That’s because I have.
Over the past 3 years I have slowly been letting go of an inordinate amount of items. Those, lonesomely collected during my years of living in Saudi Arabia and Qatar (where it wouldn’t be amiss to think of shopping as a national sport!)
It’s only this year that I now recognise while my slow and steady method might have been consistent, it has also been draining of my time and energy: It’s caused prolonged decision-making stress, instead of being spontaneously gratifying.
It’s only earlier this year, when I pledged not buying newly made clothing in 2017, (more about that in a future confessional post) that I realised procrastination in purging can be a beast of a thing, if left untamed!
So with an arsenal of ice-breakers in hand, let me share 10 tips to eradicate closet purge procrastination:
- Those lonesome orphan pieces: building a successful ‘weardrobe’ means each item is easily paired with multiple items. When we gaze at a much loved piece that always seems impossible or impractical to wear or pair with another, it’s an orphan item. Move on by purging it!
- Wear each item of clothing for a day: then, at the end of the day, ask yourself if you felt comfortable, attractive, confident and happy wearing that item of clothing, pair of shoes or accessory. If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, purge it!
- Guilt over pricy pieces: common thinking goes that if we’ve invested a high monetary value into an item, we can’t purge it, even when we don’t want it, like it, or need it. Yet the ‘cost’ of keeping it, cleaning it, and carrying the guilt of not wearing it, are all additional and unnecessary lifestyle costs. So release and purge it!
- Fear of having too little: in the 1930’s women owned on average 36 clothing items. Today it’s around 120 pieces per season. Minimalists and capsule wardrobe enthusiasts are confidently minimising to as few as 21 to 37 items per season. So really, what is truly too little? Less is more – so purge it!
- Sentimental attachments: your memories are not stored in the fibres of your clothing. Believe in yourself enough to realise that your memories are inside you. Take a photo of the item if you really need a visual to spark the memory. Then purge it!
- Wrong sized item for the now: I’ve worked with wardrobes where 90% of a client’s clothing doesn’t fit. What emotional abuse one is setting oneself up for every time that closet is opened! If you do fluctuate in size, keep only 1% of total item types for one size up or down. (Pregnancy notwithstanding)
- What was I thinking?: no doubt we can all attest to those moments of poor judgment; where a fabric, print, colour or style of item was bought on a whim, only to know that they simply don’t complement our personality, lifestyle, personal aesthetic, or figure. Purge it and move on!
- Fear of boredom: we’ve all heard it been said, “your clothes are your silent spokesperson”. I’ve come to believe we don’t need our clothes to do any of our talking! Let’s shine from within and present ourselves, not our clothes, as us! If you are bored with your well curated items, then you are better off focusing on developing your life experiences, rather than your wardrobe! Purge it and live life!
- Honing your style choices: perhaps you have difficulty in purging items because you are floundering on finding or understanding your personal style? I believe there is nobody better than you to hone your own style. While a well-meaning friend or skilful personal stylist can assist, the reality is that your time, attention, action steps and desires still need to be driven by you. I’d certainly recommend reading, and doing the exercises in Anuschka Rees’s book, The Curated Closet. For a quicker reference, watch YouTuber Justine Leconte’s ‘Find Your Style in 6 Steps’. You’ll be ready to purge once you know your style!
- Practical how-to methods: knowing how to tackle a closet cleanse can make purging fun and quick. There are plenty of tips available online, from setting up good music, ensuring no interruptions, and having snacks on hand, to trying on each and every item. Yet the single most impactful practise I’ve found works, is to empty your closet completely then, instead of focusing on what to purge, turning your attention to rehanging and folding the items which bring you joy, ensuring they are also those that you wear most! These items are worth keeping, purge the rest!
Remember, once pieces are purged, I encourage you to resell high quality, great condition pieces, while offering all remaining items to a local charity. With the up-cycling movement growing, even parts of damaged garments can be reused.