Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Decluttering books and clothes

The Summer Holidays for schools in The Netherlands is six weeks. Usually I tackle some big cleaning jobs like my bookcases (10 normal ones, plus the shelves in the bedroom and the extra bookcase in the living room). I also organize my wardrobe and clean that. This year, I also wanted to get rid of a few things, it was time to declutter and to clean out.

First: Books
I buy a lot of books and often I buy too many books. Often I do not buy books because I need them, or because I really want to read them, I buy them because I want to buy books. It makes no sense and it is really stupid, but I do it.

Sometimes I tried a shopping rule, like only buying a certain amount of books per month, but then I would also try to get around that rule, because a salary-month is not the same as a calendar-month.

That is how I ended up with books on my shelves I did not really want to read.

Last week I decided I would cull my books, and only keep the ones I really like. Hanging on to books just because I bought them makes no sense to me. I already spent the money and my life does not get better by hanging on to books (or other possessions) that do no enrich my life but instead take up space and energy.

This is what I did:

Books I kept:
-        Books I love
-        Books I love to re—read
-        Books I have not read yet, but really want to
-        Books that are part of a series that I love

Books I did not keep
-        Books I did not love
-        Books that were oke, but I would never re-read
-        Books I only bought because I thought I had to have them (certain classics for example), but I dread reading them
-        Books I just cannot be bothered to read and I do not know why I ever bought them

In the end I had five bags filled with books (and some dvds ad well), and I took them all to the thrift store the next day. I am quite happy with my new, decluttered shelves. Only I must remember not to buy books immediately to fill all all that newly found space...

Neat piles of t-shirts (3 piles, shortsleeved, longsleeved and
tanktops)
Second part of decluttering: clothes
I love shoes and handbags and I wish I had more money and more storage space, but I am afraid I have neither J. Especially the space in my closet makes sure I do not overbuy on these things, but I easily could!

I also love clothes, although I am not really fashionable. I never really knew my own style and usually tried out several garments in different styles. Not all of them looked good on me, but I bought them nevertheless. Often it happened I bought something only to find out it did not go with any of my other things. Or that it did not really fit me as well as I thought.
Result? A closet full of clothes and almost none of them made me (really) happy.

How to get rid of things in my closet?
Two years ago I wanted to change and to dress in what really suited me, not in what I thought would suit me.
Long live the world wide web, I must say, Everything you want can be found, somewhere in the world! I joined a website which gives styleadvice, MissusSmartyPanse. This is an American website with great advice, and I am really happy I joined (just joined up for the third year) The examples of clothing are from American stores we do not have over here, but that does not matter, the general ideas of flattering clothes are something I can use to shop in the shops over here.

I also took some coloring advice, to see if I wore the right colors for me. For example, I always wore a lot of black. I thought it suited me (being blonde), black always goes with black and it is slimming (or so I thought).
But when my color-advice came, black was not amongst the colors listed for me. And I now realize that black is too harsh for me, it makes me older than I am. My new neutral colors are grey and dark-blue, and I look so much better in them.
I also really like pastels, pale-pink, pale-blue etc. In reality, these colors wash me out, I look much better in stronger colors. I printed out the color-chart and laminated it and put it in my wallet. So every time I go shopping now, I take out my card to check if the color of the garment I want to buy is a color that will look good on me.

The past six month I took the next step and started to lose some weight (14.5 kilograms (2.28 stone/31.96 lbs)) (still losing weight, It is a slow process, but better slow than too quick and that you gain all the weight you lost back in a month or something like that. Better slow and safe, but steady, I think). But losing the weight means I can wear a different size clothes and the clothes look better on me.

As you can imagine all these things do amazing work for my self-esteem and I finally feel I am coming closer to being me. I wear clothes I love and I know suit me, and I feel so much better for it.

As for the decluttering of my wardrobe:
What went out?
-        Clothes in the wrong size
-        Clothes in the wrong color.
-        Clothes I do not really like
-        Clothes I kept ‘just in case’ (I had a hideous sweater in my closet for years, just in case I needed a sweater. I finally threw it out)

What could stay and what comes in?
-        Clothes in the right size
-        Clothes in the right colors
-        Clothes that suit me, my personality, my life and my body type.
-        Clothes I can wear at least in 3 different ways with the clothes I already have in my closet
-        Clothes that I need. I make a list of what I miss in my closet and I try to shop for that. Buying a grey top while I already have 5 grey tops in my closet is no longer something I do.
At least, I'll try no to.

Is this something you recognize? Do you also buy too many books or clothes? And do you declutter?

MissusSmartyPants can be found Here
And if you are in the habit of over-spending on clothes or are you even a shopaholic, then Recovering shopacholic Here will probably give you some very good advice.

2 comments:

  1. Who doesn't buy too many books and too many clothes? I've been trying to clean out my closet lately, too. Everything I hate to wear goes! I'm keeping only the items I love. And my books? I'm always pulling a few books off my shelves to make room for new books. I love your criteria for what books to keep and what books to give away. Those are some really good rules. Have fun decluttering! I hope you have room on your many bookshelves for new books. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only keep the things you love (both in books and clothes) is a very good criterium, I think! I love a good declutter, especially when you see the space you create.
      Good luck with your closet as well!

      Kind regards,

      Delete

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