A popular thing to do at the end of a year/begining of new one, is to rid your household of unwanted items. One of my goals (not a resolution) for 2017 is to generally live a less cluttered life. In fact, I’ve spent most of my holidays, going through every box, bag, nook and cranky to sort out the stuff that’s important and the crap I’ve simply forgotten about.
Now, this is hardly a new concept. In fact, there’s even pretty popular book on the subject, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which recommends that you puts your hands on each and every item and decide if it brings you joy. Frankly, I’ve never read the book; only heard about it through anecdotes and the pop-culture reference in the latest Gilmore Girls installment.
So I can’t attest if the method works, but I can vouch that cleaning out your closet is the hardest thing. Ever. So many beautiful things, so many things I love, it’s hard to let go. However, I’ve come up with a few concrete items that you can easily purge from your closet now and start down the path of a less cluttered lifestyle.
Old faded black shirts
Black is my favorite go-to color and black t-shirts work with everything. I tend to go for the simple cotton variety and over the years I’ve collected my fair share. However, after many, many, many, washes, they can hardly be called black anymore. PURGE!
Shoes that hurt
Ladies (and gents), let’s get real. No matter how cute the shoe, if you can’t make it more than 5 minutes in them without your little piggies screaming, it’s time to rethink those shoes. It’s just not worth it. Heels are the usual culprit, so here’s a great little tip for testing out the right heel height – you should be able to raise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels at least one inch off the ground. That means there should be enough room for you actually naturally roll your foot and bend your ankles so you don’t look like a new-born giraffe learning how to walk. Otherwise, GOODBYE!
Things that don’t fit
So, I used to be a little skinny-mini. I could eat a large pizza in one sitting and not gain a pound. Oh to be 19 again. However, our lives and our bodies change. As a thirty-something, I’ve come to the hard realization that I may never get back there again.. But that’s totally okay!
However, there’s no point in hoarding a whole closet full of clothes that don’t fit. I believe in dressing the body you have, whatever the shape, and looking your best at any size. Holding onto an entire wardrobe of clothes that don’t fit can often have the opposite effect – depressing instead of motivating. However, if you want some inspiration to get into shape, keep one or two of your favorite pieces. As for the rest, LET THEM GO!
Gifts that someone gave you that you never really liked
This is a hard one. I truly appreciate the fact that people spent their time and hard-earned money on something that I might like but it doesn’t always hit the mark. Or maybe it was one of those secret santa exchanges with your coworkers and you ended up with a total dud. Rather than letting those gift take up precise space your closet, appreciate the thought and gesture.. And then MOVE ON!
In college, my friends and I made a bet to see who could collect the most free t-shirts in a year. I totally won and collected a whooping 27 t-shirts. And yes, those shirts did manage to follow me for the last ten years. Add the random volunteer events, races, and conference swag.. my drawer was bursting with a myrid of shirts that ranged from XS to XXL. People, you don’t need all of them. Keep the ones that hold a special memory or achievement. Otherwise, it’s OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!
So what to do with all of your purged items?
There are so many worthy causes and people in need that could use a little help. A word of caution though – beware of those big donation bins. There have been reports that they aren’t the most charitable. Instead, go for a local favorite. In DC, Martha’s Table is a great organization. Easier yet, Amazon has launched a really cool program that allows anyone to fill an Amazon shipping box with donations, print out a free shipping label, and they will send it the nearest Goodwill.
Have a swap party
Another way to breath life into your old items is to have a swap party! Invite your friends over with their purged items and everyone can go “shopping”. The best part is that it’s a free way to freshen up your closet and you might even end up with your “new” favorite piece!
If you have items in great condition that were purchased fairly recently, then you can definitely find a consignment shop or sell them online. Best part, you get a little money back, so you can invest it right back into your wardrobe. Obviously.
Good luck decluttering!