Yesterday I had a conversation with my lunch friend about decluttering and our closets. This is a woman who once complimented me by saying I always looked perfect, so formal and dressed up, with everything matching--which struck me at the time as a kind of back-handed compliment.
Since that time, both our styles have evolved, and we've actually moved closer towards each other. I am less formal, giving up linen sheath dresses, pantyhose and pumps, while she has added higher-end soft tailored separates to her jeans-and-Tshirt look. This actually reflects our improved personal relationship as well.
Interestingly, at lunch yesterday I explained about my express closet experiment of the last eighteen months, moving from a fifteen-piece closet to a twenty-piece closet, where I rotate through the group on a regular basis, plus accessories, outerwear, and Tshirts. I've got a solid fall/winter closet and a solid spring/summer closet.
This co-worker gawked.
Good news: I guess my limited closet isn't obvious, because it was clear she hadn't noticed it.
I outlined how the experiment worked. Since we had gotten to the discussion by talking about decluttering our closets, that was my point: how easy it was to get rid of things once I knew which things I was going to rely on regularly and which things I was never going to wear. One thing I had not realized was how simple it all sounded when said out loud.
The conversation went on to other things, but my mind lingered here. I looked at my "not wear" closet again when I came home and realized I still had more clothing to shed, lots of it. The things that are linger do so because I cannot readily get rid of them because of their emotional baggage for me--some form of emotional baggage embedded in each piece. Thus next on my list is facing the emotional baggage and dealing with these things, one piece at a time.
I also rescued myself yesterday: I nearly spent over $200 in sale pieces at J. Crew. Tremendous savings off the original prices, but the three pieces wouldn't really suit me or expand my closet significantly. It is certainly that time of year when new spring styles tempt me, but more the need both to buy something (anything?) and to "improve" my closet is seductive. Fortunately, I took a look at the $$$ and details and then thought about the things I need more (a netbook, rent money in Paris, a new car). I left the site without buying.
Good on me.