Spring cleaning is upon us, and in the same way that writing in specific fonts makes me feel smarter, organizing my closet gives me that fleeting — but nonetheless intoxicating — feeling that I’m on top of my shit.
I tend to go into the cleansing process feeling strong and intent, but often come out defeated.
It always starts with a little self-bullying.
“You will get rid of the crap that sits in your closet collecting dust with all the dreams you once had,” I’ll say. And when I start to second-guess my purge: “Don’t be weak. You will never, ever be invited to a luau…the lei you’re saving for such an event must go.”
I give up easily, sweet-talking myself into absurd corners that convince me I absolutely have to keep the shoes I’ve never worn and the dress that is an aesthetic representation of everything I hate — because, uh, people change…right? What if, similar to the Birkenstocks I gave away years ago (a moment I will never, ever forgive myself for), I start to yearn for color again? And fabrics that connote ebullient joy, rather than just a deep-seated ambivalence towards it?
By the time I’m asking myself these questions, I’ve already suffered self-inflicted amnesia, and am placing clothes back on the shelves where they will stay for another year of isolation.
Spring-elicited closet cleaning was an annual habit long before Eminem immortalized it. It’s the proverbial reboot button we press after a long winter season, which often tests our commitment to not just the clothes we’ve accrued, but the decisions we’ve made in tandem.
It does not, however, (for me at least) get easier as years pass. It continues to resuscitate the latent hoarder within me. A therapist would probably have a lot to say about this — maybe that my deep-seated material attachment issues are reflective of relationship insecurities, or my difficulty letting go. But I don’t have time to take the Freudian route with every setback, especially one that simply involves evening out a ratio of, say, black to less-black clothing.
I will admit that I need help, though. Google’s repetitive results on the subject have yet to provide any value, so, do you have any tips for biting the closet cleaning bullet and successfully getting on with it? How about just some common sense to talk into my sticky fingers?
Written by Jessica Schiffer
Image via Vogue Italia, shot by Miles Aldridge