I remember the day when I was on a holiday break with my family somewhere in Austria. We were walking back to our hotel room, and I was wearing a broken hair clip. A small decorative piece that was glued to one side had fallen off. When my step-mother saw it, she asked me why I was still holding onto a broken clip.
”I’ve had it for ages and don’t want to rid myself of it”, I said.
In the following couple of minutes the clip made its way to the nearest bin accompanied by something along the lines of
“Until it’s here, there’s no way you let something new in your life. Let go of it, and we’ll buy you a new one tomorrow”.
I didn’t get it back then. I was slightly upset that she threw my clip away even though it was broken, and deep inside I still insisted that I didn’t need a new one.
Yet, the following day we bought me a new, very pretty hair clip. I didn’t even think about my old one any more.
This might be a very simple, even slightly silly example, but as I think of it now I realise – this situation has actually taught me to let go easily and remember not to get attached to material possessions.
Why It’s Important To Let Go
Personal connection to the garments we own is very common for most of us, no matter what wardrobe situation we are in. This could be because we simply love an item even though it’s not as good fitting as it once was, or because we attach certain memories or meaning to them, or maybe because it was a gift which we love it but can’t make use of.
All in all, our clothes are archives of our tastes and past experiences and as such, they have personal value that often overrides the desire for tidy, orderly shelves.
Once you start climbing up the minimalism ladder though and come to decluttering your wardrobe – you have to face it, and learn to let go. After all, that’s what you are there for.
A minimalist wardrobe is a choice that you make to simplify and improve your life. And when you have a minimalist wardrobe, you need to be more selective about the smaller choices you make within and for it. Your personal, minimalist style is no longer about trends or even fashion; it’s about your core values as an individual and the message you want to put to the world through what you’re wearing.
So, if you want to bring about a positive change into your life, you need to learn to let go and free some space – both external and internal – for this fresh and exciting chapter. Deciding to hold on to the past will hold you back from creating a strong sense of self — a self that isn’t defined by your past but rather by who you want to be.
So, how could you let go with more ease of beloved items of the past?
Ask A Friend Or Family To Help You Decide On What To Keep
Having someone decide for you objectively has proved to be a great way to begin. Ask a friend or a family member to spend a Sunday afternoon with you going through your closet and putting together outfits that you could wear. It should be someone whose taste you trust, whose opinions you value and who you have a similar vision with.
This little test will help you decide quicker and easier:
Ask yourself these questions –
Is it still in a good condition?
Is it comfortable?
Have you worn it in the past 6 weeks or so?
Ask your helper these –
Does it fit you well?
Does it reflect your personality?
If the answers to all of these questions are yes, then sure keep it.
If you say it’s a “yes”, and your friend says it’s a “no” – the item in question is likely to be emotionally charged. In this case, I’d suggest you act upon your helper’s advice and toss or donate the item.
If most of the answers are “no” – get rid of it without a doubt.
Use A One In, One Out Approach
I initially talked about this approach in one of the posts on my blog dedicated to the minimalist wardrobe shopping rules.
So, originally it’s for dealing with excessive buying but I think it could also help you with decluttering your sentimental clothes.
The principle is simple – when you bring a new item into your wardrobe, something similar that you already own has to go. As sentimental items have more personal value, you could try adjusting the rule slightly to make it work best for yourself.
Let’s say with every third or fifth new item in your wardrobe you need to let go of one sentimental piece. This would not only motivate you to make more conscious buying decisions, but also give you enough time to evaluate and accept the need for letting go of certain things.
Dedicate A Limited Space For Your Sentimental Items
There are also exceptions to the rules, so I found this option to be an interesting compromise.
Find a certain place or a box in your home where you’re going to keep your sentimental items and limit yourself to only this selected space. You could also limit yourself in the number of items you allow yourself to have.
Unite it with sentimental buys and gifts outside of your wardrobe too, to make it a little more challenging. If a new sentimental item comes to your life and you decide to keep it, add it to the box or shelf, but make sure you do not exceed the number or space dedicated specially for them.
Are you good at letting go of clothes when their time has passed, or is your wardrobe in need of a good clear out?