The best way to keep a goal moving forward is to speak it publicly. So here I am, speaking publicly. I am going on a diet, a clothing diet. Inspired by a friend who is doing this for a year, I am not that disciplined. This is not an easy thing for me to do as I have lost some weight over the years and have discovered cute clothes that make me feel good and I want to buy them. Please understand that I am not extreme by any means, I am not a Kardashian with an overabundance of clothes. I still practice the one in one out rule in my closet. Which means for every one item of clothing I bring home, one must leave. This has kept me very mindful over the last couple of years as I was shopping. But even implementing this rule I have found something that holds true to me and I am sure to you as well; I don’t wear all of my clothes. I don’t even wear half of my clothes. So I am going on a clothing diet, nothing new for 6 months.
Statistics say that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. I think it is true. Want to do an experiment with me? Take all the clothes in your closet and turn the hangers backwards. Now as you wear something and hang it back in your closet, hang it up the right way. Try this for a few months and you will see how much you actually wear. Make a deal with yourself and say that whatever is still turned backwards in 6 months you are going to donate. No questions asked, just have it leave your closet. Not sure if you are ever going to wear that unicorn sweater? Chances are if you haven’t worn it in the last 10 years you are not going to wear it again.
I asked the question of how long I should be on this “clothing diet” and I got answers from 30 days to over a year. One woman says she never buys herself any clothes and instead spends her money on her children. I use to be that woman. Looking back I had these very well dressed kids and if I allowed a picture of me in it, I was dowdy mess. Usually wearing ill fitting clothes that were less than flattering on me. I am not saying you have to spend money on yourself, but feeling good about yourself makes you a better wife and mother. I really wish I would have received that message earlier in my life.
You are going to hear things as you decide to keep things as well as when you try to get rid of things in your closet. You are also going to find excuses to buy things. So what are the voices in your head that you are going to hear if you do this?
- “I paid good money for that!” Yes for sure you did. But as the saying goes you need to love it, use it or lose it. It isn’t doing anyone any good just hanging in your closet. Donate it to a charity that someone can do some good with.
- “But I have a special occasion!” I think I could find a special occasion every single day. Knowing that there is a special event coming up does not give me permission to buy some new clothes. I may need to be creative and borrow clothes from a friend. But knowing that I have some special occasions coming up, like my son’s graduation reminds me that I better start getting creative!
- “I have nothing to wear!” Yes, you may hear that after a few weeks of this “diet” but that is what makes this all worth it….push through it. Get creative with a scarf or a piece of jewelry. At this point you will start to rediscover things that you always looked over. You may find out that the sweater that you never wore because you thought the color looked bad on you, actually looks nice on you. I also have plans on having friends come and look at my closet and help me put things together that I haven’t already thought of.
- “But my mom gave that to me and I don’t want to hurt her feelings by getting rid of it.” I usually turn this questions around on my clients and ask them, “if you gave someone a gift and they no longer needed or wanted it, would you want them to keep it?” They usually say of course they wouldn’t. Then why do you want to treat yourself any differently? Besides, chances are your mom won’t even notice if you donated that sweater. And if she does, you have bigger issues than an ugly sweater going on with your mom.
- “But I got engaged in that shirt and I can’t part with it.” Yes, so what. Heartless aren’t I? We all have sentimental reasons that we keep things. But if you think about it, is the memory in the clothing or is it in the event itself? Keeping the shirt isn’t going to relive the memory for you. Keeping a picture will. If we keep everything that is attached to sentimental memories, we would be bursting from every corner of our homes. Keep the memory, ditch the clothes. Men who keep years of tee-shirts in drawers, this is for you as well. Keeping more than a reasonable amount of tee-shirts is a waste of space. Yes, someone might make you a quilt out of them. But give yourself a time frame to get that quilt made or get rid of the tee-shirts.
- “But when I lose weight I want to wear those skinny jeans, so I am going to hold onto them!” I have a line in my presentations that I give, that when you lose the weight and can fit in those jeans you are going to want to buy yourself new jeans as nobody is wearing acid washed jeans anymore. It gets a good chuckle, but it is true. Too often we keep clothes for some magic number on the scale. When in truth you should be keeping clothes that make you feel good when you put them on. Plus I know when I walk past my skinny jeans in the closet I usually feel bad and then want to eat a cookie. Sort of self defeating so time to get rid of those skinny jeans!
So what is this little social experiment going to do for me? Hopefully it will help me focus on what I really love and also gets me wearing more items already in my closet. I have passed month one so I am 1/6 of the way to my goal. I also hope that I will save some money along the way. Secretly that is my husband’s goal of me doing this. But ever the lawyer I did put in some escape clauses. For example; if I lose more than 15 pounds I can buy myself new clothes. This truly is a win/win for everyone. I will be motivated to get healthy in order to buy more clothes while at the same time saving money during the process. So come and join me and go on a clothing diet and see what you will “lose” along the way!
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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