I am a product of two parents who sit on opposite ends of the pack rack spectrum. There’s my dad, who is literally pained to throw anything away. Things hold meaning and sentimental value in his eyes, and he believes that wastefulness is a sin. Then there’s my mom, who hates clutter and doesn’t have a problem throwing things away. Things are just things to her and she doesn’t get too attached. I can still hear the words she frequently said to me growing up when I’d profess love for a pair of jeans or new jacket I just had to have: “Don’t love something that can’t love you back.”
So where, exactly, do I sit on this spectrum? Firmly in the middle. Like my mom, I despise clutter and am okay with throwing things away to keep it at bay. Yet I still have a lot of my dad in me. Sometimes things do hold sentimental value. And the thought of being wasteful makes me feel really, really guilty.
Keep all of that in mind when I talk about my clothes closet today. First of all, I didn’t get the best before pictures. I thought photographing food was hard, but let me tell you, trying to capture awkward interior spaces is much more difficult. So you may not be able to get the breadth of just how many clothes I had and how cluttered the space was through the pictures. I’ll have to do an adequate job with my words.
Here’s a look at t-shirts, camis, and workout clothes. For some reason, I didn’t get a before shot of my tops. I’m sure I got interrupted and forgot I hadn’t finished getting pictures of the whole closet.
When I was going through this process, I asked myself four questions when deciding if I wanted to keep something or put it into the donate pile.
1. Have I worn this in the last year?
If the answer was no, it got tossed in most cases. If the answer was yes, I went on to the next question.
2. If I had nothing else to wear in my closet, would I be happy to wear this?
This helped only hold on to things that I really love. Given the right season and occasion, I wanted to make sure that I’d be happy to wear something if it was my only choice.
3. Is this item in good condition?
Strangely enough, this one was the hardest for me. I quickly realized I was holding on to clothing that I really loved, but wasn’t in great shape. I had a hard time getting rid of something that I’d loved and worn a lot, but had a small stain or hole.
4. Is this item flattering/does it fit well/is it still in style?
I was also holding on to some clothes that while I loved the look and style of them in general, they weren’t the best fit. Over the years I’ve gotten a better idea of what clothes work better for me than others, and I had a lot of clothes to get rid of that were just ill-fitting. Other things, while I loved them, were not in style anymore. (Yes, that tells you a bit about how long I keep things!)
It just kept growing until I had two large industrial size garbage bags full of clothes.
I have to say, getting rid of things is hard, yet soul cleansing. I was happy to finally get a lot of it out of my closet. You wouldn’t believe some of the clothes I had. Sports bras from college with barely any stretch in the elastic. Why did I keep them? Just why? Mini jean skirts from my 20s. Just in case? Shorts from high school. Guys, I graduated a long time ago.
Other things I tried to fight with myself to keep.
But it’s my college graduation dress! I really should keep it even though it is totally out of style. The memories!
No. You have pictures of college graduation. You don’t need the dress.
This pleather skirt was so cool. Maybe I’ll have an occasion to wear it?
Ummmm….you haven’t worn it in 12 years for a reason. No.
This was a gift! Shouldn’t I keep it?
In the end, I feel so freeeeeee!
I have so much less stuff.
Clean, organized spaces make me happy.
I bought this shirt when I was 15 years old, which makes it 22 years old! I still wear it. It’s the perfect casual weekend shopping kind of shirt. It looks like there’s a stain on it in this picture, but I don’t think there is. Must have been the light? Anyway, I’ll probably only get rid of it when it falls apart.
I’m sorry about the poor lighting of these pictures. The lighting in my closet isn’t exactly ideal for photographs. I think you get the idea of what a drastic transformation my closet went through this week.
If you haven’t cleaned out your clothing closet lately, I urge you to do it. Ask the four questions about each item you own. In the end, you will feel amazing!