When to Say Goodbye

This past holiday weekend, I spent a good portion of my time watching “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo and implementing her tips and tricks to declutter my wardrobe. As a result, I am donating a large bag filled with clothes to Goodwill.

A big theme within the KonMari method, is letting go of items that no longer spark joy or that you don’t see being part of your future. That was the most defining question as I cleaned out by drawers and closet; do I see myself wearing this item in the future? For some pieces of clothing arriving at the decision to give it away was was simple because I was not able to answer “yes” to the questions below. These are not questions that came from Marie Kondo’s process but were check in question I created for myself to help me determine whether or not an item sparked joy. For those of you taking on the KonMari challenge, I recommend asking yourself these questions, in this order, to help you understand if an item of clothing is sparking joy.

Is this my personal style?

Over the years, I have done a pretty good job of cultivating my personal style. My personal style is made up of classic pieces in neutral tones. My favorite colors to wear are black, white, grey, tan/beige and light pink (in that order). I promise I am not all boring, I love including texture in my outfits and love all things tweed, lace, ruffles and bows. If you happen to see me in a print, chances are very likely its a floral or nature inspired print.

With my personal style defined, it was very easy to spot the pieces of clothing that no longer fell within my personal style parameters. The majority of the giveaway bag was filled with tops and dresses with bold colors, loud prints or were overly trendy pieces. It was hard to let go of a few designer pieces that I scored on major sale but it became easier to let go when I realized the chances were pretty low that I wasn’t going to wear them again because they were not true to my style.

Do I feel confident when wearing this item?

This question could also get asked a different way, when is the last time I wore this item? If I don’t feel very comfortable in a piece of clothing, chances are that I haven’t worn it in awhile and that it has been hanging out in the back of my closet.

This questions helped me as I started going through all my pants and skirts. Being on the taller end, skirts and dress tend to run short on me and I am very self conscious about showing too much leg. I feel like a high school principal where I hold myself to my own version of the “fingertip test” on whether or not I feel comfortable in that item of clothing. When shopping, I will tell myself that something isn’t too short or that I will get over my phobia of showing off too much leg but when the time comes to wear it out, I’ll put on that dress or skirt and not feel comfortable. So long mini-skirts from my college years!

Can I mix and match this item with other pieces?

Not only can I style this piece of clothing with other pieces in my closet but can I wear it for both work and non-work functions (i.e date night, girls night, family gatherings etc.)? If an item of clothing is too specific or only pairs with that one pencil skirt then its time to let it go. I was surprised at how many things I gave away fell in this category. If its not practical or versatile then it has no business taking up precious real estate in my closet!

Do I remember when I made this purchase?

This question might help you filter between gifts from people, items that have been handed down to you from friends or co-workers or just really old clothes that have seen better days. I suppose I should tread with caution on this topic but vary rarely am I given gifts that I love to wear. With the exception of a few tops from my mother-in-law (including the sweater I wore to work today), most of the clothing items I am given never live up to my expectations.

If you have already gone through the process of tidying up, I hope it was as therapeutic for you as it was for me. I am obsessed with how organized and clean my drawers and closets look. I am excited to get dressed in the morning because I know that I love every piece of clothing I kept and that I can find it! If you haven’t started tidying, I encourage you to do so and walk yourself through these questions as you clean out your clothes.