Last time, in part one of this series, we talked about how to make the shopping process more efficient by asking yourself 5 questions in order to not end up with items we will not be wearing.
Today, I would like to propose you 5 questions to ask yourself while wardrobe purging. 5 Questions that will help you to be strict when cleaning out your closet of those items that you are, in fact, not wearing.
First of all, I would suggest you to tackle this project on a day where you have a lot of time and to approach it with a playful mindset rather than a "must clean, must get rid of, must". If you can, enlist the help of someone whose opinion you trust and who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. I normally ask my husband, because he has no qualms telling me when things, in his opinion, look like crap. I might not always concur, but I find it helpful to fortify my decision when I already felt very underwhelmed about something.
Do prepare to make piles. Commonly in articles about closet cleaning you'll read "pile of keep", "pile of donate", "pile of sell", "pile of trash". Personally I do not have a real sell pile anymore. Why? Eh, for one, nowadays certain items are so easy (and more precisely cheap) to replace that selling them is near pointless. It is also very rare that I remove a splurge item, a.k.a something I paid a substantial amount for from my closet, because when I invest, I play for keeps. That and I actually have two donation piles. One that goes directly to charitable organisations and one that goes to my sisters. There just isn't enough left to warrant an entire pile! So, designate piles / bags / boxes but in a way that makes sense to you. For example, I have a box of "Maybe, baby".
Inside the "Maybe, baby" box go some seasonal things and those items where I am on the fence about whether to get rid of them or not. My deal with myself is "If I didn't pull it out in X months or cannot even remember its existence after Y time, I'll get rid of it.". It turns out, a lot of times it is out of sight, out of mind.
I said above to approach the whole thing with a playful mindset because I am of the idea that if you are already tackling such a possibly daunting task - and I get it, I really do. I've been standing there not being able to get rid of things more than once, but as with everything, perfect practise makes perfect. Anyway, if you are already tackling such a possibly daunting task, you may as well make it entertaining. And get some additional value out of it. Let me explain:
What better time to experiment with your wardrobe than when you are already pulling out and trying on everything? Have some fun! Get bold, get creative, try things slightly (or lots) outside of your comfort zone.
5 Simple Questions to ask while Wardrobe Purging
1. Did you wear it in the last X months?
I am not going to name a fixed number here, because this obviously changes from piece to piece. Some things are seasonal and I'd end up without any sandals if I'd ask for the last 3 months in January. Or winter coats if I ask for 6 months in October. Some items are specific occasions only, yet still good to have because these events are periodically re-occuring. Generally so, I would aim for approximately one year. Or the last time you can remember. I used to have things in my wardrobe I have never ever worn and in most cases it was because I didn't properly asses the item whilst shopping.
Some items have clear sentimental value (you will find the advice to take pictures of it and dump it anyway, but I have some things I wouldn't want to do this with)
2. Does it go with anything else, anything at all in your wardrobe?
This question relates more to tops and bottoms as dresses can be considered stand alone most of times. If it doesn't, why is it still in there?
Now is the time to get experimental and see if you cannot come up with a way to combine it with something you hadn't considered before, provided you can say "Yes" to questions number 3, 4 and 5. Ready, set, go!
3. Is it still in good condition?
I know, I know there are some things that we love to wear precisely because they have become comfy (or cool!) thanks to repeated wear , but generally speaking why would you want to dim your light by wearing faded crap?
If it is washed out, if it's starting to pile, if it lost form, if it is smelly ... get rid of it. No matter how frugal you think you are. And I've been to that place. That "but it is still wearable around the house/for garden work/for just...". No. No no no no no. You know why? I ended up wearing those things instead of the nicer ones even when I shouldn't have. And I felt it.
In case the garment is damaged (holes, ripped seams, broken zipper, missing buttons) can it be repaired easily and fairly cost effective?
4. Does it still fit you?
This first of all obviously refers to the size and cut. Does it fit you right now? If it doesn't consider getting rid of it, rather than keeping it for "shrinking in to" or "in case I gain weight". Could it be easily altered to fit once more? Consider whether the item is worth investing the time or additional money in.
However, this question also refers to whether it fits you as a person. Is that shirt, sweater, skirt, scarf etc. displaying properly and truly who you are, or who you want to be? Do you feel you in it rather than wearing a costume or hiding away, fitting in?
5. Do you love it?
And I mean love it. Does it make you feel enthusiastic? Jumpy, giddy, does it put sass & a spring in your step, a smile on your face? If you are just feeling "maeh" about it, for whatever reason, get rid of it. You aren't going to wear it. Or if you do, chances are you are going to feel like "maeh" whilst doing it. Trust. And who wants that? One should only have things that infuse joy. Confidence. Grace.
Obvious exceptions here are work related uniforms and requirements or other non negotiable practical reasons.
P.S. I went through these questions with my mother who was wondering whether to keep and alter a pant suit or just get rid of it. After answering No to 3 out of 5 questions, she tossed it. Still, if you end up not discarding a single item but managed to gain some new outfit combinations from trying out different things as suggested, it is still a success in my book.
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