I'm throwing out half of my clothes.
Yes, half. That's a lot, for someone who's always complaining that they have nothing to wear. I have come to the inevitable conclusion however that I, like a lot of people, am not being entirely honest when I say that. I do in fact have lots to wear. I'm just bored with it all.
Well, that's not entirely fair either. I'm bored with most of it.
I started like anybody else would. I just kept buying clothes, wearing those pieces in a cycle for a few weeks, then adding them to the pile and starting over with something new. The jumble on my sofa was building. Something had to give.
Rewind back to this time last year, when I was moving out for the second time. I threw away a lot of stuff then. Things that I didn't wear anymore, things that didn't fit, and the biggest offender, things that I always thought I would eventually find the right outfit for. I booted out a whole load of stuff that fit into these categories, and I ended up with enough clothes to just about fit in my little wardrobe in my flat.
Fast-forward to now, eleven months into living here. I haven't thrown anything out since then, having been riding happily along on the high horse of last January's purge. But with great self-admiration comes great mathematical issue.
I had still been buying clothes. Lots of them. In fact, I'm pretty much back where I started.
Facing the prospect of moving once again (bringing the total number of times I've moved house to a disconcerting fourteen) I now find myself gifted with another opportunity. It's time to purge my wardrobe before the move, and this time it is merciless.
Yesterday, I watched a video on YouTube that, although it may seem to some to be a bit first-world-problems, contains a lot of wisdom that you'll need to hear if you're anything like me. Some of it I had already decided on (like what I said before about things I thought I might wear eventually), but this video did really give me a confidence boost and remind me that I could do this.
Since I'd already introduced the rules I mentioned earlier, and have gotten used to making myself get rid of clothes I didn't wear, I decided this time to bring in some tougher rules. This is the hardcore level of wardrobe-culling, and is not for the first-timer. Here's what I'm going by this time:
A tough one for almost everyone, I would say, but I know that this is my biggest issue personally. I have in my possession all manner of t-shirts and hoodies from various things I took part in, such as CTYI, my sixth year graduation hoodie, and a t-shirt from sixth class. These I am keeping. These are okay. However, my hoodie from my failed attempt at studying Psychology in UCD? Gone. My ancient, oversized I heart NY t-shirt? Gone.
(I'm keeping the I heart München one though.)
Things I don't like
Should this be obvious? Yes, but it isn't. Often I like the way an item looks on the hanger, or the way it looks on me in my head. When I put it on though, it doesn't look how I think it will, and I end up feeling weird in it all day. That evening, I put it back in my wardrobe and the cycle begins anew, because I love the pattern or the colours or whatever else about it. This needs to stop. These items will look good on other people.
It's time to let go.
Things other people like, but I don't
Similar to the last point, but these items are ones that I get compliments on (or perhaps got one compliment on, one time) and so I hold onto them, even though I never ever feel like wearing them. I don't see what those people saw, and it's my wardrobe. It's my choice. This one can be difficult, but you have to remember that it's about feeling good in what you wear, not pleasing others.
Away with these.
For some people, you might use this term to describe something you've owned for three or four years. Maybe even five. Most people my age are a different shape and size to what they were back in secondary school, but me? I stopped growing when I was about fourteen years old, and I'm still waiting on a set of hips. What this means is that I honestly still own shoes, trousers, dresses, shorts and skirts that I've owned since I was as young as thirteen. I wish I was joking. I don't wear these often, but they do still get air time. Particularly difficult for me to part ways with have been a black skirt that I bought when I was fourteen, and a pink dress that I got at fifteen. Just because they still fit and look good, does not make it okay.
Out they go.
Things that are well-loved
Hands-down the most difficult category to get through. This is the big leagues. These are the clothes that I have loved so much, that have gone with so many things, that have been brought to different countries and worn to different outings, and have been so thoroughly loved that they are just worn out. They're knobbly or they're going threadbare or whatever else. They've been good to me, but they've served their time.
I have to let go.
So there you have it. It's been tough, I've found myself talking to t-shirts and dresses more often than I'd like to admit, but I have absolutely been the most merciless I have ever been. I am two large refuse sacks of clothes lighter, and I feel really good about it.
My aim eventually is to try and have a mostly neutral wardrobe based on foundation pieces, where most everything can be mix-and-matched. That's the dream, although I do know it is a while away yet! For now, I'll be attempting to stick to my resolution to toss an equal amount of items whenever I buy anything new. Now there is a real challenge!
If you're like me, and you want to turn your spilling-over, daytime-television-style-hoard of clothes into a capsule wardrobe, I hope this post has lit a fire for you. Take from it what you need, add your own rules, and feel inspired!