January: time to declutter... my closet
By Amor Santovena
Health and Life Coach, blogger at Living in Harmony with Nature
January signals the beginning of another year: New beginnings, new possibilities…same old me. How can anything new come into our lives if we are full to the brim? It is a time to let go of the things we no longer need, no longer use or love, a time to let go of the habits that no longer serve us. It is an excellent time to declutter not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As part of this year’s resolutions I felt inspired to let go of watching TV but that’s another story.
When we declutter we make space for the new to come into our lives. It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start somewhere. I always feel better after a good decluttering. I feel a sense of accomplishment but also I feel lighter and, dare I say, happier. This is because it is all interrelated and our house reflects what is going on inside our bodies, the place we inhabit. According to Jemma from Home Heart Feng Shui “clutter represents stagnancy, blockages and holding onto the past.” She says that by clearing out clutter you can get the CLARITY needed to move forward. I can do with a bit of that.
Where do I start?
It can be overwhelming to start decluttering if you haven’t done it in a while and have allowed the clutter to accumulate in a certain area. I used to declutter regularly, at least twice a year. But after becoming a mother I found out that the baby demanded all my attention and I no longer had the time for cleaning and organizing the house the way I used to. Inevitably, some areas got neglected.
Now, with a bit more time in my hands, it is time to do some serious decluttering and have a look at some forgotten areas. What are the areas you would benefit the most from decluttering and would have the biggest impact in your life? What areas drain your energy? For me, there was no doubt in my mind: my closet and the spare closet, which has been storing my clothes for the most part. I thought it would be a good opportunity to evaluate why I don’t wear a particular item and the thinking behind the purchase so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes again.
After spending some time at Christmas tidying up the kitchen cupboards I got motivated to start clearing my wardrobe and getting rid of the clothes that don’t fit me anymore or don’t do anything for my shape. I haven’t touched most of the clothes in that wardrobe for about three years so it was still filled with my pre-pregnancy clothes. I don’t think there is a chance I will ever fit in them again so it is time to let them go. It was getting to the point that I was running out of clothes to wear this winter in spite of having a wardrobe full of clothes.
Where have we heard that one before? And why is that? A wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear. What does that say about our shopping? It was time to do something. I needed to clear out the wardrobe to make space for clothes that actually fitted my body.
How to declutter
Confronted with my wardrobe, I looked at my clothes and ask myself three questions:
1. Does it fit me?
2. Does it look good on me NOW?
3. Do I love it?
These are also great questions to ask yourself when considering to buy something. I would add to the top of that list:
Do I really need it? as the first question to ponder.
Do I love it? is a hard one because I have realized that even though it fits me and I may like it I may not truly love it. It becomes harder to find clothes that fit all the criteria. If we actually buy only what we need and makes us feel good, amazing even, if we surround ourselves with clothes and other things that contribute to our wellbeing we wouldn’t have to deal with clutter in the first place.
Why we don’t wear the clothes we buy
Are the clothes fitting your body or are you trying to get your body to fit into the clothes? The Pareto Principle or 80-20 rule states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. If we apply the Pareto Principle to our wardrobe we have the following: We only use 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. or another way of looking at it: We use 80% of our clothes 20% of the time. Stop here for a moment to consider this.
We only use 20% of our clothes.
This means we only need 20% of the clothes we have in our wardrobes. Imagine the time wasted deciding what to wear, imagine the amount of money you can save by stop buying those 80% of purchases you don’t need anyway. What could you do with that time, money and energy instead, that would actually help you change your life? Insert the first thing that comes to mind. This realization made me buy just a few clothes to go by and I even stopped buying clothes for long periods of time.
Buying only clothes we love to wear
If you want to stop buying clothes you don’t wear, follow these tips:
1. Know your body shape.
2. Learn what colors suit your complexion. I bought a lovely red dress, which unfortunately was the wrong shade of red for my complexion. Tomato red completely drains my skin and I don’t feel or look good in it no matter how much I like the style of the dress.
3. Know the best styles for your shape.
4. Plan your outfits before hand.
5. Buy outfits that go together rather than loose pieces unless they go with a few things in your wardrobe.
6. Stay away from impulse buys and immediate gratification that quickly wears off.
7. Not sure? That means no, don't buy it. Finding what you love, or the colors, patterns and shapes that best suit you is always tricky, whether online or on the high street. You may find a dress you love the shape and cut but it’s in the wrong shade for you or has patterns that don’t flatter your figure. If in doubt, don't buy it.
8. If something doesn’t fit you or you are not totally happy with it chances are that you are not going to wear it.
9. Are you following fashion or what looks good on you? I prefer wide/bell bottoms or bootcut jeans because they suit my figure the best. My body shape is top-heavy and it’s the best way to balance my figure. However, in the last few years, fashion dictates everybody should wear skinny jeans, tightly fitted trousers and leggings no matter their shape. I mean, does anybody really look good on them? We get home from the store and suddenly they don’t look so good anymore. Buy clothes that fit your body, don't try to fit into the clothes. Your body is your temple. The clothes need to fit your body, not the other way around. What happens most of the time though, is that we try to fit into the clothes and end up believing there is something wrong with our bodies because we start experiencing that nothing fits or looks horrible. It’s not you, it’s the clothes.
How long do you spend deciding what to wear? Let me know in the comments below.
Amor Santovena is the creator of the blog Living in Harmony with Nature. She is a health and life coach passionate about helping women to take control of their health and their lives. When she’s not researching or writing for her blog you will find her in the garden playing with her daughter or going for walks along the shore. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.