May 6, 2015

Things I Learned From My Capsule Closet Purge

Me and My SoldierMan: Things I Learned From My Capsule Closet Purge

I got sucked in. I saw the capsule closet posts go viral and saw friends participating (Jordan) and thought, “Uh, that sounds CRAZY! Who can live on like 2 pairs of pants?” And then the more I thought about it, and the more times I went through my closet and found “nothing to wear,” I decided, “You know, I’ve been needing to address my closet for a long time, I think I’m post-partum enough now to do that.”

So, I did.

Boy, did I get more than I bargained for.

Let’s start with the basics: I didn’t do the rigid X number of items per category restriction, I went according to the following criteria: Does it fit? Have I worn it within the last year? Do I still like it? Do I really need it?

And to my astonishment, a TON of items didn’t meet any of those requirements. And so they exited, even the pieces that I had (surprise-to-me) deep emotional connections to.

It took me a few days, because I did try almost everything on, and I could only focus on that when the baby was otherwise occupied. As the hours passed and the pile grew, it changed from a chore to an experience. Maybe because it was so prolonged and not a single evening’s event, but it was an emotional gauntlet that was challenging and compelling. As the momentum built over time, the further I went, the more motivated I was to finish.

It was humbling, and even humiliating, to watch that pile of no-longer-needed clothes grow. For one thing, I had to seriously face that no, I’m not the same size I was when we were newlyweds. I didn’t really think I was, but now there was no denying it. Yes, progress is being made, but I still have a long way to go. That hurt.

But more than that, I had this tangible exhibit in my front room of how much waste I have been carrying around. All these clothes that could have been resold or donated to others who would get real use out of them, instead of them just gathering dust, literally, in my closets the last few years.

 All that money that could have been spent on other things – yeah, there were quite a few NWT items, as well. How many times have I thought, “I’d like to do such-and-such, but no money”? I’m sitting here shaking my head.

All the money I have spent on clothes, many duplicates of things I already had! I don’t need 3 black tank tops. I don’t need 4 white camis. I don’t need 7 pairs of jeans. I just don’t. It was less of a waste of money to take these things out of my closet and resell or donate them, than it was to let them hang on a hanger from house to house getting no use. Ridiculous!

And the time. All that time I’ve spent in my closet with “nothing to wear” when in reality, I had plenty to wear, I just had a lot of other stuff cluttering up my thought process. It’s pretty obscene, really, the amount of unused stuff I had held on to – some of it for years – because I might want it one day, it was worn once for one occasion, or I paid a certain amount for it, or I was just too lazy to do any thing about it.

The reason I don’t like shopping in stores is because it’s sensory overload – too many choices, too many unknown results, too much to process and I wear out in minutes. I had turned my closet into a shopping experience and it was miserable.

Now, I feel liberated. I’m even thinking I could have reasonably thinned it out a little more (but I’m done messing with that for now). I walked into my closet this morning and knew for sure that whatever I put on to fit today’s situation would also fit ME, today, as I am, and still be in good enough condition to look good.

I should add some paragraphs about the ridiculousness of excess and how gluttony and laziness are bedfellows and yearnings for the simple life. But you’ll be more convinced if you decide to try this out for yourself. Be brave. Be humble. I triple-dog dare you.


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