Most Americans have too much stuff. Way too much stuff. George Carlin once noted that all humans do in life is get bigger houses to put more stuff in them. If you think about it, we don’t change that much, therefore, we really don’t need more space. Obviously, as families grow we might need an extra bedroom, or bathroom, but even that can be argued.
About twice a year I now make it a habit to purge my closet. As a martial arts instructor I really don’t have that exciting of a wardrobe. I dress in shorts or sweat pants everyday, and one of my Elite Defense Systems’ t-shirts. That is literally what I wear Monday through Friday, and even some weekend days if I have to teach or run a seminar. (Yes, I dress up every Friday night to Sunday night in nice jeans, shirts and shoes.) If I’d average out how much money I spend on “non work clothes”, you’re probably looking at about $50 per month. Maybe.
However, every six months I fill up two garbage bags of clothes which we donate to a second hand store at my church. Where do these clothes come from? Birthdays and holidays mostly, but even that doesn’t account for that many clothes. When I really think about it, and look at what I’m giving away each year, I realize I’m giving away stuff I’ve had for years. These are things I’ve passed over giving away during previous purging sessions. Did I wear any of them since? Rarely.
My point is that we have a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Over the last couple years of doing this, my wardrobe has gotten smaller and smaller. With that being said, I still have dozens of graphic / nice t-shirts, several non workout sweat shirts and a dress outfit I could wear every day for a week without repeating one. The old 80/20 rule is so true, that we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. The others just accumulate in our closets, and become more stuff. I’m sure you’re also like me, and still have stuff with tags on it too!
Here is my point, and what I challenge you to do: Purge your closet this weekend, and then do it again in 90 days. I’m guessing you have at least 10-20% of your clothes you haven’t wore in a year, and will never wear this year. Have it benefit Goodwill or another charity. What will this do? Two things:
The first thing it will do is help unclutter your life. Do you stress about how much clothes you have daily? No. But I know that this month, at least once, you’ve looked for something in your closet which you couldn’t find – and that was stressful. If you have a more elaborate dress ensemble than my gym shorts and t-shirt on a daily basis, I know you are losing stuff in your closet probably weekly.
The second thing it will do is remind you on how blessed you are. When I add up the super discounted prices I could probably sell my two garbage bags of clothes for at the thrift store, I know I have at least $30-50. Many of you could go to a higher end thrift store like Plato’s Closet and have your two garbage bags be worth $50-100. This is just like finding a $50 or $100 bill on the floor of your closet. How happy would that make you?
There are more benefits, but that should do it, and be enough for now. A 60 minute investment in your closet will be worth much more in time and money this week and those to follow.