Author Topic: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist  (Read 2064 times)

AlotToLearn

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Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« on: May 26, 2019, 09:33:33 AM »
My S/O has begun to embrace the minimialist lifestyle, and this weekend (mainly today as part of our holiday staycation), she is taking on the task of cleaning out her closets of clothes she no longer needs/wears. The goal is to pair down to truly the essential items, and donate the pile of clothing/shoes to the Goodwill.

The problem/challenge is their are items she owns she has some type of emotional connection too (especially her shoes). I believe she will narrow down the clothing to a point, but getting her to let go of a pair of heels she has worn maybe twice ever is like pulling teeth.

Any advice/tips appreciated.

mistymoney

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2019, 09:54:41 AM »
My S/O has begun to embrace the minimialist lifestyle, and this weekend (mainly today as part of our holiday staycation), she is taking on the task of cleaning out her closets of clothes she no longer needs/wears. The goal is to pair down to truly the essential items, and donate the pile of clothing/shoes to the Goodwill.

The problem/challenge is their are items she owns she has some type of emotional connection too (especially her shoes). I believe she will narrow down the clothing to a point, but getting her to let go of a pair of heels she has worn maybe twice ever is like pulling teeth.

Any advice/tips appreciated.

let her decide when she is ready to let something go?

PMG

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2019, 10:01:55 AM »
Her stuff. Her process. Her decision. Even if it doesnít make sense at all to you.

Minimalism is... many things. But it isnít something that anyone HAS to do. These is no perfect number of shoes or books. 

Let her know that you understand itís a weird emotional journey even if you donít feel the same emotions. 

All that said, it helped me to photograph things I was attached to. Yes, even shoes. Sometimes I still didnít let the item go that day. But two weeks later I could come back to it, know I had the photo and let it go.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2019, 10:17:35 AM »
Your not in control of her process. Let her minimize as she is able to. You can support and encourage, but dont take it too far. I have a very minimalist wardrobe, my wife has hundreds and hundreds of dresses, outfits, shoes; its mind boggling. She says she wants to pare it down but it has been over 15 years she has been saying this; my only choice is to capitulate.

Peachtea

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2019, 10:52:43 AM »
Suggest she read, or you listen on audio together, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Itís pretty short and easy read. I personally really liked her method for handling the emotions of letting go of things and how to not feel guilty about it. Definitely helped me part with things that werenít really sentimental but I had made them so.

Marie would also tell you that you canít decide what your family members should or shouldnít keep, each member has to make their own decisions on their stuff. This was frustrating for me, but itís true that leading by example really works. Even though I felt I had less stuff than my DH, I focused going through my things and getting rid of my stuff. I would suggest my spouse go through his at the same time so that we could make one trip to Salvation Army, but tried (so hard, not always successfully) not to monitor what he was or wasnít getting rid of. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didnít, and it usually wasnít as thorough of a clean out as Iíd have liked when he did. But over a couple years as he noticed me getting rid of a lot of my stuff and not bringing more things in, he also started paring down his stuff more and heís now much closer to where I thought he should have been at the start. It just took him longer to accept letting go of things, and realize the benefits of doing so. Now weíre pretty much on the same page. I learned a lot about patience, respecting his autonomy, and not being a well-intended bully in the meanwhile. :)

pegleglolita

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2019, 12:50:38 PM »
All women, but particularly those who have professional jobs, are held to a ridiculous standard in terms of physical appearance.  Men and women in some jobs can get by with two pairs of jeans and a few shirts and one pair of shoes but this is not true for some women.  And it's not something we make up in our heads: there are actual, tangible consequences for violating these social expectations, even if it's not as obvious as having rotten tomatoes thrown at you and people shouting "shameshameshame".  Definitely let her do it, stepwise if that is more comfortable.  One thing I do when I am unsure is put things in the attic first.  If I haven't missed it in 6 months/1 year, off it goes.

Tester

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2019, 01:01:06 PM »
Like others said: let her decide.
Pushing will not help as it is the first round.
Just starting is a big thing.

Noodle

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2019, 01:57:12 PM »
She needs to do the deciding part, and you need to stay out of that, especially if this is a new idea, and even if you think some of her decisions are dumb.

People have mixed opinions about Marie Kondo, but I think she is right on with the technique of taking everything out of a closet/drawer/shelf, etc and then only putting back what you want, rather than looking at in place and trying to pick out what you don't want. That makes it into positive decisions (I want this) instead of negative (I don't want this) and it also keeps you from making passive decisions to keep things out of decision fatigue.

So you can haul things out of the closet, round up the boxes and bags to get rid of it in, run boxes out to the garage or car trunk, etc--there is a lot of physical labor to cleaning out, never mind the emotional labor (decision fatigue is a real thing).

For me, it's also highly motivational to watch "cleaning house TV"--the Marie Kondo show on Netflix, Hoarders, the old show "Clean House"...seeing the amount of clutter other people live with really makes me notice mine!

Cassie

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2019, 12:39:55 PM »
Decluttering usually involves many different rounds of letting things go over time.  It gets easier as you go.

red_pill

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2019, 01:02:53 PM »
Bro....   rookie mistakes are being made there.  Why the hell would you start with her shoes?  You gotta ease into this.   Youíll get better at it.  Two tips:

1) start with getting rid of things that you donít use or need at all.  The really really easy things.   Do the hard stuff later.  Yes youíll have to go through each space multiple times.  But it wonít fail.

2). If sheís reluctant about something offer that you pack it in a box and put it in the garage. If she decides she wants it back she can go get it. In 6 months if she canít remember whatís in the box, well, there you go. This takes the pain away of maybe making a mistake and regretting and also lets you see the benefits of a less cluttered space.

Becoming Minimalist is a great website if you havenít already found it. 

Good luck.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2019, 04:24:22 PM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

Zikoris

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2019, 04:47:04 PM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

THANK YOU, I wanted to say this. It's honestly baffling to me, unless, like, your grandpa was a cobbler and made you a custom pair right before he died.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2019, 09:15:57 PM »
Step 1: ďHey S/O, itís cool youíre interested in minimalism!  Look at how much stuff you got rid of!Ē
Step 2: Wait until she decides to pare down her possessions further on her own.
Step 3: Repeat step 1.

Seriously, grown ass people donít need their significant others cajoling them to get rid of possessions unless those possessions are having a significant impact on you.  Different people have different priorities, and trying to ďget her to let goĒ of things is controlling and likely to backfire.

red_pill

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2019, 11:14:26 PM »
I wouldn't listen to the "just let her do what she wants" advice.  A) it's okay to want something changed in your life and ask your spouse to get on board. B) sometimes spouses help each other improve - encouraging is not necessarily cajoling. If I had left my wife entirely to her own devices our house would still be a cluttered mess and I wouldnt be happy.  Now, she's pushing ME to keep things tidier!  She wouldn't have done it on her own but after it was done she loved it more than I did.  To be clear: this was a slow process. Probably five years from start to now which is pretty much where we are satisfied with.  And I never once made her throw anything away or chucked anything of hers without her knowing.  We came up with all sorts of strategies that worked for the two of us.  But this "oh if she isn't totally on board just leave her alone" isn't for everyone.  It sure isn't for us. 

Don't give up. There's middle ground here that does not require you to just shrug and walk away. 

Bee763

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2019, 04:33:00 AM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

THANK YOU, I wanted to say this. It's honestly baffling to me, unless, like, your grandpa was a cobbler and made you a custom pair right before he died.

I have an emotional connection to a particular pair of shoes.

They are cherry-red Mary Jane heels and they were bought for me by a consortium of siblings and friends one Christmas. This is a big deal, because finding shoes that fit in a UK8/9, EU42, US11WW is a real challenge. My now-wife went to try them on in her hiking socks to make sure it wasn't going to be a horrible mistake!

I have since worn them to a number of important occasions, including my PhD viva, graduation and wedding (thus rendering them rather mustachian, as they are now at least 9 years old and the cost-per-wear must be getting pretty low now, even though they didn't cost me anything personally) so they are also associated with those significant memories. They have got out and about much less the last few years as I have struggled with back pain, but I anticipate them getting out a couple of times a year in future as long as pregnancy doesn't completely change the shape of my feet. Even if I couldn't wear them any more, I would struggle to let those go.

Bee21

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2019, 04:36:53 AM »
It might take longer than you think. Don't make a big deal out of it. Concentrate on getting rid of your stuff.  She will get the hang of it  eventually. I have been decluttering for years and I still find stuff I should have donated years ago. I go through our clothes at the end and the beginning of each season. I have just donated 6 bags full of clothes. The more I toss the less inclined I am to buy more stuff.

Shoes are actually easy to get rid of. Keep only the comfortable ones 😁. 


…owynd

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2019, 07:03:06 AM »

2). If sheís reluctant about something offer that you pack it in a box and put it in the garage. If she decides she wants it back she can go get it. In 6 months if she canít remember whatís in the box, well, there you go. This takes the pain away of maybe making a mistake and regretting and also lets you see the benefits of a less cluttered space.


I have used this method in the past very successfully!  Sometimes it is hard to immediately decide if you are going to use something in the future.  Pack it away in a box and put it out of sight for 6 months or even a year and it becomes much easier to let it go.  If you haven't thought about <thing> in over a year, chances are you won't need it/think about it in the future.

LifePhaseTwo

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2019, 07:14:04 AM »
I agree with @PMG - I had trouble letting go of items that I had an emotional attachment to, until I took photographs of them. As soon as I had the photo to trigger the good memories related to the item, I was able to let it go.

GoConfidently

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2019, 08:02:48 AM »
I've used the box it up method for things I'm on the fence about and it works for me sometimes. What worked better when I had a lot of clothes was to box up my five or so MOST worn outfits for a few weeks. When you're forced to wear the things you don't reach for first, you begin to get a very clear mental picture of why you wear what you wear often.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2019, 08:21:19 AM »
Don't give up. There's middle ground here that does not require you to just shrug and walk away.

The reason the OP is getting "leave her alone" advice is that she already is working on a middle ground, and that's not good enough for OP.  OP's S/O has agreed to pare down her clothing, has pared down her clothing, but OP wants more.  He wants her to get rid of the items HE wants her to get rid of, and it's really her choice.

When my spouse's clutter is bothering me, I usually say "hey, this isn't working for me, can we find somewhere to store this so it's not in the way?"  I don't say "hey, can you throw away this stuff because I've decided you don't need it?"  The first approach works far better, and about half the time she'll pare stuff down on her own when she realizes we don't have storage space.  Most of my decluttering efforts are for my own stuff, and occasionally I'll ask that we conquer a joint area like the kitchen.  So yes, my spouse and I have a middle ground, but that middle ground still involves me letting her make all her own decisions about her own stuff.

Goldielocks

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2019, 10:08:21 AM »
I've used the box it up method for things I'm on the fence about and it works for me sometimes. What worked better when I had a lot of clothes was to box up my five or so MOST worn outfits for a few weeks. When you're forced to wear the things you don't reach for first, you begin to get a very clear mental picture of why you wear what you wear often.
Okay,  this is brilliant.

I do the opposite (more of a toyota lean approach) -- I box up the maybes and put a label "Use by" on the box.  I make it like a tape seal, so if the seal is not broken / items are not removed in 6 months, then I am able to donate.   I do this for work (all those mechanic shops and storage spaces) a lot, and it works extremely well in group / shared settings.

StarBright

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2019, 11:07:04 AM »
All women, but particularly those who have professional jobs, are held to a ridiculous standard in terms of physical appearance.  Men and women in some jobs can get by with two pairs of jeans and a few shirts and one pair of shoes but this is not true for some women.  And it's not something we make up in our heads: there are actual, tangible consequences for violating these social expectations, even if it's not as obvious as having rotten tomatoes thrown at you and people shouting "shameshameshame".  Definitely let her do it, stepwise if that is more comfortable.  One thing I do when I am unsure is put things in the attic first.  If I haven't missed it in 6 months/1 year, off it goes.

^ related - when I went minimal-ish I got rid of so many shoes. And then I never had the right shoes for work events and I felt less professional and over the years have just gone out and re-bought the equivalents of the shoes I'd gotten rid of. I still have less than a lot of people (probably about 10 pair now) but can definitely see where shoes, women, and professionalism all go together.

Don't let shoes be the hill to die on here!

AlotToLearn

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2019, 04:46:27 PM »
My S/O has begun to embrace the minimialist lifestyle, and this weekend (mainly today as part of our holiday staycation), she is taking on the task of cleaning out her closets of clothes she no longer needs/wears. The goal is to pair down to truly the essential items, and donate the pile of clothing/shoes to the Goodwill.

The problem/challenge is their are items she owns she has some type of emotional connection too (especially her shoes). I believe she will narrow down the clothing to a point, but getting her to let go of a pair of heels she has worn maybe twice ever is like pulling teeth.

Any advice/tips appreciated.

An update -

We were able to make some progress yesterday, and come to a compromise. She kept her favorite five pairs of shoes/heels, while listing three on eBay that she believes will fetch some good money that she will throw toward her CC debt, and donating the rest this afternoon to our church. Those, along with some old work outfits she no longer wears, made it to the church, and I could tell there was a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing this by my gf.

Cranky

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2019, 05:43:54 PM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

THANK YOU, I wanted to say this. It's honestly baffling to me, unless, like, your grandpa was a cobbler and made you a custom pair right before he died.

Iíve got the pair of socks I was wearing when my first baby was born. I love them very much.

Mountains mama

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2019, 05:22:12 AM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

THANK YOU, I wanted to say this. It's honestly baffling to me, unless, like, your grandpa was a cobbler and made you a custom pair right before he died.

Iíve got the pair of socks I was wearing when my first baby was born. I love them very much.

I still wear the now 20 year old dressing gown I wore when nursing my children, holes and all.

OtherJen

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2019, 07:22:17 AM »
How do people have emotional connections to shoes?

THANK YOU, I wanted to say this. It's honestly baffling to me, unless, like, your grandpa was a cobbler and made you a custom pair right before he died.

Iíve got the pair of socks I was wearing when my first baby was born. I love them very much.

I still wear the now 20 year old dressing gown I wore when nursing my children, holes and all.

I didnít get rid of the beloved black dress boots that I wore when defending my doctoral dissertation even after I gained 20 lbs and could no longer zip them up my calves.

Last year, I lost 15 of those lbs and could wear the boots again. Iím so glad I kept them, even though I think I wore them maybe 6 times over the entire fall/winter period.

Rosy

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Re: Closet cleanout for a new minimialist
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2019, 08:09:51 AM »
I've used the box it up method for things I'm on the fence about and it works for me sometimes.

What worked better when I had a lot of clothes was to box up my five or so MOST worn outfits for a few weeks. When you're forced to wear the things you don't reach for first, you begin to get a very clear mental picture of why you wear what you wear often.

That's not just brilliant but rather radical:)! I'm not sure I could even do this, but may give it a try on my next closet clean out.

Yes, decluttering is a process and sometimes there is a backlash when you got rid of something that you later regretted.
Let's face it - not everything can be easily replaced or even re-purchased.
Generally speaking, though I am not attached to my clothing or my shoes - I just want to have stuff that fits and looks good. But stuff wears out and your body and your preferences change so letting go is a good idea to make room for new.

Over the years my rule has become if the closet overflows it is time to declutter, nothing new enters the house until the purge has commenced. I never pack away clothing, but I allow up to five articles to stay that I am not entirely ready to let go.
Shoes that fit well have over the years become a problem to find and so I occasionally purchase two pair if I find the right ones - to me that is just sensible and saves me time in hunting down the right pair.