Spring cleaning your way to an ethical closet
As we enter spring, I can’t help but think about one of my favorite lines from The Great Gatsby: “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
Spring, for me, has always been a natural time of change and preparation. The weather shifts. It’s the perfect time to revisit any goals from the New Year, moving forward with an extra pep in your step (thank you Vitamin D!) in anticipation of summer adventures. At YIREH we’ve been focused on incorporating acts of mindfulness into our lives and how to be conscious consumers - and we’re carrying that theme into our spring cleaning. Today Emily (Owner/Designer) and I (Erika, Brand Manager) are sharing a bit about mindfully approaching our seasonal closet clean-outs.
A few years ago I switched to a capsule wardrobe (just one for one season in Hawaii - hah!) and have since enjoyed keeping a pretty minimal wardrobe for myself. (For my kids is a different story - tiny clothes are so cute!) I generally don’t buy anything new without letting go of something old by reselling, gifting, or as a last resort, donating. My approach is a bit brutal and I quickly rid myself of anything that hasn’t seen much use or that doesn’t spark joy a la Marie Kondo.
This year my spring closet clean-out is a bit more literal in that I’m clearing out my winter wardrobe and unpacking my summer clothes. As I put away my winter clothes, I go through each one, making a mental note of pieces that didn’t get much use this winter. I set aside a small pile of sweaters and button-ups that I plan to sell second-hand and fold everything else into a basket that will be tucked into the corner of my closet until it is needed again. (After all, it’s still early in the spring and it’s totally possible I’ll need those sweaters handy again before warm temperatures are here to stay.) And as I pull out my summer clothes, I hang up all of my favorite items, organizing them by type (tanks, tees, light sweaters, jumpsuits, dresses, etc.) so that I can easily see where I may have excess or what I might be lacking. I try to imagine myself wearing each item, where I might go or what I might do. And if I can’t picture myself in it, or if I can only picture myself wearing it once for that one special event, then it’s probably got to go. I like to be excited to get dressed every day, and to feel confident and comfortable when I’m on the go.
Living in Hawai’i, I keep my wardrobe pretty consistent. The climate doesn’t change often so I don’t have much use for warmer layers. However, I do keep a few pieces on hand for trips and colder days. For me, a spring closet cleanout consist of going through my closet and editing out pieces that I haven’t worn in a while, or no longer have a use for. This can sometimes be hard for me because I attach a sentimental value to almost everything. But I try to remind myself of how good it feels to downsize and keep pieces that I only really love. This goes for shoes and accessories as well.
Going through my closet regularly helps me to familiarize myself with every piece of clothing I own, which often keeps me from excessive buying. There have been so many times where I thought I loved something, and purchased it to only ended up wearing it once or twice. When I go through my closet regularly, I am reminded of this cycle when I’m out shopping and it often helps me in my decision making process of whether or not I should make a purchase. So this spring I plan on doing the same, and hopefully extending this practice to other areas of my home.
As a quick recap, here is our advice in 3 easy steps:
- Mark your calendar for a few days throughout the year to clean out your closet. Sorting through regularly will help you be mindful of everything you have and help you to make better decisions when shopping.
- Pull everything out and enjoy the process of looking through each pieces, remembering where its been or dreaming about future adventures. Let go of anything that no longer fits, hasn’t been worn in awhile, or that you just don’t love. Save anything sentimental in a small box you can store away.
- Get creative! As you put your closet back together, try mixing and matching items in new combinations or adding in different accessories. Plan out different outfits for any upcoming events or trips to help you get excited about your wardrobe.
Being aware of the current state of your closet and having a vision for what you’d like your wardrobe to become is a good place to start in cultivating a mindful practice for your clothing. An ethical closet is a journey and a process, and this is a great place to start!
What does your spring cleaning look like? Share your tips with us on Instagram!
Erika & Emily