Having struggled for many years to keep my closet neat, I finally found a solution that worked best for me.
“I have too many clothes”, I blurted out, shocking my circle of friends. My statement baffled them. What kind of modern day woman complains about owning too many clothes? Society more often hears: “I have nothing to wear.”
Do not misunderstand me. As a woman, I enjoyed my fair share of shopping sprees. However, I reached a state of realization that I have too many clothes. What bothered me the most were my closets that resembled Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, filled with neon, shimmer, leathers and vintage items, most with the tags still attached to them. Some clothes were worn once or twice and sent to the darkness of my closets never to see sunlight again. Nobody dared to enter my personal closet realm as it was guarded, not by a tiger spirit, but by a daunting excess of items.
With time, my overflowing closets expanded in to the next room until my belongings filled all but a few shelves that I kept for my non-judgmental husband.
Like many women, I went through several seasonal closet cleanouts only to fall back into old habits. Self-help articles about ‘cleaning out your closet’ gave me instantaneous results, but nothing long-term. This got me frustrated every time I realized I had completely forgotten about a purchase that was now out of season.
However, a discussion with a friend of mine brought to my attention a deeper issue: the bad habit of clothes hoarding. I kept so many clothes that no longer fit me because of the sentimental value and the specific memories attached to them. Believe it or not, I still kept the yellow tulle puff dress I wore on my 3rd birthday. I did not understand why I cluttered clothes and had no interest in delving down that emotional road, but I did realize one thing: many items had to get the axe from my closets.
Realizing an issue is the first step to resolving it. What I needed next was an action plan or useful tips to overcome the ‘common’ futile decluttering technique.
The simple solution came to me in 2014, the day I asked my mother to buy me three new Eid jalabiyas from ‘Freej Almerar’. To my surprise, she refused and said she will only buy me three new jalabiyas once I donated three of my own. Upon her insistence, I was forced to give away three old jalabiyas.
Back then, it seemed counter-intuitive to donate something perfectly wearable. Then again, looking back, I realize it was the initial donation that led to my current super-organized closet situation. My closet nowadays is too organized that I get asked by my close friends to work my magic on theirs. This was all because my wise mother taught me, indirectly, the one in one out rule: for every one item that enters my closet, another one must exit. And even though I developed other ‘good’ habits over the past 2 years regarding organizing my closets, nothing worked as good as (one in: one out).
Shurooq, an Emarati from Dubai, has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since she shifted career from Science to humanitarian where she found joy. Her interests include traveling and foreign films. Shurooq’s column is influenced by those distinctive moments that give a deeper perspective on life.