How cleaning out my closet changed my life
You’re probably rolling your eyes at the caption, I would be too - honestly.
But, it really did help me.
Like many other things in my life, I believed that having more clothes would make me happy. I was convinced that having more choices would mean that I was doing better, that I was achieving more and that I was ultimately succeeding.
The more money I made, the more I would spend on clothing. Yet, the more I felt I didn’t have anything to wear. I had a few pieces I loved and wore all the time but then 75% of my closet was pretty much a wasteland.
I can make many excuses about the one-time wear clothing I had because of banquets and parties, etc… but it was really just ridiculous. There was a time that I had clothes in two closets, a 9-drawer dresser and the two drawers under my bed. I was literally buried in clothing!
However, as I grew older I began taking a real look at this obsession with buying clothes. I hadn’t realized it before, but I had started to buy clothes to make myself feel better. If I was having a rough day, I would stop by the mall - convince myself that I was only taking a look, and then left with at least a pair of jeans.
When I decided to move away from home, for school, I was terrified of how I would pack two closets worth of clothes into 3 suitcases.
Whether or not you still live at home, cleaning out your childhood closet is VERY necessary. Because I had never really taken the time to clean out my closet and discard things from my childhood, my own style was unable to develop. I was still, essentially, a child living in my parents’ house with their ideas of what I should look like and how I should dress.
After reading Marie Kondo’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” I realized just how powerful it can be to discard what you no longer need. It was difficult for me to do that because it felt like throwing out my prep school uniform or my baby blanket meant that I was throwing away a memory - but the memory is already there, nobody could take it away from me and having these things clutter my space and gather dust wasn’t helping to bring forth the memory anyway.
I have learned to let go of the things that I really don’t like and had in my closet just because my mother thought it looked lovely; because my aunt bought it for a gift; or because my father thought it was trendy. Those things were really not “me”.
It took me a while to find my style and what I actually like but I finally did. Now, my closet is probably three-times smaller than it has ever been and I am so much happier.
Because of the sheer volume of the clothing I had, looking for an outfit everyday was such a chore. It was tiring to rifle through the closet and the drawers and still not be able to find what I was looking for; and because I had so many things I just wasn’t sure where anything was, so I would end up with multiple items of the same style. Waste of money and effort.
Having fewer items of clothing that I absolutely love allows me to still be fashionable and rotate my clothing much more than I used to (because I used to just keep repeating the items that were easiest to find).
This new found “calm” has affected pretty much all my relationships. It literally feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Hubby and I decided to do this “clothing cleanse” together and we have definitely grown closer, and more stylish because of it !
I still give away 5/6 bags of clothing every few months, so I wouldn’t say I’m working with a minimalist closet right now, but I am working towards it.
In the words of Marie Kondo: we are happiest when we are surrounded by the things that give us joy. What we will realize though, is that this happiness does not come from the quantity of things but the quality of the connection we have with these things that bring us joy.
So having ten of the same shirts will not really make me happier than having one shirt that I love and take care of.
Learning this with my clothing helped me to also apply it to life. Over the years, the number of friends I have has dwindled a bit. While I did not have the quantity of friends I was used to, what I had now was a real quality of connection with my friends - deeper conversations; more trust; and just pure love.
Taking care of the things you love, whether clothes or people, will make you happier in this life…and possibly the next.