Not too long ago, I found myself preparing for a move. My wardrobe swelled, my dresser burst open to spill its contents onto the floor and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to clean out my closet. I would finally take everything out, sift through the aftermath, and donate the long forgotten items that lived in the endless abyss of clothing I owned.
When I set off on my quest, I didn’t realize how difficult it would become. How does one simply get rid of the possessions they once loved? We all have those items that haven’t been worn in years, yet you still feel the need to keep them, just in case. How do you finally overcome those feelings of attachment and decide to let them all go?
Let me be clear: I am not a hoarder. My closet may be at capacity, but it is expertly organized into categories, and colour coded within each respective section. Nay, my problem letting go of old faithfuls is reserved solely for band t-shirts. I used to be a professional musician, and my band and I toured North America, playing everything from large festivals with thousands of people to dingy bars with only the promoter and bartender watching. It was a coming of age period for me, and through those travels I met a lot of friends and saw some interesting places. With every band we met, we would do “merch swaps”; needless to say, I wound up with suitcases full of other band’s shirts.
I can’t remember the last time they came out of my dresser, and although I’ll never wear any of them again, I’ve never been able to say goodbye. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and when look through them I remember the exact moment they came to be mine. How could I say goodbye?
Hopeless clothe-romantics, this is the Hanger Method:
Step 1: Start a two-month period with all of your clothes hanging the same direction (question mark-like part of the hanger facing away from you, for example).
Step 2: Once you wear that article of clothing, put it back in your closet hanging in the opposite direction.
Step 3: At the end of your desired time frame, anything facing the original way has got to go.
Bonus tip: Separate all of your clothes into groups (pants, work shirts, weekend shirts, etc). It’ll be easier to let go of a few items per pile.
Don’t expect to get rid of half of your closet right away. Letting go of your favourite pair of Nudies can be tough, even if that hole in the crotch is getting ridiculous, and you’re not entirely sure what colour they are anymore. But even if you implement this method and wind up nixing 5 items, that’s still a start! And with all that prime real estate space in your closet, you can look into filling it back up again.
Ah, the circle of life! What are your favourite places to donate gently used clothing?