Categorized | Workplace

Out of the Closet

Posted on 22 May 2011

Sifting through stuffed closets and drawers can be a shocking experience when you realize how much you’ve packed away over the years. The thought of tackling a neglected wardrobe can be so overwhelming that it will test your power of focus and determination–I can almost guarantee that the couch and TV will seductively call your name. Fight the urge to avoid the clothing purge because, in the long run, the payoff will be better than any sitcom.

To gain a clearer understanding of why so many of us exhibit packrat tendencies, let’s begin by examining four reasons for what I like to refer to assaver behavior.

Weight Gain
Over the years you, like your closet, have packed away a few extra pounds. You tell yourself that it’s just a matter of time before you’re back to your fighting weight. This is enough reason for you to leave your favorite shirts, pants, dresses, and skirts right where they are.

By purging your world of clutter at least once a year, you’ll make room for new ideas and a fresh perspective.

Unless you’re talking about losing 15 or 20 pounds, go ahead and donate the clothes. By the time you lose the weight you’ll feel so proud of reaching your goal that you’ll probably want to celebrate by purchasing a few stylish outfits. Besides, the healthy way to lose unwanted pounds–and keep them off–is slowly, about two pounds per week. If you have 20 pounds to drop, for example, it will take you nearly three months to lose the weight. And by that time a whole new season of designs and colors are sure to be in full swing.

Bargain Shopping
Bargain shoppers have a difficult time buying responsibly. They are motivated to purchase clothing because it’s on sale. They wear it once and cram it into the closet–or never wear it at all. A year later, it dangles there, collecting dust, often with the price tag still securely attached. No matter how great the deal, if you don’t feel and look fabulous in the clothes, you won’t wear them. So, try to buy one quality piece for $60 instead of three so-so items for $20 apiece. You’ll stretch your fashion dollar by investing in quality clothes that last.

Sentimental Saving
Some poor souls can’t throw anything out because there’s always a memory or feeling attached. If you ask them why they won’t part with a particular outfit or accessory, they’ll most likely tell you that someone special (or not-so-special) gave it to them. How could they possibly discard such a gift? Or perhaps they spent a small fortune on some shirt, suit, blouse, tie, etc. Whatever the case may be, the sentimental saver peers into the closet and feels weighed down by gifts and outdated items that just take up space. Holding onto clothes that don’t make you look great or that no longer serve a purpose keep you stuck in the past. Liberate yourself of the emotional baggage associated with these items by giving them to those in need! You’ll feel better about yourself and make room for change.

Back-in-Style Saving
The back-in-style saver never worries about an outdated wardrobe because, if they hold onto things long enough, they will miraculously be back in vogue. Believe me, they never come back. The styles of the 60s, 70s, and 80s mirror the decade in which they were created. Designers are sure to be influenced by decades past, but they always create their fashions with the latest fabrics and cutting edge techniques. Textiles and technology leave the indelible print of a moment in time.

If you are in anyway related to one or all of these aforementioned types, it’s time to clean out your closet and follow a few rules:


  1. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it. Select a month to conduct this yearly ritual (Springtime is the obvious choice).
  2. Set aside a day in your chosen month to sort, toss, and donate.
  3. Ask a friend or loved one to lend an impartial eye.
  4. Rearrange the cleaned closet by separating work, weekend, evening and formal.
  5. Stained, tattered, or torn clothes should be cut up and used for polishing the car or dusting around the house.

Observing the one-year rule is a fantastic way to help keep your wardrobe clutter-free and your mind open to new possibilities. It will also make it easier to assess the clothing you keep. By purging your world of clutter at least once a year, you’ll make room for new ideas and a fresh perspective. Adding new clothes can help lift your spirit and boost your self-esteem.

Once you the take time to rid yourself of the things you never use, you’ll begin to feel a sense of freedom. Attacking your closets will empower you to embrace change, not fear it.


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