Purging my Wardrobe – Lessons Learned

Wardrobe cleaning

Spring is in full effect! For those of us who live in Hong Kong, this usually means it’s time to swap out the cold weather clothes for warm weather clothes since our space is limited! I am also seizing this opportunity to throw away some (or most, actually) of my old clothes in order to make room for new clothes. Here are some lessons that I learned in this process. Hopefully, it will prevent you from making the same mistakes that I’ve made over the years.

The 80/20 Rule

I realized that I always reached for the same 20% of my wardrobe on a very consistent basis which means that I’m not wearing approximately 80% of my wardrobe. Imagine all the space I’d save by throwing this 80% away!

Another phenomenon I noticed was the LIFO (Last in First Out) effect, meaning that I’d always reach for the newer pieces over the older ones. Actually isn’t much of a surprise,  we like to wear things that are newer, better condition and in style. Who wants to wear clothes that are worn out and out of style?

With the above in mind, I started to go through the rest of my wardrobe piece by piece to decide whether or not I’m keeping it.

Some clothes are easy to throw away

Let’s start off with the easy stuff first.

Clothes that are old and worn out – This is a no-brainer. Anything with holes, faded colours, scratches, piling etc. They all had to go. What is important to note is why they are old and worn out. Some clothes are simply very old items that have been in my wardrobe for a very long time. Other items are worn out because I always wear, causing expedited wear and tear. In that case, I just need to replace them with new ones. I should probably even purchase multiple quantities to prevent these staple pieces from wearing out too fast.

Clothes that no longer fit – Why do I have clothes that no longer fit? No, it is not because I gained or lost a lot of weight. The biggest mistake that I made was that I didn’t pay enough attention to the fit of the clothing. I now realize the importance of a proper fit, so I threw away many items that are still in great condition but just that it didn’t fit me. Hopefully, it will go to someone else who has better use for it when I donate them.

Clothes with huge graphics – I used to think that if a shirt didn’t have graphics, especially for a t-shirt, it would look like an undershirt. All my t-shirts had some sort of graphic on it, which includes design graphics, logos, sports teams, humour inspired and whatnot. I don’t think I’ll ever completely stop wearing graphic tees, but I’ll opt for more subtle designs in the future.

Some clothes are hard to throw away

Clothes with sentimental value – Some clothes carry sentimental value for various reasons. They may be clothes I bought during a trip, clothes gifted by friends and family, clothes I bought for a special occasion and much more. I admit I have a strange attachment to some of my clothes, even though I’m not wearing them anymore. Oh well…it’s time to move on, after all, it’s just clothes!

Expensive clothes that are no longer stylish – This is the hardest category for me to throw away. The more you paid for the item, the harder it is for you to let it go. This is not even about the money. If you don’t choose your expensive items wisely, it will end up clogging space in your wardrobe for a long time. It’s still ok to buy expensive pieces, but just have to make each piece count.

Brands such as Uniqlo and H&M offer many basic essentials at very affordable prices. I would definitely check these places first to see if they have the things I need before going to more expensive brands going forward.

My approach going forward

All in all, this was a fruitful experience. It made me realize that I don’t wear most of the things that I own, and I don’t have enough clothes that I actually want to wear. With a better understanding of my tastes and preferences, I am more equipped to rebuild my wardrobe with items that I actually want to wear!



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