Cleaning Out My Closet… Kind Of

I have a shoe collection that rivals that of Payless. I have nine blazers, twelve pairs of skinny jeans, ten pairs of black leggings and over thirty dresses – and this is just the first shelf.

Needless to say, I am a shopaholic – a condition my family has unwaveringly tried to cure me of for some time now. Attempts to talk me out of purchases follow into every store, with “can you really afford that?” and “do you really need a fourth leopard-print blouse” ringing in my ears as I whip out the credit card.

With my tendency to non-stop shop, one would think I would follow the cardinal rule of clothing – when you put something in the closet, you must take something out. As a fashion student with an intensely organized hoarding problem, this is something I just cannot do.

Every September, I naively venture into my overflowing closet in the hopes of actually thinning it out some. I begin this journey with a sunny attitude, daydreaming of an abundance of shelving space and a collection of well-curated clothing that would make any fashion enthusiast green with envy.

Four hours in, I’m knee deep in closet contemplation and neck deep in sorrow over the prospect of parting with my beloved pieces.

I can’t do this.

I call in reinforcements for help, holding up pieces to a friend in the hope that she can convince me out of keeping the mustard-yellow turtleneck I haven’t worn in seven years.

“But the rust colour is in this season. Mustard is close to rust…” I whine.

“You’ll look like a walking hot dog, give it away,” she responds.

“But I like hot dogs…”

She ferociously rips it from my grasp and shoves it to the bottom of the Goodwill pile. Thankfully, I am distracted by the idea of making a hot dog for lunch and fail to put up more of a fight.

We move on to the shoe collection.

I would estimate that of the eighty-six pairs that I own, I regularly wear about seven. The rest are either too high, too painful, or too fancy to wear on an everyday basis. The logic behind tossing at least half of my collection is there, but the unreasonable love for a shoe proves stronger than anticipated. I eliminate only thirteen pairs.

Six hours and three trash bags later, my closet clean-out is complete. Do I have extra space now? No – in fact, it is still so full that the hanger bar is beginning to buckle under the weight – but I feel lighter somehow.

Revitalized by my progress toward a clutter-free closet, I decide to take my new-found skill and apply it to the wardrobes of my sister. Confident that I can help to reduce their significantly-less-frightening closets to a neatly edited selection, I begin the process, holding up item after item for their verdict.

Within minutes, we have their clothing collection cut in half. How is this so easy for her? And why is she getting rid of that fabulous grey cardigan with the rosette detail?

“Can I have this?” I ask, holding up said cardigan.

“Yah, I guess. But aren’t you trying to get rid of clothing, not add more?”

“Yes, but my grey cardigan doesn’t have rosettes on it. And you know how much I love rosettes.” I have her convinced. She hands me the cardigan, rolling her eyes at my plummeting willpower.

When we are finished, my pile of oh-I-really-like-this blouses and how-can-you-even-consider-getting-rid-of-this sweaters is twice the size of her charity pile, and I happily gather my new treasures into a suitcase.

This has undoubtedly reversed my closet progress, but no matter. There’s always next September!