Finding Balance : Making Space : Seasonal Clothing Cleanse

  SEED Find Balance Make SpaceFinding balance | Making space | Appreciation | Clarity | Witnessing truth

This New Libra Moon is all about balance, space, kindness, appreciation, and clarity -- Clear  eyes, minds and hearts. I celebrated the new moon by doing one of my favorite space making activities: a wardrobe cleanse.

This little ritual started a few years ago, after I had realized that almost daily I went through the excruciating decision-making gauntlet that was: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR today/tonight/to this thing I have to go to/etc. I am already painfully challenged with decision making, and having gobs and gobs of clothing options did not help the toil. I had clothing that I had collected from others or for various occasions, or for a lifestyle that just wasn't mine anymore. Clothes were spread across different rooms, and storing them was a total chore. This little bit of chaos made me feel crazy and weak and amplified my indecisive tendencies to a deafening roar. So began the methodical, border line obsession, that is the Clothing Cleanse. Essentially, seasonally I curate a  small selection of clothing, hang it in it's place-in my space, and I put the rest away. Out of sight, out of mind.

This ritual allows me to feel in control and intentional-about where I put my money and what I spend mental energy on in a day.  It encourages me to be creative with what is, and imagine what could be. Having fewer, yet appropriately curated items, means that the things that are showcased are things that I love--that really work for me. I don't have space for things that are just so-so. This brings a deep appreciation for those items that I get to enjoy for a part of the year--I take care of them and treat them well. Because items rotate and new things come into my consciousness a few dedicated times a year--I break free from that graspy feeling of always wanting something else. And, decision making is more or less effortless.

Now, I live in a tiny house, so having the essentials on hand-- and only the essentials in my space-- is, well-essential. Pictured below is the clothing storage that Oliver and I share.  That's not a lot of space! That means I need to be particular about what is going to take up space.

iny House ClothingThe seasonal wardrobe is in the house and the rest of the items are in a small storage closet, in 2 plastic storage containers. This includes all off-season clothing, coats, shoes, scarves, and accessories.

When it comes to "seasonal" clothing, there are plenty of items that are good for all seasons-- this means that I have to store some of those basics so that the wardrobe is manageable. I love this aspect because inevitably I will be delighted later in the year when I "rediscover" some of my favorites. This also means that the longevity of the clothing and shoes is preserved, which is great! Less stuff to buy. Speaking of which, this whole practice  makes going shopping way less interesting as I get to "shop" my existing wardrobe a few times a year. I still get those little "yay--new stuff" sensations when I pull out a scarf or a sweater I completely forgot about!

This whole ritual is incredibly satisfying, and is something that has removed much stress and decision fatigue from my life. You may not be as crippled at decision making as I am--but I assure you that you would benefit from lightening your clothing load.  It clears so much space!

SEED WardrobeAre you feeling pumped about cleansing your own closet?  

Here are some steps to consider:

Set up

  • Make space. You're going to be spreading stuff all over and depending on how much you have to deal with, it could take a while.
  • Have dedicated bags ready for items you are ready to:
    • donate/swap
    • items that need to be cleaned/repaired
  • Have storage containers for off-season items. I have one for "Spring/Summer" and one for "Fall/Winter". I like those plastic rubbermaid storage containers.
  • Most importantly--pour a glass of wine and turn on some tunes! Celebrate this space-clearing ritual. It doesn't have to be a chore!

Then begin to sort!

How do you choose what stays and what goes?

  • Some items will be no-brainers--Get those items out of the way ASAP:
    • Items that are clearly the wrong season (store it)
    • Items that are the wrong size (toss it--unless it is reasonable to believe your size will change in the next year)
    • Items you never or rarely wore when it was in-season (maybe toss it or set aside).
  • Are there some items that you love, love, love--and are really looking forward to wearing?
    • Put the lovers in the center of your space so you can really see them. There are usually a few pieces that inspire the whole collection, or pull the whole thing together.  The pic below has a few items that I was really excited about...and the colors in the floral arrangement just screamed autumn to me and inspired a palette.
  • With what is left, consider the items holistically:
    • What shapes and lines do you like to carry this time of year?
    • What's your lifestyle like this time of year?
    • What are your shoe options for the season?
    • What jackets do you have?
    • Start to add complimentary items to the outside of the circle--so you can see what you are working with!

SEED Wardrobe InspirationBe a sleuth.

  • Look for patterns in your go-to selections.
    • Are there recurring fabrics or colors?
    • What do you like about these things?
    • Where do you imagine yourself wearing these items?
    • What are you doing in them?
  • Look around at the other items that you own and decide what REALLY compliments the items you have already chosen. Add those items to the mix.
  • Now look over the remaining items. Could you live with out them for a few months? If so, put them away. If no, set the remaining items aside.

Place the keepers in their new home.

Once you have selected what will stay, put them away in your closet. I have a finite number of hangers and drawer space. Everything must have its place or it is too much... This may mean you will need to be a bit more ruthless about what items stay and what items are stored.

Pack away the rest.

Now, for the items that are going to be packed away in the tub:

  • Make sure they are clean and not damaged.
  • Make sure you have tossed a few things that just didn't work so that you don't have to reassess next year.
  • I will also note anything that I wished I had had for that season but never came across. Those items go into a notes app on my phone, in a note dedicated to items to look for when I happen to be out shopping. This makes shopping more purposeful and allows for screaming deals, as you may be the only one looking for certain items off season. Last spring I scored some autumn booties at 75% off. Stoked.
  • Once that is done, toss in a  little satchel of lavender and love will forget about some of these things and will be delighted when you open up your storage container next spring!

Now, things get really creepy!

I think this is my favorite step:

  • Assess the goods that make up your current duds! I love to sketch out the different silhouettes and general outfit ideas I have. For me it is all about creating nice shapes. So fitted tops, big scarves and flowey skirts or boxy tops and matchstick pants with booties. I also assess my color palette and make sure it is still feeling harmonious. One year I might make paper dolls to take this to the next creeptastic level.

Wardrobe SketchAssess what it missing from the collection to take it from great to wow:

Sometimes a new scarf or a jacket will pull all the items together in a magical way. So I keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to pick those up. I don't shop much throughout the year, but when I switch out my wardrobe I usually shop a bit for very specific items: things that are going to work with what I have going on for the season. Shopping in the way feels more gratifying.

And that's it.

This is a commitment, but the time and energy spent up front, make way for clarity of mind and spirit and ease of decision making. Plus, I LOVE not being hungry for clothing items all year. I have never been a huge shopper, but I am certainly no stranger to that desire for "something new"--whatever that is. This little ritual builds in something new a few times a year--and often are items that I already own. I love that most.

Anyhow, if you're feeling inspired--- Give it a try!

Baby steps would be packing away summer shorts, tops, sandals now, so that they don't clutter your closets. You'll be able to see what you have more clearly...and you will have the delicious element of surprise next spring/summer when you pull those babies out again.

Put on some good music, pour a glass of wine, and get down to business. It feels so good to simplify your day to day choices by cleansing your closets, and with it--the angst of decision fatigue!

P.S. It is my D R E A M  to help people to do this. So if you want someone to help you decide what goes, schlep things to storage, or just sit there and drink wine--you know who to call.