If you're anything like me, you're in desperate need of cleaning out your closet. Dressers overflowing, racks so full that clothes are falling off of the hangers, and you always seem to lack enough storage space, despite upgrading apartments. The realization we all have to have at some point is that our wardrobes are just too extensive, and since we don't have the storage capacity of Beyoncé's closet, downsizing is a must.
The biggest problem with owning a lot of stuff is that it limits your mobility; the more stuff you own, the harder it is to move around. If you're young, single, and still figuring out exactly who you are like myself, I'm guessing that you're going to want to do some traveling. Well, it's a bit hard to travel the world if you need 20 suitcases in tow for your hair and makeup products, outfits, accessories, bags, shoes, or skincare collections. Of course, you could always invest in a storage unit to solve this problem, but who really has the money to spend on something like that? Plus, getting rid of some of your stuff is a lot smarter an investment for the long haul.
My own motivation for downsizing my wardrobe is that I want to become a digital nomad and travel the world. Since my work currently isn't tying me down to one specific location, why shouldn't I take advantage of my freedom? But, I know the only way I can make this happen is if I clean house, literally, and get rid of all of the unnecessary clutter that I can't travel around with. In fact, I've been seeing how having so much stuff is stifling to my creativity and only inducing to more anxiety. I'm guessing most of you out there could probably do well with getting rid of some of your old junk, too, and while I know how hard it is to part with sentimental pieces in your wardrobe, doing so is incredibly freeing.
In the spirit of living clutter-free lives, here are nine ways to downsize your wardrobe. I would also encourage you to make the process a slow one, and don't rush to try to do it all in one weekend. Detachment takes time and giving yourself that time and space to acknowledge how your possessions have served you and then passing them on is essential to letting go of the emotional barriers.
1. Start De-Cluttering
A lot of times, clutter can accumulate without you even realizing it if you tend to leave things in piles or just have a lot of stuff. So, start by seeing exactly what is cluttered in your living space and deciphering how it ended up getting so messy to begin with. You can also find things you didn't even realize you had in the mess, so think of it as a treasure hunt instead.
2. Create A Blueprint
A common suggestion from lifestyle experts and fashion and beauty magazines is to ask yourself if you've worn said item of clothing in the last year and if you haven't, it's time to let it go. I don't think you necessarily have to use this exact guideline in your downsizing, but having a blueprint of some sort will make it a lot easier to decide what stays and what goes.
What those parameters are should depend on your lifestyle, how much stuff you want to get rid of, and why you're downsizing in the first place. Are you trying to do a complete wardrobe overhaul? You may want to get rid of anything you haven't worn in the last six months. Just looking to get rid of things that don't fit you anymore? Use comfort levels as your guide. Tailor your exact metrics to your life and reasons for cleaning house, and you'll come out with great results.
Donating your gently used clothes is a great way to give back to those who can't afford to buy new clothing, and having a motivator like that at the end of your de-cluttering could possibly make you more excited about getting rid of stuff. After all, if it's just going to go in the trash, how fun is your cleaning really going to be?
The other option at the opposite end of the spectrum of what to do with your stuff is to sell it. If you have a hard time parting with clothing that's not completely ruined or falling apart, this might be a good incentive to encourage you to get rid of items that are still in good condition. Stores like Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor allow you to sell them your gently used clothing, accessories, purses, and shoes for cash. This is great if you're in need of some extra money or want to get some cash to buy new clothes.
5. Host Or Attend A Clothing Swap
Clothing swaps are great ways to downsize your wardrobe. While the premise of a swap is to exchange items with others, you could always simply donate items to the swap and see your friends enjoy your old pieces like they're new. Or just not take the same amount of clothes as you went in with.
6. Indulge The Urge As It Comes
While we usually think of cleaning out our closets as something that we do once every few years, doing it in pieces is actually more helpful. Think about how much anxiety it can give you to have to decide on whether to keep or release clothes that you're on the fence about, and how exhausting it can be to go through the entirety of your closet in one Sunday afternoon. Instead, try doing it in phases and as the urge comes to you. This will make the process a lot less stressful and allow you to slowly detach instead of going cold turkey.
7. Go Back To Basics
If you're like me and trying to completely downsize your life for a big move or an anticipated period of uncertainty, stick with holding onto basics. While your senior prom dress may hold sentimental value, it's not really going to fit into your suitcase. See what you wear on a day-to-day basis, since most of us only wear about 20 percent of our wardrobes! Even keep track for a week what pieces you wear consistently, that work for a variety of occasions. Then, hold onto these items while purging the rest. It's a lot easier to get more clothing than it is to actually release what you have, so remember how much fun you'll have when you have room in your closet again to shop for new pieces when the time comes.
8. Give Things To Friends And Family
If you find yourself thinking about how much close loved ones would adore some of the pieces in your wardrobe that are no longer useful to you, give them to those people! You will not only make someone feel special but have the incredible satisfaction that comes from giving.
9. Hold A Yard Sale
If you have pieces you've cleaned out but are too out-of-date or used to sell on eBay or to a gently used store, try holding a yard sale. The clothing should be priced fairly cheaply, which will make up for whatever is lacking in quality for customers. Making some extra money by selling things you no longer need or want is always great and gives you motivation to part with your old clothing.
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