Closet Purge-a-tory: The Maybe Pile


It seems counterintuitive to declutter when you’re in the midst of a low buy year, but I was itching to do one this month instead of wait until the end of Winter in March. My mindset was different this time around: Rather than wanting to make room for new things, I wanted to just make space–negative space so that I can see more of what I already own and use them. And so last weekend, Brandon and I did just that–we went through our shared closet. We held up each piece one by one and decided if we wanted to keep them or not. Brandon, for once, had quite a bit he wanted to let go. I, on the other hand, could only let go of a Madewell tee and three pairs of old (pretty worn) shoes.

I did realize though that I had a lot in my maybe pile–the pile I now call my Closet Purge-a-tory (clever, I know), the place where all clothes go before they make their way to better places. These were pieces that I still liked; that I could still see myself wearing; that I wore maybe once or twice in the last few months or the last year; that I couldn’t quite let go of quite yet. I’ve listed those pieces below.



Madewell Kent Grey Cardigan
Vetta Capsule Oversized Sweater

TOPS (7)
Suunday Dew Pullover
Everlane Navy Cotton Long-Sleeve Crew 
Everlane Boxy Striped Tee
Muji Linen Tee
Suunday Dolman Gauze Top
Madewell Barcelona Tee
Tradlands Sienna Girlfriend Tee

3rd Season Black Riviera Dress
MeMi Party Dress
Urban Outfitters Floral Babydoll Dress
Free People Jumpsuit
Hackwith Design House Balloon Pant Jumper

Topshop Studded Ankle Boots
Adidas Super Star Original Sneakers
Adidas Stan Smith Original Sneakers
Jeffrey Campbell Embroidered Flats


Some of these pieces are not quite in season. Some of these pieces are a little sentimental. Some of these pieces have been stuck in this purge-a-tory for quite a while, and yet I still haven’t managed to wear them or to let them go. So what do I do with them? Why do I continue to hold onto them? What was the point? They were just taking up unnecessary and precious space in my wardrobe (and in mind).

Maybe it’s because I’m worried that I’d miss them if they weren’t mine anymore; or because I’m worried that those pieces would become trendy again and I’d want them again; or because I just liked having those options on the off-chance I got sick of the pieces I regularly wore; or maybe because I know I’m such a mood dresser that I want to be prepared for a variety of moods, whatever the reason is–these pieces of clothes are beautiful and well made, and they deserve to be worn and loved. And so this year, I’m determined to whittle down this purge-a-tory and have a really streamlined wardrobe with pieces that I genuinely love and wear regularly.

I realized after seeing all these clothes sit in a pile together that if I was able to find the strength to let these pieces go to better homes that I’d have hit my goal of owning 50 clothing pieces. I’m not quite sure what my obsession with hitting that number target is. I know full well that minimalism means different things to different people–that for someone 50 is too many pieces and for another 50 is way too little, but my gut is just telling me that somewhere around 50 is the right number for me. My current Fall/Winter wardrobe is made up of 44 pieces and it feels just right (but sometimes a bit much), so I think have 50ish in all would be optimal. I think what’s taken me so long to get to this goal is that I’ve been so worried about over-decluttering and therefore will feel a need to over-buy, but I think I have a better sense of my style now than I did when I started. It’s time for me to move closer to the goal of 50 pieces.


wearing: tradlands fin jumpsuit (gifted), apc half moon bag, veja esplar sneakers

At this point in my minimalism journey, I’d really love for everything to slow down a bit–the buying and the decluttering–and for everything to just be still for a long while…hence, the low buy challenge this year. And so I’ve been giving the buyerarchy of needs a lot of thought recently. In sifting through my clothes last weekend, I noticed that some of these pieces would be worn more regularly if they fit a bit better–this Finn jumpsuit from Tradlands included. At 5’2″, length when it comes to bottoms is usually a problem. After an unfortunate hummus incident on one of my beloved wool sweaters (insert a Phoebe Buffay gif here), I took it as a sign to finally take said sweater and four jumpsuits to my dry cleaner, who also does alterations. I’m hoping that will encourage me to wear them more because I do love them and I won’t have to worry about stepping on the hem anymore.

So where does this leave me with the other pieces currently in my purge-a-tory?

I’m going to go slow. Like really slow. I’m not going to let any of them go just yet. I’m hoping that being in the midst of a low buy year that I’ll be inspired to wear more of these pieces because there won’t be too many shiny pieces distracting me from what I already own. I don’t want to overdeclutter. I’ve been known to do this in the past and have regretted some of the pieces I’ve let go. I’m also going to try to wrap my mind around finding a sweet spot of having pieces that I wear regularly (i.e. the ones that are part of my regular uniforms) and also having pieces that I wear from time to time (i.e. the ones that I wear when I feel just a tad girlier or like a bohemian princess). I’ve decided to store some away in my under-the-bed storage because absence sometimes makes my heart grow fonder, and if it does become out of sight, out of mind, then I’ll know that it’s truly time to let those go to better homes.