Don’t do laundry for a week.
That’s the accidental trick I used to figure out what I don’t wear.
Last week was super busy: choir dress rehearsals, a board meeting, cleaning the house before my parents arrived into town. And as a result, my typical laundry schedule got delayed by several days. Over the weekend, I found myself digging down into the darkest corners of my closet to find something to wear.
And as I surveyed those neglected shirts and skirts, I realized something: I don’t want to wear them. Sure, I will wear them when left with no choice, but why am I holding onto duplicate tees in weird colors and too low-cut blouses, and styles that no longer suit my taste or lifestyle?
I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder. I purge odds and ends every week, mostly previously thrifted stuff I picked up on a whim from the shop I work at. But I do get attached to some things I think I need when I actually don’t: a bright red t-shirt that’s in style but doesn’t suit my complexion, a pair of jeans I wanted to love but that don’t fit me right, a skirt with broken elastic that I know I’ll never repair (though, there’s another point in there about committing to repairs instead of throwing things out). Sometimes it’s time to say goodbye.
Since I work in the secondhand industry, I am very cautious about recommending closet purges. The fact of the matter is that you may very well be the last owner of the goods you currently have. Even high quality items sometimes fail to find a new home on the secondhand market.
So getting rid of things is a serious matter, and sometimes I wish we were forced to look at all the things we’ve acquired over a lifetime and gotten rid of so we really understand that even a clean home is littered with the ephemeral carcasses of goods we purged long ago. Things do not simply disappear, or find a good home.
But there is inevitably going to be fallout if we take this premise too far – living in an overstuffed home isn’t good either. So the best thing we can do is take care to make better purchases the first time, and responsibly clear out what we can’t use any longer.
Don’t rely on thrift shops to help you “hide the body” that is your over-consumption. But know when it’s time to let go.
So I’m going home today and packing up a tidy bag of unwanted clothes to bring to the thrift shop. And I’ll cross my fingers that they all get adopted.