A few months back, I got home from work and popped open a sleek bottle of red wine and poured myself a cheap glass of red into one of my four misfit wine glasses. After recapping the bottle with a mermaid corkscrew, I took ten steps back to my room. In a tiny New York City apartment, the distance from the kitchen to my room is pretty much nonexistence. No need to ever leave dirty dishes in your room! But when you snuggle into the white sheets, laptop on deck, and a glass of wine on the windowsill, you realize it looks better there then back in the kitchen anyways….
After sitting and detoxing from the day for a minute, I spotted a grotesque pile of clean clothes adjacent to my closet. Grotesque and clean? Yes, because piles of newly clean clothes is a horrid sight. Most of the time I wash and dry a few pieces of clothes, then toss them on the bed. My train of thought is, okay when I get home I won’t be able to sleep until they’re put away. Wrong. To the corner they go, simultaneously turning into a “grotesque pile of clean clothes”, a grimacing sign of untidiness and laziness.
So with that, I rolled over to get up out of my state of detox and threw the clothes back onto my bed. I twisted the silver closet door nob and adjusted to fit into my now smaller room. Oh no, another horrid sight– clothes so tightly compacted in there I didn’t even know what I truly owned. Well that doesn’t make much sense.
Fact: 80% of people only wear 20% of the clothes they own. At this point, it’s safe to say that I fit into that statistic. What’s worse is in the USA alone, 10.5 million tons of clothing are sent to a landfill every single year. The #1 reason people throw out their clothing is they don’t like it anymore.
As I start pulling out shirt after shirt I realize, “I don’t like this anymore, but shit I only wore it once”. Oh look this tank still has its tags from J. Crew from 2002. WHAT. Not okay.
After a little over two hours, I have over 150 shirts, pants, blazers, dresses piled onto my bed that I no longer want or need. Living in NYC gives me access to so many different places in all areas of the city to donate such as:
- Housing Works
- Urban Pathways
Here’s a website where you can find places to donate your old (or new!) clothes– Donate NYC. Other items like electronics, couches, coffee pots, tables, tools etc can be donated too. Donate NYC’s mission is to help “New Yorkers reach the goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030”. If you’re unable to bring it to a specific location, there are partners that will come and pick up your donations for you.
Taking a step into your closet and pulling open your messy dresser to realize that you probably have much more than you need, you’ll feel your mind and body start to rebalance when you begin the “clothes purging process”. Just like having too little raises cortisol levels, so does having too much. When I looked over at that pile of clothes in the corner, I felt stressed and out of balance, but when I began to clean and de-clutter I didn’t feel drained, I felt great.
“It’s about balance,” Walsh says of clutter control. “If you have so much stuff it drags you into the past or pulls you into the future, you can’t live in the present.”-Peter Walsh, WebMD
Since the initial cleaning, I’ve given away over 200 articles of clothing. I still have more I need to go through, especially as we move away from winter. I encourage you to find a cause that you support and begin donating. Not only will it help you, but it’ll impact others in your community as well. On top of that, try being more mindful with what you’re buying. Do I love this? Why do I love it? Do I need this? Does this bring me joy? Then you won’t have to climb out of bed to organize your grotesque pile of clean clothes every other evening and instead you can read a good book. Win.