This weekend, I unceremoniously made the decision to clean out my closet. It was something I’d been meaning to do for weeks months, and with a free afternoon on the horizon, it seemed like as good a time as any. So, I grabbed a couple of bags, threw open my closet doors, and spent the day saying “keep or don’t keep” to every clothing item I owned.
I should say that getting rid of clothes is not something I’m good at. I keep clothes far longer than I should, even when I know I’m not going to wear them, and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, a study from 2013 found that 85 percent of women keep clothes that don’t fit in their wardrobe. That’s pretty mind-blowing, right?
Anyway, as I was gutting my closet, I came to several realizations about fashion trends and the act of keeping clothing that we don’t wear. The first thing I discovered is that:
Saying goodbye to clothes is hard
Getting rid of clothes can be a struggle. It can be a downright miserable experience. As you identify items that don’t fit anymore or haven’t been worn in a long time, your brain starts searching for ways to justify you keeping them. You tell yourself that you’ll make an effort to wear your long-forgotten pieces or use the current weather patterns as an excuse. But ultimately, if you decide to keep them, these neglected items will end up shuffling around your closet for the next five years. It may go against your instincts, but if you don’t wear something, the best thing you can do is get it out of there.
Though we have a tendency to save as many things as we can, it doesn’t actually do us any good. If anything, it makes your closet more cluttered and difficult to navigate. If something is taking up space for no reason, you’ve got to let it go. Don’t hold onto clothes for the sake of holding onto them.
The late 2000s had some trends that were…questionable at best
From long tunics to cropped leggings, the late 2000s had some fashion trends that make me question what we as a world were thinking. Though there were a few hidden gems (can we please bring back those Gossip Girl-style headbands?), I think it’s safe to say fashion has improved since then. However, I can’t say I regret partaking in most of these trends. After all, it is through experimentation that we develop our sense of style. Fashion is a constantly changing learning experience. You’re supposed to take risks that you sometimes end up despising years later.
Looking at the outfits I wear today, I feel confident that I won’t be embarrassed about them ten years from now. But, then again, who really knows? I probably didn’t anticipate that I would turn on the styles I adored six or seven years ago. I cleared my closet of all the trends that now make me cringe, which included a pair of capri dress pants, a ruffled blouse, and some bright neon sneakers. Here’s to hoping that none of them make a comeback.
Clothing can serve as keepsakes
Maybe it’s because I love fashion, but going through my closet made me incredibly nostalgic. With nearly every piece I picked up, a memory resurfaced. I was reminded of birthdays, day trips, and other various mundane events from over the years. It was almost like looking through a photo album. It was fun until I realized how much harder it was becoming for me to get rid of things. A dress I no longer wear was difficult to part with when I remembered buying it on a memorable vacation. I had to quickly shift away from the nostalgia before it could derail my plans to declutter.
Basics really are the best
The items I consistently found myself wanting to keep were, of course, my old, reliable basics, which I’ve noticed deserve much more appreciation than they get. Trends may come and go, but basics are forever. No matter what’s popular, you’ll always be able to depend on a plain tee and a pair of blue jeans.
Sometimes you think you’ll love something and then totally neglect it
Do you ever buy something that you’re convinced you’ll wear all the time, only to get home and completely forget about it? It doesn’t happen too often, but every now and then, I purchase a clothing item thinking it will become a staple of my wardrobe and only end up wearing it once or twice. Thinking about this had made me more cautious about my purchases, even the inexpensive ones. Over time, every dollar adds up. You don’t want to waste any of your money on something that isn’t worth it.
Reflecting on it now, it’s easy for me to see why cleaning out your closet can be so challenging. No one likes to say goodbye to things they own, especially things they once had emotional or financial investment in. I don’t ever expect to be Marie Kondo, but hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to get rid of useless clutter without feeling so badly about it.
Do you like cleaning out your closet?