After living in our home for 9 years, we recently sold it to a lady who gave us a fantastic offer . When we bought the place, it was a falling apart shack on the beach, a crack house backyard full of broken glass, rubbish and weeds and an inside that smelt dubiously of mould, rust and wet swimmers. The place needed to be completely gutted and I got incredibly excited to roll up my sleeves and play architect/ interior designer. Then I got pregnant. Nausea was an understatement yet it was still fun to see a dream take shape in front of my eyes... that is, until well into my third trimester the whole project became a nail biting experience; the floor of the house was still just dirt and there was no toilet to speak of. I may or may not have ( I did ) turned into a fire breathing dragon the builders had nightmares about - hey, I’m Croatian after all and clearly there wasn’t enough motivation since it was running way over schedule!
Anyway, the house turned out beautiful and I've been so grateful to live here and raise our daughter Coco in such a special place. Apart from the amazing backyard, deep Boffi bath and huge ensuite bathroom, the one thing that I made sure of was that the house had oodles of storage. Deep, vast storage that for a while lay empty until it filled to the brim.
Tonight, on the last night in this house, I sit among a crazy amount of boxes and reflect on just how many things we collected over the years. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Am I a compulsive hoarder that will end up with lots of malnutritioned cats, mountains of decaying stuff and expensive council clean up fees? This last week of organizing has been insane- there were cupboards I haven’t looked into for years and things I haven’t worn , well - ever ( Saint Vincent De Paul's should crack open some champagne today! ) but the whole experience has thought me so many lessons it’s not funny. Here are some of my newfound pearls of wisdom..
1. Being a minimalist is great. I envy French women and my blogger friend Sarah Donaldson for having succinct , stylish, tonal wardrobes where everything goes with everything and stuff seems so orgamanized and clear. After digging through my walk in for a week, I have sadly recognized this will never, ever be me. I go ga ga over sparkles, textures and colour. Hardly any of my things go together. I am doomed for a life of haphazard impulse buys, magpie choices and off the cuff styling. I am both happy and sad about this.
2. This is not to say that I don’t have a uniform wardrobe of go to easy pieces. It’s extremely important to have great basics and good quality staples, aka forever pieces, however, I started uncovering so many basics that it made me wonder what exactly I was doing when shopping. As someone who is a sucker for a good sale, it’s easy for me to get carried away on a whim. After my clean out, I now pledge to go into sales with a clear note to myself on the things I truly need and not be swayed by the enticing price tags.
3. I have kept all my vintage but not all my expensive designer clothes. Weird huh? I don’t know if it is sentimental value, the hope that one day I will redesign all my special vintage pieces into something exciting, or wanting Coco to have something so old for posterity but I just couldn’t let go. Which leads me to..
4. Just because it was once expensive doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping. You know how you have those things that you bought or were gifted that are in theory completely lust worthy and amazing but in practice just don’t look at all good on you? These pieces are the great cloggers of wardrobes. They are hard to get rid of because of their monetary value, but let’s face it; those pieces will never, ever look good on you. Just let them go. Unless you are waiting to slim down or fatten up to fit them ( and sincerely, is this truly ever going to happen?) or you have a clear plan to take up swimming lessons to broaden your shoulders just to fill that statement jacket you love , just release them to a better home and choose something that actually fits.
5. Identify the things you buy over and over and break the cycle. I don’t need 17 yellow dresses , 11 pairs of culottes or 15 red bras. I don’t need 9 pairs of “stylish” tracksuit pants, 5 oversized sweaters or 4 pink skirts. Why does this happen? Do I not remember I have similar things in the wardrobe? It’s such a weird phenomenon. Keep the best one of these, possibly a second one if the cut/vibe is very different, a third if spectacular . Re-home the rest immediately and keep track of your compulsions when shopping in the future.
6. The old adage of “If you haven't worn it for a year, get rid of it” is not just horribly wrong but insanely incorrect. Those pieces you really, really loved, that fit you like a mould and perfectly encapsulated a trend will inevitably come back around the fashion wheel again. And then you’ll be sorry you let them go. Preserve good pieces and they will become awesome vintage full of fun stories.
7. Cull, cull then cull more! Having a wardrobe that air can actually circulate through is a definite benefit when it comes to Sydney's mould problem just as it is great to see everything that is hanging up orderly. I said goodbye to half my wardrobe in this move and it does feel cathartic to let go. I think it was Louise L Hay that coined the affirmation that went something like: " As I clean my wardrobe so I clean the corners of my mind " and it is definitely true. Seriously though, don't get too carried away , you may need some of those things again!
Remember being a maximalist is both a curse and a blessing! Here’s to sartorial zen! : )