have I handed over my hard-earned $40ish to say YES, I WAS HERE AND IT WAS GOOD. More often than not, my concert tees washed poorly and shrunk and now languish in the drawer, a monument to experiences past serving only to take up much needed space. I have moved them from prime drawer real estate to a sentimental box at the back of the cupboard. I have occasional thoughts of stitching them all into some sort of quilt, but I am not known for my craftiness so they will probably stay there still, until I next review the whole wardrobe sitch. Verdict: keep, for now.
Trend items that are no longer on trend.
Let’s consider the speed that trends move. It’s logical that some pieces won’t stand the test of time that staple items will, but do you hang on to them hoping they will re-emerge or do you let that fleeting moment remain consigned to the annals of history? I’m remembering a time when I wore red and yellow tartan pants with a beret, but that is worst case scenario. Look at velvet and skivvies. Who knew they would be seeing the light of day again? What goes around comes around might be true, but it could take its sweet ass time. Trend items, in my view, are here for a good time not a long time. Verdict: ditch.
The maybes are a tough bunch. They are the much-loved, well-worn items that parting with is such sweet sorrow. You know the ones. The cardigan from that first time you decided you were adult enough to splurge on proper quality expensive-as-hell knitwear and it lasted for years but is finally, devastatingly, starting to show its age (pilling, am I right? BASTARD). The favourite dresses and jeans that fit a pre-pubescent body but can’t quite handle hips or boobs or, dare I say it, all that pizza. The old leather jackets and that one pair of boots. Verdict: tough call. I sometimes move my maybes to a separate box and if I haven’t worn them or thought about them by the next wardrobe clean out, they are instant goners. Sometimes wardrobe catharsis comes in stages. What can I say?
‘Til next time,