Day Fourteen: Minimalizing

Today I cleaned out the closet. I always have issues cleaning out the closet. Not hoarding issues, or keeping things that are obviously useless, but there seem to be a lot of grey areas. Some of these are pretty typical “girl” stuff. Like, “Those pants are one size too big. But, until six months ago, I’d been wearing them for three years. Chances are that I’ll need them again.” Or, “This dress shows off my stomach pudge. Maybe I’ll do more crunches.” I think those things are hard-wired in to the process, because I’m not generally the kind of person who worries about the number on my pants tag. (Which would be crazy, because I have four different sizes of pants that all fit the same. For the record, I kept the slightly-too-big pants and got rid of the pudge dress.)

The real thing that I can’t get around is a psychological conflict that goes something like this: I admire minimalist closets. You know, like they show in those pictures from magazines, in articles like “Your 12 Wardrobe Essentials” or “Dress for Success with Eight Outfits.” Whenever I think, “Today is the Day! I’ll do the closet!” I’m hit with two realizations that stop me in my tracks.

First, I do not wear just one type of clothes. I have professional clothes that I wear, at this point in my life, only a few days a week. I have clothes to wear running errands. I have clothes to wear sitting on the couch with the dog. There’s a certain age where you can wear your business attire out to weekend lunch. I’m not there yet, nor am I going to wear a  cardigan and a silk blouse on a day that I don’t leave home. I’ve never had a knack for dressing things up/down.

More to the point (and this leads directly to point two): I already own these clothes, and most of them are really nice. Why would I get rid of really nice clothes, that I like and have uses for, just so I can own fewer clothes? At a certain point, too many clothes perpetuates itself forever. There’s a deadly trifecta of 1) buying quality clothes 2) being gentle on your clothes and 3) owning a lot of clothes. The combination means that nothing you buy ever wears out, so there is never a concrete reason to get rid of anything. Unfortunately it’s a state that sneaks up on a person.

So, maybe closet minimalism isn’t my natural state. I think I did fairly well, though, and I can always aspire. I’ve cut my clothes purchasing significantly back over the last two years, and I’m promising myself that I will watch what I’m wearing very carefully for the next little while. If I put something on and discover any kind of problem with it, from “this isn’t really a good color for me” to “these pants are really a little short,” it’s going. Life is too short to spend it frozen in closet indecision.

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