I have a secret to tell. Today, through this column, I want to come out of the closet. In fact, I want everyone who’s reading this, to come out of the closet. Okay, not in the sense that you are thinking, but rather literally. Stand outside the closet and take a look inside. Stressed at what you see?
Well, I got immensely stressed when yesterday Chaddhaji’s daughter, Bansuri, invited me over to seek advice on what she should wear for an office party. Before she could warn me, I made the mistake of opening her cupboard. A mound of clothes simply gurgled out, burying me upto the waist under the heap. I threatened Chaddhaji that unless I get suitably compensated for the physical injury and the mental trauma of being buried under Bansuri’s underwear, I shall go to the media and make a big deal of it. At which, the king of irrelevant answers that Chaddhaji is, replied, “We don’t get India TV on our cable TV”. Well wha...what? Whatever.
Anyway, the thing is that the almirah was super stuffed with outfits Bansuri hadn’t said hello to, in years. But why blame just her. She could be exceptionally messy but this disease — closet clutter— is one that each one of us suffers from.
You may be shaking your head but can you seriously look me in the eye and say that your closet does not have clothes that you can’t or won’t wear from some reason? Am sure you can’t, because we all are guilty of this crime. We love our clothes so much that we continue to keep them even when we have outgrown them or realised that they were a mistake purchase to begin with. Sometimes we try to give emotional reasons for this lunacy… this was the dress I wore to my school farewell, or to my first date, or when I broke up with my seventeenth girlfriend (ok, not this one). But those are just excuses for a mental block we have. We just can’t bring ourselves to discard or give away clothes, even if it means living with the clutter forever. In fact, we keep buying new clothes and add to the mess.
A 1998 study by the University of Stockholm revealed that out of 4,500 patients of chronic stress who were analysed, a whopping 76 per cent admitted to having messy closets full of unused or unusable clothes. Okay fine, I just made all of that up but if random numbers make a simple truth more believable, so be it. The fact remains that clutter causes stress. Stress because the cupboard looks a mess whenever we open it, stress because we end up repeating the same 4-5 outfits that we find lying in the front only because we don’t feel like taking the trouble of digging in further. So, for an instant dose of calmness, adopt the following routine now...and every two months.
Open your closet and take everything out. Be prepared to witness a royal mess in the beginning but trust me, when you are done sorting it out, the result would be worth it. Inspect each garment one by one and ask yourself if it is still in style, and whether it’ll still fit you.
Then divide all the garments into three categories — Discard, Donate and Keep. All someday-I hope-to-fit-into-this type of garments must be discarded or donated, because that day will never come. And if it will, you’ll feel like rewarding yourself with something new. Donate everything that’s in a good condition but you have outgrown. Everything you haven’t worn in six months must go into trash without any sentiments, because if you didn’t find use for it till now, chances are you never will.Keep only what you will really wear and see your closet breathe again. Remember that removing clutter not just cleans up space, it cleans up the mind. Try it.
Sonal Kalra tried to divide her clothes and ended up placing everything in the ‘keep’ category. She even brought home a friend’s ‘donate’ pile. Closet door is stuck now.