But don’t worry – I didn’t trash everything.
Not my closet. (I actually have a small storage room- not a closet – which also houses our Christmas decorations, etc. Apartment problems! But these are the types of images that inspire me, since I assume none of you are interested in seeing my fake Christmas tree and patio table we haven’t assembled yet. 😀 )
Hi everyone! I’m back from my wedding and getting back into my regular blogging. It was a beautiful day, and we also had an absolutely amazing honeymoon in Italy and Greece! You can see photos of the day and from our honeymoon if you’re interested on my Instagram account – @kelliehayden. Thanks to everyone who sent us well wishes!
When I decided to embrace conscious fashion, it really came from a place of desperation. I was overwhelmed with life: with graduate school, work, travel for work, wedding planning, and being diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control over things in my life, but one thing I could control was how much of a mess our apartment, and my closet space, had become.
I became obsessed with figuring out how to simplify what I owned – I imagined an organized closet would mean an organized mind. I also wanted to make fewer decisions about what to wear and what to buy. Focusing only on the essentials and what I truly needed.
When I cleaned out my belongings, it was really only two steps:
- How do I decide what to keep?
- How do these clothes get a new life if they aren’t right for me anymore?
I started with deciding what to keep. The biggest thing I learned, in going through every item I owned, was that I had a lot of clothes that were for someone I used to be, or for someone I hoped to be one day. But I didn’t have a lot of pieces that were appropriate for who I am today: someone who works in a casual office, someone who mostly appreciates neutrals, someone who doesn’t go to parties or clubs or fancy places. With all that said, I had so many pieces that were too fussy, too fancy, or too occasion-specific.
So I only asked myself one question when it came to cleaning. I didn’t ask what brought me joy, or what I had or hadn’t worn over the last six months, or what I might need one day. I asked myself-
“Does this piece of clothing help me celebrate the person I am today?”
If the answer was no, it got bagged. All in all, I collected nine kitchen trash bags full of pieces that didn’t make sense for my life, and ended up with a much more realistic and approachable closet that is full of things I can wear for any given occasion. Well, for the most part. It isn’t perfect, but that’s what this whole blog and journey is about!
Then I was confronted with what to do with the nine bags. Knowing that most donated clothing is just resold or sent to developing nations (because there’s just so much of it), I sought to reuse as much as possible.
A few of my friends took accessories I no longer used, like a few clutch bags that were too small or too colorful for me. A friend of my mom took a bunch of things for her college-aged daughter, since I had so many formal or “going out” clothes from my college days. I think this is the best thing you can do, if you personally know someone who could get further use out of your gently used items! This method helped me to pass along most of the items in the nine bags.
I’ve also made great use of the Poshmark app, a social selling tool. I feel good knowing that people are purchasing my gently used clothing because they too intend to use them. I’ve also been able to find a lot of great secondhand pieces to fill different needs in my closet through it.
Items in poor condition I use as cleaning rags (at least some of them) – and it was only after all of these steps that items were donated to be sold or broken down into new materials, or thrown away.
Overall, I feel really great about the process, and it’s work I continue to do as I get dressed each day and discover even more items that don’t really make sense for me to keep anymore.
Would love to hear your tips for cleaning out your closet, and, if you’re into conscious fashion, what got you started on your journey! Leave me a note in the comments.