ON YOUR MARK GET SET – TOSS
Recently my daughter Taylor told me I should do a blog telling people how to organize their lives. I told her I thought I did that. She said, you need to tell them how get rid of stuff and keep it all tidy.
I found this remarkable as my OCD, everything has a place mantra and my constant purging of everyone’s belongings drove her mad. But when she moved into her own apartment she suddenly saw the value of it.
While I have been a good purger for years, it wasn’t until I got rid of the color from my closet this summer that I realized how much I was in fact holding on to.
Not everyone wants to go the neutral route. It’s like not everyone wants to give up carbs or sugar. It just happens to be what I want to do. But I think if everyone were to go open their drawers and closets right now and take a good look, they would see endless things that have worn out their welcome and that haven’t been worn in perhaps decades.
Hoarding and holding on to things only causes chaos. I believe that. There are things one should keep. But there is more one should either sell or donate than the average person does.
There are some questions to ask yourself first. Do you have five to ten items you go to time and time again? A pair of pants. A sweater. A blazer. A style of shirt. If so take them out and put them on.
What is it about them you like? Chances are they fit you really well. We naturally gravitate to what fits us. We steer clear of that odd dress we bought on a whim that makes us look like a lamb chop. We wear to death those navy pants that make us feel tall and skinny. So grab all those things. All the things you love and wear again and again; and see what they have in common.
Once you have identified all the things you love. Check them for holes, stains, or tears. Get them fixed. They are not only your keepers, but they are your guides for what you really want to wear and what you will buy in the future.
Now grab all the stuff you wear sometimes. Try each one on. Do they look good? When you wear them is it out of guilt?
Do they look like you now or do they look like you from years ago? If this is you from the 90’s – chuck it. Unless it’s a really good piece and you can either re-sell it or give it your kid who is just discovering Beverly Hills 90210 and wants to dress like it’s 1992.
When I say chuck I don’t mean throw out. Put it to the side. Everything can find a home. There is too much need in the world. But we will deal with that later.
Next – your jeans. If there is one thing we all have a lot of in our closets it is jeans. Fat jeans, skinny jeans, ripped jeans we buy on a whim only to get home and feel foolish in. Jeans that are some wonky wash we really hate and takes us back to when Elton John was in the top 40. Try them all on. How many really fit well? REALLY FIT WELL?
Write down who makes them and what style they are. If you have bought them in the last year or two chances are they are still making them. Go buy a few more pair. I did that. I found one style of J.Brand and one of Current Elliot I loved. I bought them in several washes and got rid of all the ones I really didn’t love or wear. Now I only have jeans that fit.
Fit is king. Fit and comfort is at the core of style. Especially when it comes to jeans. Now when I try on jeans in stores I can identify what I don’t like. Fussy back pockets. No. Rips. No. Acid wash. Never. I am over feeling like someone has tied me into my jeans. I want a slightly looser fit. Make note of these things. They are important.
Now go to all the things you haven’t worn in a year, two, three, ten. Dump them on your bed. If you haven’t worn it in ten years you won’t – ditto for 2-9 year. You just won’t. You don’t like it anymore. You don’t. Admit it.
If it has real sentimental value or some possible vintage appeal and you have the room, you can keep it.
When I purged my closets recently I had some things I could not part with. There is the white Jones NY jacket I bought ten minutes after I left Taylor off at college the first day. I never wore it. I only bought it because I had to buy something fast. But it holds a a big memory.
I now have three garment bags in a back closet with things I can’t part with. But there are notes inside as to why. The lesson here being if you cannot justify keeping it for a real reason, not just guilt over buying it – It goes.
Now, take a paper and write down what you are missing. Is it a perfect boot? A simple black blazer? What do you need now? What can you hold off on? What can you afford now? What can you save for and buy later. List list all that. Then fill it in as you can and need to.
Do it with your kids. I did this with Lucy the other day. She had things from second grade she was holding on to. She is about to go into high school. She was amazed at things she loved that she never wore as they were hidden by the crap she never touched. She was thrilled and she has been dressing better as she doesn’t just reach for the thing at the top of the heap.
What to do with it all?
The good stuff – RealReal is a good site. They take designer things and they sell them fast. It’s a great way to pick up some money so you can get the things you like and need.
Here is a list from Mashable for six sites for old clothes you want to make some money on.
Then the things you can’t make money on donate. Every town has endless places. The Boys and Girls Club literally wrong our door bell the other day and asked if we had things. They are coming back this week and getting three big bags. I gave four bags of things to The Retreat out here which takes care of abused women and children. So look around your community, someone will want and use the things you no longer do.
Dress for Success is a very worthy site. They give clothes to women who can’t afford things for job interviews. I have a box I’m sending them next week.
Now I take a lot of ribbing for my purse obsession. And yes, I do have some really nice bags. But I also did a purge on those. I had quite a few I didn’t use. So I took them to a high end resale shop and literally financed everything I needed for fall by selling them. So if you don’t use it, lose it.