A year or two ago, very early on in our interest in more minimalist living, Lawrence and I did a major, systematic declutter of our wardrobes, sorting through over a decade’s worth of accumulated clothing. It was the brand of tidying up that Marie Kondo sells as a one-time, life-changing event. In practice, though, even though our mindset toward our possessions may have permanently changed, the need to periodically clean out our closet didn’t. We’ve found that something as fluid as a wardrobe needs the occasional upkeep, and it was time for ours.
Here’s what we did in our Spring 2017 clothing update:
We went through our dresser and closet, taking stock of our clothing and letting go of those pieces that didn’t fit anymore, were worn out, or we simply never wanted to wear. Even though we started from fairly pared down wardrobes, by the end, we had filled three paper grocery bags with clothing we no longer wanted or needed.
Revisiting Sentimental Boxes
The last time we decluttered our clothing, we came across a number of items that we didn’t wear but wanted to keep for sentimental reasons. We boxed those pieces up and set them aside. This time, when we re-opened those boxes, we realized that we were no longer as attached to some of the contents. We were able to get rid of quite a few things that we hadn’t been ready to part with previously.
We took our three paper bags of clothing we no longer wanted to our local Saturday greenmarket for textile recycling. The organization that collects textiles in New York City’s greenmarkets sorts through the collected items, sends those in good condition to secondhand markets for resale, and recycles the rest into lower-grade fiber materials such as insulation. Pretty cool!
In the afterglow of our initial Kondo-inspired decluttering success, I adopted some of her clothing storage suggestions as well: I folded my shirts and pants into neat rectangles and, for the first time in my life, refrained from rolling my socks into balls. However, I’ve been missing my lifelong practice of hanging most of my shirts and pants rather than storing them in drawers. Hanging makes it easier to see when we’re running low on clean clothes and faster to put away the laundry. Plus, I like having the big-picture view of my wardrobe at a glance. We sprung for some of those slim hangers — plastic, not velvet — which look great and markedly increased the hanging capacity of our closet.
Since we hung up some of the clothing we had previously stored in our shared dresser, we were able to consolidate what was previously seven stuffed dresser drawers into six loosely-packed ones. It feels weirdly luxurious to have unused storage space!
While we were taking stock of our clothing, we also used the opportunity to take note of any obvious gaps in our wardrobes and fill the holes we found. For example, we replenished Lawrence’s supply of undershirts, and I got a couple of cardigans that have added layering options to my wardrobe.