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Clear Closet, Clear Mind?

Photograph by Twenty20

To me, clutter has always been a number-one offender. Perhaps my mind is already so full and moving a mile a minute, that to see piles of knickknacks, old mail, receipts and random toy parts is just too much for me to process.

I am constantly tidying and throwing away scraps of anything I consider dispensable (a habit that has essentially caused my husband to squirrel away all that he considers even slightly important); this year, the practice has hit my closet—hard.

I hear a lot of my friends who are new moms say within the first year of having a baby that they hate everything in their closet. Of course things inevitably fit differently (or not at all), but aside from fit, it seems that the sartorial side of new motherhood means simple, classic and fuss-free.

At least, that’s the aesthetic I’ve adopted (and it’s not too far from how I have always dressed) but the pared-down part is certainly a dramatic shift. I’ve eliminated over half of my closet and edited down to less than 30 or so pieces and less than 20 pairs of shoes. (I do understand how obnoxious that might sound but as a longtime fashion editor, I’ve accumulated quite a bit, so the numbers are all relative.)

At the top of the year, I focused on a "one in, one out" policy. I can’t buy a new bag or jeans without first selling or giving away a couple or usually more items. Plus, I constantly edit what I have and donate bags and bags of the items I haven’t worn in ages.

I spend longer contemplating what I buy, which admittedly isn’t always the most gratifying thing but it leads to less buyer’s remorse, less time and energy spent returning items, and much more wear and longterm satisfaction—not to mention less time spent thinking about what to wear in the morning.

It’s not quite uniform dressing, though there’s nothing wrong with that. Having five pairs of jeans I’m obsessed with actually makes getting dressed exciting not mundane. Plus I’m way less overwhelmed without the overrun of random blouses and piles of old skinny jeans that no longer inspire me to be a creative dresser anyway.

At the moment, my closet feels pretty bare. I’ve really stripped it down to just the items I couldn’t live without and am looking forward to the most likely long journey of replenishing it with exciting “forever” pieces and only the things that make me feel inspired to get dressed and, of course, the often harried morning routine much more efficient.

Melissa Magsaysay is co-founder of The Hive.

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