Good morning friends!
For the month of January, I’ve been participating in the #DeclutterLikeAMother challenge. The goal is to spend 30 minutes each day targeting an area of your home and the focus is on progress, not perfection. Previous weeks focused on bathrooms and closets, kitchen, and toys. This week’s focus was clothing.
About four years ago, long before the Netflix documentary brought about her KonMari frenzy, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and implemented a lot of her strategies. I literally emptied my entire closet and all my drawers and went through every single item, only keeping what brought me joy. After that experience, I really have shifted my focus to trying to keep only the items I really love or that serve a purpose and get worn. I also apply this to what I buy and only purchase items I really truly love. While I periodically go through my closet and purge, and I do the same with LJ’s things, my closet has remained very manageable since my first KonMari experience. I don’t have a lot of clothing, but I also don’t have a “capsule wardrobe.” I don’t subscribe to any rules about what to keep or what not to keep other than: I keep what I love and I wear what I keep. That being said, I still did get rid of some items this week!
Of the things I got rid of, I noticed two distinct categories: things I once loved and things for future use. I had a skirt and a cardigan that I absolutely loved once upon a time and would have once listed as my favorite, most-frequently-worn items. But they both have holes now and to be honest, they were both “teacher” items. My stay-at-home mama clothing needs are different than my teacher needs. I don’t wear the teacher-y items and looking at them now, I don’t love them anymore. I just did once. Into the recycling bag they went. I also got rid of a few other items that I once wore a ton but just don’t anymore.
The other category was things for future use. The bulk of these were maternity clothes. I had someone offer me maternity clothes for cheap after she was done having babies. This was so generous! The problem was, she and I aren’t the same size normally. And I wasn’t very far along in my pregnancy with LJ when she offered. So I bought clothes I thought I might use in the future. Unfortunately, even in the last weeks of my pregnancy, these clothes still didn’t fit well because they weren’t the right size. So there clothes didn’t fit and honestly weren’t much my style, yet I kept them because I thought they served a specific purpose for a specific window of time. Honestly though, I have enough clothes that I bought that I like and are the correct size, so there is no need to keep what didn’t really work.
I didn’t declutter much this week because clothing is something I do try to regularly stay on top of. I thought I would share a few of the strategies I use for maintaining the clothing we take in and the clothing we keep (“we” meaning LJ and I. Justin is in charge of his own clothing and I don’t worry about what he keeps or doesn’t keep). Most of these are pretty simple concepts, but they have all served me well!
Accept the size you are right now.
When I got married, I was my smallest size ever. I was working out a ton, eating super well, and had that wedding dress goal that motivates like none other. A few years into marriage, I had gained a little weight back. I still felt healthy and strong, but my body naturally is happier at a slightly bigger size than my wedding size. I held on to my smallest jeans for so long thinking “I paid good money for these and what if I drop a size and fit into them again?” so I kept them for far too long. The problem with this thinking is that I wasn’t accepting that my body was happy and healthy at it’s current size; I was holding on to the mentality that smaller was better. Plus, let’s think about this. I got married almost 6 years ago. Jeans that were in style in 2013 are not jeans that are in style in 2019. I didn’t own skinny jeans then. I don’t really wear flared jeans now. Even if I had kept those jeans to this day and fit into them again, I probably wouldn’t want to wear them. I’ve learned it’s better to accept your current size and keep what works for you now and let go of what doesn’t (unless you’re going through some huge transition like pregnancy or postpartum).
Keep a bag for worn-out or damaged textiles.
I keep a bag behind my closet door where I’ll toss in old clothing with holes, stains that don’t come out, or other damage. I’ll also toss in old items that are not worth donating (clean but used underwear, socks, etc) and whenever the bag gets full, I’ll take it in to H&M for their textile recycling program. I love this program – I clear out old clothing that I don’t want but isn’t in good shape to donate and the clothing stays out of a landfill. Plus, for every bag of textiles you donate, you get a coupon to use at H&M! Win-win!
Be discerning as things come in.
This is a particularly big one for LJ’s clothes. We had a huge influx of clothing when he was born! Some people bought new outfits as gifts, others were happy to donate outgrown clothing from their babies. I was truly so thankful for the generosity of everyone who gave us clothes! But the truth of the matter is, we had way more than we needed. We got so many 0-3 month outfits that we couldn’t get through them all before he was the next size up. We also got things that were in good condition, but just not at all my style or something I would have picked for LJ. And I got a lot of donated clothing that was way too big for him and would take years (literally) to grow into. So I had to learn to be discerning with what I kept from the beginning. I looked at what all we had, thought about what we needed, and kept only what I knew would work for us. Whatever we didn’t need, I turned around and donated to various places. There are so many organizations out there to help young single mothers or struggling families and I was so happy to donate items we didn’t need to these places.
Kids clothing: be discerning about what you keep for siblings.
LJ spit up a ton when he was little, and baby spit up can stain over time. Once he outgrew them, the stained items went in the H&M recycling bag. No matter how cute the item was originally, I did not save a stained item for a future baby. I also didn’t save items that I didn’t enjoy using. For example, I had a few really cute baby sleepers that I liked the look of, but they had snaps. Why oh why do companies do this?? I absolutely hated snap-up sleepers. When you have a sleepy, squirmy baby with a poopy diaper in the middle of the night, a snap sleeper is super annoying to work with. I prefer zip-up sleepers and that’s what I buy if I have the choice. So once LJ outgrew the snap ones, these went into the donate pile and I only kept the zip-up ones.
What tips do you have for purging clothing?