Whenever you buy a new item of clothing, it will need to be stored somewhere in your home. If your clothes closet is already full, that can be a problem.
New one in, old one out
I was in a department store once, standing in line to pay for an item of clothing I wanted to buy. The chatty middle-aged cashier was telling the customer she was serving that her mother always let go of an item of clothing whenever she bought something new. ‘But I don’t expect most people do that’ she lamented.
‘I do,’ said a woman standing behind her in the queue and in front of me.
‘So do I,’ I said.
‘I do too,’ said the woman standing behind me. ‘It’s the only way to not become a hoarder.’
And suddenly the shop assistant was outnumbered three to one. Or four to one if you include the advice of her absent mother.
The customer at the front of the queue had not said a word but was eyeing the cashier keenly to see what her reaction to this would be.
‘Well, of course, fashion is always moving on so it makes sense to let old things go when you buy something new,’ the cashier hastily back-pedaled. But you could tell she had lived her life ignoring her mother’s wisdom and had been caught naked in the spotlight, like a stunned rabbit, by the unexpected responses to her casual remark.
It’s anybody’s guess whether this conversation caused her to reassess and declutter her wardrobe but you could see that it at least gave her pause for thought.
A clothes closet has finite space
Whenever you buy a new item of clothing, it will need to be stored somewhere when you get it home. If your clothes closet is already full, that can be a problem. You will either need to go to the expense of creating more storage space or reduce the quantity of clothing you already have. New one in, old one out.
But that’s usually not what happens. Usually, if someone’s closet is already full, the new item gets put on a pile nearby “just for now” and there it stays. Then it’s joined by the next new item and the next, and the pile grows and grows. If this gets really out of control, price tags are not removed. The thrill of the purchase becomes the goal rather than actually wearing the garments.
One woman I met had accumulated so many clothes and accessories in this way that she bought the house next door to use as an extended closet. Most people can’t afford such a luxury or would want to even if they could. The trick is to match the quantity of clothing you own to the available storage space you have.
Most people only wear 20% of the clothes they own
In my book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, I explain that most people wear about 20% of their clothes 80% of the time.
If you doubt me, do this test for a month: each time you wear something and launder it, hang it at one end of your wardrobe. At the end of the month you will find (unless you have deliberately changed your habits to beat this exercise or have a job that requires you to vary your outfits often) that you are wearing these same clothes most of the time.
What this means is that 80% of your clothes are just taking up space and you don’t really need them all. Of course you’ll want to keep some items for special occasions and various other purposes, but I’ve never yet met anyone with a bulging wardrobe who wore everything in it. It just doesn’t happen.
Help to declutter your clothes
The techniques for clearing all types of household clutter are included in my Fast Track Clutter Clearing online course.
The techniques for decluttering clothes are similar but different enough to warrant a separate course called Declutter Your Clothes for those who specifically need help with this or would welcome some expert tips to speed up the process and make it easier.
Declutter Your Clothes online course (October 5-25, 2020)
How to declutter your clothes with confidence
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Copyright © Karen Kingston 2019, updated 2020