Decluttering your closet: When not enough clothes is actually too much

We all have those mornings now and then where we look into our closet or dresser drawers and we think ‘I have nothing to wear!’. On the night before an interview, a special event, or while packing for a trip we just don’t seem to have enough to create the perfect outfits. But maybe the real problem is that we have too much to choose from.

Articles of clothing are things that have sucked the money out of my wallet for years. Every season, retailers drop the ‘latest fashions’ and we feel the need and the pressure to buy the clothes as soon as they hit the market. It’s important to be up to date with style right?! Well, unfortunately we’ve all been suckered into the deception that is the fashion industry. Essentially, the styles are the same year to year. Just check out some magazines. Compare and contrast a certain month over the span of a couple decades and it’s easy to see. The only difference is the featuring of an element of fashion that hasn’t been used in a while. i.e. hey – remember the renaissance? Those bell/gypsy sleeves were trendy. Let’s put them on all our tops this season. This isn’t the only example, and it happens cyclically.

The fashion industry’s clever tactics are simply a tool to keep clothing retailers in business. If we only bought clothes when we needed them, these companies wouldn’t be making the billions of dollars they do. They have tricked us into constantly thinking we need new clothes to be happy. But really, we’re wasting money when it could be better spent on life’s great experiences. It’s also messing with our psyche. All this pressure to look awesome all the time, and everything has to be brand new.

When I worked in fashion retail, I had the mindset that I had to always have the latest styles. Always in the fashion environment, I was always buying clothes I didn’t really need. Seeing all the clothes come in everyday I just had to have them. But after a while, it always felt like it was the same thing. The spending died down after a few months, but there was still that constant voice asking me if I was going to buy x or y or z each season – because I had to have it to be in style. All those trendy pieces add up, by the way.

NEWS FLASH: You can still look awesome all the time, without buying a new wardrobe or even those trendy pieces every season!

I looked into my own closet one day and had this realization. I was so frustrated with the fact that I had absolutely nothing to wear. Standing there for a couple minutes, I looked beyond the ‘nothing’ I saw. My clothes were jam packed into my closet. I couldn’t even move my hangers, there were three plastic-drawer bins full of clothes, there was another pile stacked on top, and yet I still had a dresser stuffed with clothing in the middle of my bedroom. I don’t know how I came up with the realization that if I got rid of some stuff it would be easier to decide, but I did. And I couldn’t be happier now. Then, I had way too much to choose from.

I got rid of all the old crop tops from college, those shortie shorts, the things I’ve had for years. How many hoodies and sweatpants does one need? I reduced to just a couple pairs. I tossed my favorite but now faded shirts and the things I onced loved but realistically no longer fit (as a side note, grandma was right – your body takes a different shape and form from teenager to a young woman, and beyond. You might not see it right away, but it’s true). I deleted nearly half of my wardrobe and I never felt better. When I go into my closet now, I can actually breathe.

For some people fashion is a hobby, and buying clothes and mixing outfits is just what they do. It’s a good thing to buy a few things you really like here and there every now and then.  It’s also important to have enough clothes to make it to the next time you do laundry, but if you have a closet the size of a bathroom stuffed to the ceiling, that might be a bit much. And it’s okay to buy clothes when you really need them. If you’ve got a hole in your leggings or a stain on your shirt, go ahead and buy another. Just toss the old stuff away!

If opening your closet and deciding on outfits is something you dread or have anxiety about, maybe it’s time for a purge. I tried everything on before I tossed it. I looked in the mirror and asked myself questions like: “okay, realistically when are you going to ever wear this again?”and “Does this really fit and flatter my body?”. I thanked every article for it’s service and moved on. It’s a process, but there was such a relief once I was done.

Clutter is a sucker of energy.


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