One of my favourite rites of spring is the annual clean. I de-clutter year round, but spring is when I get properly ruthless. Those sunglasses in a drawer that I’ve been sentimentally hanging on to, despite being beyond repair? Tossed. Receipts for clothes that I’ve put aside in case I needed to return them? Out. The hardest thing for me to spring clean though is my closet. I have this really convenient excuse for anything I don’t want to throw out– ‘I’ll keep this for gardening’. So, a sweater with a hole, a big slouchy denim shirt from when I was pregnant, a sundress that has seen too many summers, some unflattering but irritatingly expensive jeans… they all fall under my gardening exemption. Which is ridiculous really, because I have a fairly low maintenance garden, and I always do any messy jobs out there when I come straight home from the gym (I’m already sweaty, why not go the whole hog and add dirt to the equation?) and gym clothes are by nature durable and washable… so this ever-growing and thoroughly unnecessary gardening wardrobe is finally being thrown out.
Lots of spring cleaning experts recommend that you have a four categories while you are sorting through your closet: Keep, Mend, Maybe, and Donate. That complicates things too much for me; I’m Keep or Donate only, no middle ground. Middle ground is what got me an extensive gardening wardrobe!
I’m currently inspired by that famous quote from William Morris: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” See, I was sneaking a lot of stuff into the ‘useful’ category that really WASN’T, so all this clutter was taking up space that is far better used as breathing room for my useful and beautiful things. I’ve learned that if I can’t see it, I won’t wear it. For instance, in my purging, I ran across some beautiful winter scarves that I didn’t even wear this year because I couldn’t see or find them in my stash. Or I’ve pulled out a shirt or coat to wear which is full of creases from being crammed in my closet, so I just put it back and wear something else which is easier. After my spring clean, everything is organised and has some room. It is almost like having new clothes, but I actually have less!
I’ll tell you one thing I found a lot of in my closet and that is regret purchases. Things that I bought thinking “Oh, look at that embroidery/beadwork/ good price/etc.” but aren’t my style, so were never worn. Or, things that I spent a lot of money on, and I keep, thinking “I HAVE to wear this one day, or else I’ll kill myself for wasting so much money”. Those items are particularly hard to part with. OR, the optimistic purchases, “I’ll buy this for when I’m a size six again” which is (likely) never. In short, neatly arranged on hangers in my closet are numerous examples of my bad decision making. What I know about Feng Shui could probably fit on a postage stamp, but I’m sure that when I walk into my closet, being surrounded by past examples of my bad decisions is negative energy, and thus, bad Fung Shui.
However, after my ruthless spring pruning, when I walk into my closet I see clothes that I really like, that fit me, and that I enjoy wearing. I can actually find things, rather than digging through cramped rails when I’m in a rush to go out, or just wearing the same things all the time because it is less effort than searching. My closet is a happier place, with no evidence of bad decisions!
What about you, have you done any spring cleaning yet?
P.S. as I was searching for good photos of inspirational closets to use in this post, I did a Google image search for “Closet Porn.” Don’t do that. Especially not if you’re at work.