Closet Purging and the Elusive (i.e Impossible) Capsule Wardrobe

cool-walk-in-closets-19

Well, hello there. Its been about 17 years since I posted last, but seeing as how I just paid $18 to renew my domain name for another two years I figured I should make good use of this site! I apologize in advance – this isn’t a pretty picture fashion bloggy post. This is mostly just myself babbling a bit. But maybe some of you feel this way, too.

If you know me at all, and my guess is that anyone reading this probably does, two of my biggest obsessions are 1) shopping (for clothes)  2) getting rid of stuff (mostly clothes)

It is the weird paradox that is Heather. I am concurrently obsessed with obtaining more stuff while at the same time purging the items that I do have. So, I’ve sort of fallen into this notion of the much talked about and always feared “capsule” wardrobe.

Sidenote – are you as intrigued by the Tiny House movement as I am? I’m just fascinated by the idea of living more simply. I’ve always been weirdly interested by the the notion of “purging” stuff and living with only with the most basic necessities. I’ll get back to how this sidenote about Tiny Houses fits in with my quest for the capsule wardrobe.

I’m going to tell you a story despite the fact that I know that you’ll think I’m a lunatic afterwards. When I was little, I had two equally weird role playing games that I’d play in my own disturbed little head. Sometimes I would pretend that I had to give away ALL of my toys; for some reason, I’d pretend that I was forced to choose ONE toy, and with this one toy I would have to be happy forever. Just one. I think I usually settled on a Pound Puppy or a My Little Pony (Probably Applejacks or Moondancer. I loved those two) Weird, I know. But the next little mental game I played as a child makes this seem normal. I’d also pretend that I had to choose one ROOM in the house in which I could live, and it would be the only room I’d be allowed in. Ever. Like a prison cell deal. I’d always choose the bathroom, b/c to me the tub seemed like a good bed substitute and I’d have unlimited access to water. I always had a bit of a penchant for bathrooms.

So, there is some background info on me. Clearly, psychologically I’ve always wanted to unload the extraneous and live with the most basic items possible. I’ve never ACTUALLY done this, and if you’ve seen my underwear drawer or my jewelry box you know this to be true. But I’m trying. And now back to Tiny Houses.

Let me say that I would never actually have the guts, balls, gumption, or whatever it takes to downsize into 250 sq feet, but wow, the idea seems so freeing. Less stuff. Less space. Less space to store the aforementioned stuff. It just makes sense to me. I am a person who believes in making use of every single square inch of my living space – I’ve never quite understood why some people (and if this is you, I don’t mean to offend) require a 4 bedroom house for, say, 3 people. Or, 3.5 bathrooms. Is there really a need for all of these bedrooms? Are there ever 4 people in your home who must piss at the exact same moment? Maybe you wholly disagree with me. Maybe you NEED a workout room, an office and a guest room in your house. To each, his own. For me, I favor a small, cozy, well organized space that contains only items that I love (or need) and makes smart use of every possible nook and cranny.

I took a glance at Marie Kondo’s Super magical tidying up book. It seems to have almost a cult following and it appeared that it might be right up my alley. Alas, it was damn kooky. While I can kinda sorta understand where she is coming from – “only keep items which bring you joy” – I have to ask myself, does my can opener really bring me joy? And how about my bathroom scale? And dental floss? Nope, but I still need them. Also, the weird part about storing socks flat b/c they’ve “worked hard on your feet and need a rest” – yeah. Crazy. But, again – whatever floats your boat, friends. If it gets you purging, then who am I to judge?

What is my very long winded point, here, you ask? How does a real life real shopper real person declutter and purge ones closet? I think I have the answer. I’ve been poring over blogs and articles on this very subject and, friends, I have the REAL answer here. I’ve already started this process, and hope to be finished up by the end of the summer. THREE STEPS FRIENDS. None of that “turn your hangers around” or “put it in a bag in another closet for three months” crap. THREE steps for you to do today. Or, you know, sometime soon.

1) Having a true capsule wardrobe is UNREALISTIC. Stop forcing it on yourself. The idea of discarding all of your pants and keeping three pairs is silly. Likewise, the notion that you’d love to fit all of your clothing into one suitcase is also silly. Don’t compare yourself to these internet people who claim to have tossed out 80% of their clothes. I think many of them are fakey fakers. Cut yourself some slack. This is trial and error.

2) The most important step – STOP THE BLEEDING. Yup. You must stop (or at least DRASTICALLY cut back on) your shopping. Why get rid of stuff if you’re just replacing it with new stuff the next day? Admittedly this is the hardest part for me. I mean, the fitting room lady at Marshalls knows me. I challenged myself last month to quit shopping cold turkey. Yes, I failed, but not miserably. I purchased 2 pairs of vegan sandals (so hard to find cute vegan shoes!) a classic denim jacket, a basic striped tee, and a pair of black skinnies. I considered these all to be classic pieces and replacements for items that I was planning on getting rid of – leather shoes, my old denim jacket, which is out of style and will graduate to our upstate house as a layer to wear by the fire, and my old black skinnies which were too big from the day I purchased them. Give yourself a little bit of leeway. I know myself, and I know that I won’t quit shopping in one fell swoop, but I can certainly limit myself to no more than 3 new items per month with the stipulation that if I bring in new items, I have to purge the same amount of old items. EVERY addition should be justified.

3) I know this is cliché – and I’m pretty sure I’ve had SOME people mock me for this phrase before – but you should only keep/buy things that make you feel like a 10. Five year old jeans that are out of style now a little bit? Purge. A sweater that you like, but the fabric is itchy? Purge. Shirt that you never wear because it emphasizes your bra fat? Purge. Aside from pj’s and workout/lounge clothes, you should love (or at least feel good in) everything you own. Life is too short to worry about muffin top and panty lines. Get rid. Sell. Donate. Toss if stained/ripped. For God’s sake, use eBay. I started selling my stuff on eBay about 3 1/2 years ago and to date I’ve made $31,426. Yes, you read that correctly. This might mean that you have to replace some items – but you’ll be replacing them with items that fit well, work with your age/lifestyle, and make you feel good when you put them on. That’s got to be worth more than a drawer full of jeans that fit you a few years ago but now they just stare at you, mocking you, saying, “hey Heather remember when you were a size 4 for about 10 minutes at age 26? Well, nanapoopoo we don’t fit you anymore!” Get rid of those bastards. They’re just not good for your Zen, friends.

I used to think that the notion of having a massive, well stocked, walk in closet with 50 pairs of shoes would be the ultimate cats meow. Maybe its my old age 🙂 but nowadays I just want a (large) handful of well fitting pieces that I love. Baby steps, friends. I’m no expert. I still have a size 4 dress in there that I look at, wistfully, and remember the days when my belly wasn’t jelly, but I’m getting there.

And in unrelated news, here’s my cat:

pook

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3 thoughts on “Closet Purging and the Elusive (i.e Impossible) Capsule Wardrobe

  1. jody deschenes

    love it and agree…except for one thing…pj’s and workout and lounge clothes? you should ALSO love (or at least feel good in) – maybe even moreso – because personally i spend more hours in my days in these! these are the ones you see yourself in the most, and also the ones that can make you feel even worse about yourself if they are icky! exercise, sleep & lounge in comfy, attractive things that you love! most importantly, i think pj’s and loungewear should be ok in the event you have to go to the ER (i have) or evacuate for a fire (i have).
    but yes, purge EVERYTHING that isn’t comfy, intact, well fitting, blah blah blah! i’m with you!

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    Reply
    1. mimacat14 Post author

      LOL I may or may not own a 10 year old Jagermeister shirt that I got free at a bar that is littered with holes that I still wear regularly 🙂

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