Cleaning in Spring

"The more you get rid of, the more you have to wear"

I have, periodically, flipped through my wardrobe, tossed no longer worn and out-of-date clothes into a pile on my floor, thrown them into a garbage bag, and given them away. And then, slowly, I accumulate new things, my closet bulks up, I thin it, and so the cycle goes. Can anybody relate?

Well, this time was different.

My closet had begun to bulge, and I had run out of hangers. My sundresses and tanks were all hung 2, 3, 5 deep on one hanger, and often after laundry day I had to set aside clothes for when one would open up. Solving the problem did not involve a trip to the store for more hangers, oh no: it meant doing some serious Spring cleaning. So the other day I enlisted my boyfriend for help, and I went through everything. Everything: each hanging item, my sock, underwear, and bra drawers, my sweats and workout drawers. I told him to answer these questions as I tried things on: Is it my style anymore? Does it look good on/still fit me? He was ruthless.

The result? 35 hangers now available, an organized closet, and a fresh feng shui energy moving through my wardrobe.

Here are a few bits of wisdom I gained I would like to pass along…

- First, have a close friend-whose opinion you trust and who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth-join you. Too many times I talk myself into the ‘maybes’ staying around for another season. Having them there makes it way more fun and actually goes quicker because they protect you from overthinking each decision!
- Is it my style anymore? I, like many of us, have a hard time parting with things we have sentimental attachment to: “I used to love this shirt,” ”I wore this dress all the time back in ___.” But do you love it now? Do you currently wear it all the time? Yes: keep. No: chuck. Clothes are not like friends-silver and gold-you do not need to keep the old and the new.
- I realized how much my style has evolved in the past couple of years, influenced by job changes as well as a bolder approach toward my personal fashion. It is neat to realize how defined my style is becoming, and how uniquely me it is!

- Does it look good on/still fit me? Our bodies are constantly changing, and we pick the clothes that fit us best in that moment. No need to keep a pair of baggy jeans or a clingy shirt, make room for the ones that do fit now.
- Take the time and try it all on. When I tried on practically everything I own in one afternoon, I gained a great overall sense of how to better define my style and what essential pieces I am missing.
- Knowing what I have in my closet gives me options. Waking up each morning becomes a chance to try out a new combination I dreamed up or wear that outfit I forgot I had. Plus, I can see what I have at a glance!

- We noticed there were one or two reoccurring items I needed to complete several different looks. We wrote those down and now I purposely hone in on this list when shopping. It’s exciting, because I know what I buy I will wear all the time, and this is further motivation to get one I absolutely love. For example, I noticed that several shirts I tried through would look great paired with a bralette or cropped bra. Now I am on a mission to find a great one!
- My closet and drawers look better. Without all the worn out bras and holy socks, my drawers look so much more attractive, I like the items left behind more than I did before. They seem to stand out more!

- I found I kept things I didn’t love, but wanted to replace. For example, I had a striped shirt that didn’t fit the way I wanted it to, but I kept it as a reminder to get another one. The irony is I never bought another when I was out because I felt like I had one already! Write it down and make room.
- My mom has made me several crocheted items that I absolutely love, but some do not fit my current look. These aren’t things I’m willing to part with, so instead I wrapped them up and put them away for another season or to pass along to my daughter someday.
- Is it worth altering? A few things I keep that need alterations before I will wear them. I have a handmade skirt from my travels abroad I want to modify, but forget about since it’s stowed away in my hanging abyss. I made a pile of the things worth fixing and set it beside my sewing machine for a rainy day in April.
- Lastly, I folded the discarded clothes strewn about and put them into pile. Then, I tied each one with string—making it easy to pull in and out of the garbage bag when bringing around to friends. They are like a present handed off instead of a pile of your old throw-aways!

And the crazy thing is, I still have a ton of clothes left! Why did I keep that bra with a broken underwire for months? Why did I feel so attached to that floral shirt that never fit right? Honestly, I don’t know anymore, it seems so silly in retrospect!