Our homes are filled with so many things that bring value to our lives: our cozy couch, shoes, spatulas. Even things that might not seem like they have much value can bring us value (like those new diamond earrings that make you feel like a boss or that photo album filled with memories). However, more often than not, we're guilty of hanging onto things that don't bring us any value, therefore cluttering our homes and our lives.
For those interested in fashion, or those who just like shopping, tackling the closet clutter can be a tough task. I've struggled with minimizing my closet for years so I understand how the lines between "want" and "need" start to get blurry when looking at a pair of designer shoes. I'm here to share some good news though - there are a few easy guidelines to follow that will help make the process MUCH easier! Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when going through your closet to help you truly decide what you can (or won't) live without.
1) Is it damaged?
Ya'll this is the first stop for a reason. Worn, pilled, holey clothing and shoes is a big no-go. There's truly no need to hang on to something that is no longer in it's best state. You would never buy something off the rack that has a hole in it so why does it have a place in your wardrobe now? If it's something you truly love, it's time to replace it, but if you find yourself no longer reaching for it because the zipper is too tough, then it's safe to say you can live without it.
2) How often have you worn it?
This question is a little tricky, it's not about the last time you wore the item, it's about how frequently you've worn it. Let's do an exercise:
You only wear your chenille sweater in the winter - totally okay!
You only wear your chenille sweater once or twice each winter season because it sheds on all your leggings - not okay!
You have 3 pairs of your favorite jeans because you wear them 3-4 x per week - all good here!
That special occasion dress has yet to be worn - not so good!
You loved that sun dress in the store but just haven't worn it yet - out it goes!
We may love something when we buy it off the rack, but if it sits in your closet for more than a week, it was likely a compulsive buy. Looking at something we've never worn and telling ourselves we "love it" is a lie, and it's time to let go so we can focus on all the pieces we actually reach for in the morning. Remember that it's totally normal to have seasonal wear so it's okay if you haven't worn that sweater since last winter, but make sure it's a key piece and not something that just sits while you choose other things. Special occasion wear can also be tricky and my personal opinion is to give yourself room to have one or two special occasion pieces if it gives you peace of mind. If it stresses you out, let it go & choose to rent next time you're the guest of a wedding.
3) How does it fit?
Alright, so you've determined that it's not damaged and you do in fact wear it, so, how do you feel wearing it? This question may be hard to answer at first but think about the time you spend in that piece - is there anything that bothers you? I can't tell you how many times I've purchased (and worn!) ill-fitting clothes because they were on sale or because I loved the color, etc. etc. Truth is, no matter how much you love the color or style of that shirt, if you spend a majority of your time wearing it readjusting it, it's not really bringing you any value. Think of how it sits on your frame or if it tucks properly into your pants. Think of the comfort (or discomfort) you experience while wearing it. A sexy pair of heels are no longer sexy if you can't walk in them. If it doesn't make you feel wonderful or if you think you can find a better fit in something else, time to toss! (No matter how good the sale was when you got it).
4) Would you buy it now?
For our final round of minimizing, I want you to envision you're walking past some shops. You pass a store window, delicately decorated, and it catches your eye. You see your skirt on display - do you walk in? If it was the full price you bought it for, would you buy it again? This visualization helps us reconnect with the reason we bought it in the first place and helps us determine if we still have a need for it. If you're looking at a blazer that you use for interviewing and wear on occasion, that's a piece you may still want to keep so you have some business professional wear. However, if you bought the piece because chunky sneakers had a moment and you wanted to be a part of it, it might not be something you'd buy again. Read here for my own adventure with the chunky sneaker trend, and yes, I still have them, but can't help but think they're coming up on their expiration soon.
I love these questions because they allow you take a more objective look at your belongings. They don't encourage you to get rid of good (or even sentimental) items just to "have less," but rather ask you to look at your items with fresh eyes and evaluate if it's still serving you. After all, you deserve to feel and look your best in all situations!
I challenge you to go through your closet with these 4 questions in mind and see what you find. I bet you will be surprised!
Also be sure to check out my 3 MUST KNOW shopping tips to help keep your closet clean once you've minimized. And if you've caught the minimalism bug and can't get enough, read about my 5 easy ways to minimize the rest of your belongings as well!