Archives for posts with tag: decluttering

One in each colour, please.

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

According to the quote by Marilyn Monroe, I should either be master of the universe by now, or I’ve been buying the wrong shoes. I fear that the latter might be the hard and brutal truth.

I probably own around 60-70 pairs of shoes. Trainers and wellington’s included, but yes – you heard me. I already told you about my weekly shopping sprees during my student years, so these are mainly from then. You might also remember that half of my stuff is boxed up in another country, so this goes for my footwear as well. Back then my shopping behaviour was ridiculous. I’d find a cute pair of ballerinas, but not be able to decide on the colour. So I would get one of each. Green, blue, yellow, red, mustard, gray, gold and silver: I have shoes in every colour in the rainbow and the my little pony factory combined. It doesn’t make it any better to know that I’m probably not alone in this situation.

Decluttering your closet

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

There have been several surveys on how many pairs of shoes the average (wo)man owns, and some say 20, others 34 and so on. What they all seem to have in common though, is that no matter how many pairs we have, we only tend to wear a few of them. Think about it – how many different pairs will you wear during the course of a week? I’ll need some for work, some for sports and perhaps some different ones on the weekend. But on the average week, I probably only wear 3 or 4 pairs. For summer and winter you probably (or obviously) have to change your footwear, but in general I don’t really need that many. At least far from 70.

So it’s time to get rid of some, and I’ve created some rules for myself to make it easier to decide:

  1. Comfort. Are the shoes comfortable? Can you wear them for a whole day without pain or getting blisters?
  2. Style. Do you actually like the way they look? Does it represent you and how you want to appear? Perhaps your style has changed since you bought them?
  3. Versatility. Do your shoes match any of your outfits or just a select few? The fewer things they match, the less likely it is that you will use them.
  4. Type. This is naturally connected to number 3, but think of the actual needs you have for situations your commonly in. You might need certain shoes for work, and others for leisure. Having a pair or two of heels is perfectly fine and I’m not planning on getting rid of all them either. However, how many do you need of each type? I probably don’t need 3 almost identical pairs of black heels, nor ballerinas in every single colour.
  5. Frequency of use. Same as with the clothes – when did you last wear them? New with tags still? The either start wearing them or they have to go. Be hard on yourself, either way.

A classic example of a shoe that fails on 3,5 out of the 5 rules. Plus points for not making me look like an escort (rule 2) and for me not owning anything else like this (rule 5). Bye-bye, borderline hooker heels!

So it turns out that I wasn’t great at it this time around: Out of the approximately 30 pairs, I found 8 to get rid of. As some of them are in very good condition, I have decided to try to sell them. Instead of spending a lot of time trying to sell every single pair, I’ve selected a few nice leather and vintages shoes to sell. The rest I have bundled up and are selling for more of a symbolic sum. If they’re not sold within 2 weeks, I will donate them. You should decide for yourself if you have time to sell or donate, and setting a time frame can be helpful: if you have many items to sell, this can be quite time-consuming and you should consider what is worth making the effort for.

So next time I look through my shoe collection (yes, I say collection since that’s what it truly and sadly is), I might have to add a rule number 6 to my list: only keep shoes that will help you conquer the world. I’m sure I’ll have a much easier time getting rid of more pairs then.

I hereby declare war on my closet.

Whenever I get dressed, I tend to evaluate the individual pieces to see if they’re really something to keep. Yet I seem to only wear half of my wardrobe on a regular basis.

I must admit, I have a huge wardrobe. Despite having bought almost nothing the past 2-3 years, I own countless pieces of clothes, shoes and accessories such as bags, jewelry and scarves. The average woman probably has a big selection, but I would assume that mine is larger than average. At the moment it just doesn’t seem that big. Why? Because I’ve been moving between countries and left a lot of clothes boxed up in the garage of my family home (I’m so sorry, mom!). So I probably have around half of my clothes with me now.

Wardrobe decluttering

My greatest weakness: dresses

Why shop (when your don’t even wear it afterwards)?

During my student years shopping was like a full-time hobby. I shopped because it was fun and somehow I had the money for it as well. One of my best friends was also big on shopping and we would enthusiastically discuss the latest additions to our wardrobes.  I would shop because I could, because I was fortunate enough to be able to do so spontaneously. Ah, the wonderful ecstasy of the purchase. I’d treat myself to a lovely new cocktail dress or new shoes any day of the week. Yes, treat yourself. A wonderful phrase if you treat yourself to something that actually brings value to your life. Two dangerous words often in advertising – we see the methods typically used in ads and women’s magazines. After all, you deserve to look good. You can buy whatever you want because you are worth it. Sometimes you get the feeling that you should, just to prove that you are an independent woman. There are probably more complicated reasons for why we go shopping as well, but I will leave this topic for now.

Because you are worth it.

So here I am, having spent thousands throughout the years on stuff I never use. A couple of years ago I stopped shopping as a hobby. I grew sick of it. And poor. Now, if I feel like I need something, I will consider buying it. This has resulted in that I have bought just a few pieces of clothing and shoes that I actually wear on a daily or weekly basis. However, I see that I need to take charge and go through my whole wardrobe if anything’s going to change there – why keep lots of things you never use?

Project wardrobe

This is where my personal Project wardrobe starts. I’ll take you through the process, step by step, to let you know how it goes – and hopefully you can get some advice and inspiration to do this yourselves. For decluttering your wardrobe and helping you along, there are already interesting projects out there to inspire you. One is Project 333 by Courtney, a fashion challenge where you use 33 items to dress for 3 months. I know by experience that I tend to not do so well with these time based challenges, so instead I will go through my items with the following in mind:

  • When was the last time I wore this? (more than a month? 6 months? a year?!)
  • Does it make me feel comfortable, both physically and appearance wise?
  • Is it damaged or stained (and more importantly – can it be fixed so that it’s wearable again?)

If you haven’t worn something in more than 6 months or a year, you probably won’t the coming 6 months either. If your high heels kill your feet after 30 minutes of wear, using them at all probably isn’t worth the suffering. I’m sure you’re worth more than that. So for each piece you get rid of, create piles to throw away, donate or to sell. You can also create your own rules to help you decide, this is just a starting point. I’m sure I will elaborate on mine as well.

So please stay tuned for updates. If you start your own project, I wish you all the best!

 

So, I already told you that I’m rubbish at keeping up a good routine for something like the minimalism game. Luckily it doesn’t prevent me from getting rid of things, just weeks later instead.

Last weekend I went back home to visit my parents. When I moved abroad, I left a lot of stuff at their place. Crate after crate of clothes, shoes and household items from my student days. I went through most of my things and managed to get rid of four bags of clothes for charity, as well as throwing away another bag of things.

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Some of my junk

In the ocean of things, it wasn’t much, but decent enough as a start. I also brought a sports bag of things with me back, with a few items to sell or give away, and the rest to replace worn out things I have here. I know that I could have been tougher on myself on that part, but most importantly is that the items now will come to use. If not, they will have to go as well.

It was fairly easy to get rid of things, and the changing of the seasons is a great opportunity to go through your wardrobe. Sell, give away and throw out things you haven’t worn in more than 6 months, things that are too small, and things you could never picture yourself in again. I promise you, after not having worn certain clothes for years, you get a pretty good picture of these things (you know that moment when you tell yourself “I wore that?!”)

I feel quite good from doing it, not only for my own sake, but also releasing my parents from some of my (to them especially) useless stuff. I encourage you to do a wardrobe cleanup as well. Good luck!

I like a lot of pages on Facebook. Today I unliked 50 of them.

Favourite bands, big newspapers, brands, there are many reasons why we choose to like something. Now it’s so common to click that like button, that we do so without blinking an eye. The past year, I tried to apply the same routine to liking and following, as to signing up for something, or buying a new product. I ask myself the following when deciding: what will this give me?

The reason behind it is simple. You know that you’re going to check your facebook account several times every day. Then take charge over your own newsfeed. The concept isn’t new of course – you can hide and filter updates. But when liking something, you might not be aware of what you will get. Didn’t you ever end up feeling a bit stupid, when you’re being spammed by someone you actually chose to like?

I realised that I hadn’t been so strict with myself, and started getting annoyed with the spam like updates. So it was time to unlike: I unliked every page who’s stories I felt like hiding. For every product that I don’t intend to buy (helps temptation anyway!). I’m a person who likes to keep updated on the news front, but I’ve chosen to limit it to a few media now – where every post at least on an average has actual value to me.

I also realised that pages like Newsweek and Time – hey, you can create great stories like no one else, but in social media? I’m sorry, but what a load of clickable crap. I’m willing to think that you create your updates for journalists and media agencies to pick up on your stories, but I hope you’re not posting for followers like me. If I want to see cute kittens and funny infograpics, I can google it myself.

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It's hard to believe that these people are capable of selecting person of the year.

Then there’s the more tricky category – your friends’ pages. Can you unlike your best friend’s page about knitting? Well, I completely believe in supporting my friends, and staying up to date on what’s important in their lives. However, I have limited this to my closest friends, and have stopped feeling obliged to accept when acquaintances send me like suggestions. You can actually send them some friendly and encouraging words instead.

The last tip, is to not always like everything with all your accounts. I don’t follow the same things on Facebook as on Twitter, but choose the media I think is better for the cause. You could for instance keep your facebook more private, whilst Twitter is your main news feed. Similar rules can apply to the rest of your accounts – you get the picture.

My newsfeed looks much nicer now, and I can actually see what my friends are posting. Which us how I would like it to stay. How about you? Feel like your newsfeed could use some decluttering?

For one month, do the following:

On day one, you get rid of 1 item.

On the second day, 2 things.

The third day, 3 items – and so on. You get the picture.

There are various games and challenges that you can play to jump-start a life of living with less. What I just mentioned is called the minimalism game, and you can check out #MinsGame for inspiration and to see what other people are up to (or even share your progress). You can read more about it on the Minimalists’ blog.

I already know that I won’t do it that way myself, simply because I know I will fail at do it consistently. However, I think it’s a very nice idea! And for many people it seems to work well, especially for the more competitive ones of you.

For years I have had my belongings stored in various places due to my frequent moving, but now I have most of it in one place. For a flat the size of mine, well – let’s just say that it’s pretty intimate. And I love having space! So I thought it would be a good idea to go through my stuff, especially my wardrobe. I already know that I don’t wear half of the clothes, so March will definitely be a month of selling and donating.

How about you? If you want to play, March is right around the corner!