As you might have guessed from my previous posts, I dedicate myself a lot on ways to manage stress. It is a sad fact, but stress has become an all-time “friend” of our lives. I recently talked to a couple of friends and asked what they do to destress. The answers were actually quite interesting: I expected to hear exercise, holidays or something along the lines of it. But in addition to these activities, I heard things like: knitting, playing the piano and cook. I started to ask myself: Which activity, apart from exercising, helps me to destress? It is actually tidying up closets and drawers. To me, it feels like tidying my brain and sorting my thoughts. It might sound weird, but it really helps. Maybe this is something you should try too?
I used to be a really bad hoarder – no matter if it was clothes, shoes or things I that I kept because of sentimental values. When I started to move back and forth between Europe and Asia, I had to systematically go through all my things and really decide if I wanted to take them with me. When I decided to become a digital nomad, I was forced to be able to fit everything into one suitcase – this was usually something I would need for a one week trip 😀 (I also used to be terrible at packing). But once I started to go through all of my clothes, I actually started to feel the relief. I donated most of the things, which made me feel even better.
Let me show you how I did it:
Step 1: Have I worn it the past year, do I still like it and will I wear next week?
With every piece, I asked myself if I had worn it the past year (and was shocked how many things I have not worn in years). If they had sentimental value to me I put them on a separate pile. But only put pieces on this pile that you really cannot live without. I kept one of my favourite T-shirts I wore when I started going out as a teenager, for example. If you decide that you still like a piece and you might wear it, again ask yourself: Will I wear it next week? Be honest. If not, put it on the pile for donating/tossing. If you are sure you will wear it next week, go to Step 2.
Step 2: Fit, flattering, damage
Try it on and check if it still fits you. Also, look at yourself and be honest: Does this piece make you look your best? If not, can you bring it to a tailor to improve it? In addition, check every piece for potential damages: missing buttons, holes, etc. See if you can fix them yourself or talk to your trusted tailor. I can only recommend to look for a tailor who can help you with it – my tailor is amazing and she helped me not only to make my clothes last longer but also to save me a lot of money. If you think a tailor might be able to fix the problems, ask yourself: “Will I really go there?” We tend to tell ourselves we will do it and then the pile ends up in our closet for months. I would rather donate the clothes if you cannot be bothered to go to a tailor.
Step 3: Can you combine the piece with other things from your wardrobe?
Look at the pieces you decide to keep and think about possible outfits you could create with them. Do you have at least 2 or 3 other items that you can wear with it? If not, is it worth to invest in new pieces around this item? Sometimes it is and it might give you ideas for a new look. For me, it often turned out to be a waste and I decided to give it away and rather focus on something new.
Step 4: Does it give you a “killer feeling”?
The last question you need to ask you: “Does it give me this killer feeling?” Does it make you look confident and strong? If yes, keep this piece. If not, donate it.
One thing I would like to add before ending this post: please only toss items that are severely damaged and can in no way be re-used. I rarely throw clothes away. Before I donate them, I wash them. Even if some items have some flaws or are a bit damaged, I bring them with me and talk to the organisation where I donate my stuff. They usually tell me if the items are still ok for them. Before going there, I enquire if there are certain things they need at the moment. For example, in winter there is a need for warmer clothing (which should be quite obvious). But often they look for more professional clothing for potential job interviews of the people they support.
I think a closet detox is not only a great way to destress but also to help others. Maybe this “hobby” is not as weird as you thought before starting this article 😀