I am a habitual auditor. Not because I find it exciting. But out of necessity. If I made a not so wise decision in the past, I don’t want to be anchored to the mistake. In my book, periodically auditing habits, finances, diet, exercise plans, reading list, facebook friends, instagram follows, blog subscriptions, bad books, shoes, … is good exercise. Spring cleaning a closet isn’t an excuse to throw out stuff that is old and look for potential upgrades but to evaluate its current contents. I wont ask myself if I own the right version of am item. I refuse to slip into the loop of cull and buy. But I will take measures to make the most out of what I already own.
My closet audits usually reveal my mistakes. I would have bought more than needed. And I cant let stuff sit there and gather dust. This year, its different. I had to let go of things because they are worn out or no longer fit. I have to do this exercise twice a year. Partly because it gets messy in there. I would like to blame the cat, but my laziness has a lot to do with it. I like to wipe it down and re-organize everything. Seeing all the beautiful things I own and touching the wonderful fabrics kills the desire to add more. It also gives me a chance to evaluate the current state of affairs. My process :
0. Start with the Body
Winter messes with my routine. Its cold out. I don’t exercise but eat hearty food. By the end of it, I became skinny fat – the condition where I stay the same clothing size but have a body with declined muscle tone and higher fat percentage. I am currently not fit enough to hike all the trails we have bookmarked for Spring. We are attempting a 20 mile backpacking trip to a remote hot spring in Big Sur, California. I need to clean up my body first. Things I am doing :
Been doing some yoga, 4 times a week. Will add a HITT workout in the form of uphill bike rides this month.
Start the day with a shot of apple cider vinegar. Been drinking green tea and increased my intake of greens.
I tried switching to brown rice but I could not palette it. Been replacing the starches in a few meals with steamed sweet potatoes.
1. Closet : Think before addition. Think before subtraction
Its a new season. I dont know how they come up with these stats but rumor has it that 6 tons of clothing gets thrown out every 10 minutes. What ! Hoarding unused stuff is not good either. I don’t know if I can put this across without being a hypocrite. But let the cleaning session be a chance to mend and make do. Let it be a chance to revel in good choices already made.
2. Stained, worn out, repair
My red dress had a food stain that I couldn’t wash out. I had to enlist the help of the toxic petro-chemical-soup dry cleaners. Oh well !
Condition shoes : I am happy to announce that California has been having good rain and they might even lift a few drought restrictions if the water table recovers. But my shoes on the other hand have been soaking too much water. I sprayed them down with protectant. I got in a few more shoe trees and all my 14 pairs are well stuffed. I need to visit the cobbler to get rubber sole put on a few shoes.
Bees wax + cotton shell = trench coat :
My everlane swing trench is not long enough to keep the rain out or appropriate to be layered over coats. I have an old cotton shell from Zara that I rubbed with wax. Makes it water resistant, not water proof. Not the same as gabardine but will do.
Let go of the worn out lingerie ( this is so damn hard for me ) .
A worn out tshirt became kitchen rags.
The rest stays.
Pinstripe shorts : Not in university campus anymore.
NDC made by hand black oxfords. The silhouette of my burgundy oxfords is what I want for my black loafers. I am going to get them dyed black.
NDC hiking boots. They have been giving me blisters every single time.
Mail out my Madewell blue dress. My little sister saw me wear it and asked if she could have them. I love that dress and did not want to give it away but she is my little sister. I couldnt say no.
4. Re-evaluate multiples
I have a pair of black ballet flats in the storage for back up. I will need them by the end of the year and it was a great price – keep !
Mascara samples – keep !
Back up lipstick from Sephora’s thanksgiving sale. Keep !
5. Archive pieces
The winter coats, boots and thick shawls go into storage.
6. Identify the neglected. Find ways to pair them. Shop your closet.
Belts, jewellry, scarves : I own a lot of accessories. And realistically, I cant wear them all. But they are much needed since my clothing choices are rather sober and safe. Making a mental note of them helps me reach for them more often. Instead of reaching for the easiest choice – the gray scarf everyday, I want to force myself to find a colorful scarf to wear.
7. Holes in the closet : NONE !
“Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” — Spock
There is so much I want ( block heels, black structured bag, trench coat, Everlane loafers, … ). But nothing I need. I declare my closet built. Its good to say this to myself. If I chant it often enough, I might even believe it. My spring cleaning is more for my mind. Forget that wish list for as long as possible and just be.
Are you a habitual auditor ? Do you have a lot of stuff moving around when you do ? I had nothing going on really but somehow managed to write such a long blog post.
All these amazing closet photos come from this Pinterest board. My closet looks nothing like any of them. Mine is a hole in a basement.
Today’s tune on repeat : City of Stars, La La Land.