Turn fear-based decision-making into giving back

November 19, 2022

Is this you? Do you look at your closet and desperately want to get rid of items you’ve had for too many years, but when you get out a trash bag, you can’t get rid of anything? You torture yourself with the thoughts of, “What if I want to wear option A with option B someday?” You know in your heart you won’t wear it often, and you’ve contemplated putting items into storage. Do you feel like your closet is blah, taking you 4 or 5 tries to put together an outfit? Your wardrobe needs a kick in the pants.

First of all, this describes classic fear-based decision-making. When you pick up something from your wardrobe, instead of determining its purpose in your life and how it fits, you worry about not being able to pair items together in its absence. Switch your mindset. Instead of thinking about what you should get rid of, think about what you should keep. Make decisions based on positive feelings rather than negative feelings. Keep items that genuinely ignite excitement at the thought of wearing them.

So, this leads me to turning fear-based decision-making into giving back. Let’s get to purging and donating. Twice a year, I get this intense urge to streamline my life, which includes getting rid of clutter. This purging usually coincides with seasonal changes, which is where we are right now. Regardless of the reason or motivation for wardrobe purging, you must do this occasionally to maximize your outfit efficiency and purchase efficiency.

You can use your clothes in new and exciting ways by combining things you wouldn’t ordinarily. You can’t do this efficiently and effectively if you’ve got a lot of unnecessary clutter in your closets and dresser drawers. When your wardrobe is cram-packed with extra items that you never wear, don’t even like, or didn’t know that you even had, you tend to grab and gravitate toward the items with which you are most comfortable.

Interestingly enough, we as men get attached to things, including clothes. I’ve had underwear that were so worn out that they wouldn’t even hold a testicle, let alone two. I kept them for so long because I loved them. I also had a couple of shirts long past their prime simply because I liked the specific color. And I’ve also kept shorts that I loved even though they made me look like I had a vagina. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. We have something in our wardrobe right now that we’ve hung on to way too long that we should not be wearing, has holes in it, or is worn out. We keep it for whatever reason.

Now, worn-out clothes are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure you have items in your wardrobe that you’ve been hanging on to for years and haven’t gotten rid of them. You never wore them, but they are still hanging in your closet. The same thing happens to me.

When purging your wardrobe, a rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn an item into seasonal rotations meaning if it’s summer and you haven’t worn a specific t-shirt in two summers, it’s safe to get rid of that item. If you haven’t worn a particular item in one year, that item should be purged. Tuxedos and unique items are an exception.

The easiest is to pull anything you absolutely do not like. Maybe it’s just old and tired, and you haven’t worn it in 10 years. Also, pull out things you don’t need. When you’re finished, you will have a massive trash bag of old gear.

To help you with your purging, here are some items that are never coming back into style. You can get rid of these items now: man mule, logo tees, fedoras, boxers, sleep pants, baggy jeans, dude capris, and skinny ties.

On the flip side, items you need to keep include a pair of mildly distressed medium wash jeans, a black t-shirt, minimal white leather sneakers, a hoodie, a three-button Henley, a badass pair of boots, black denim jeans, a bomber jacket, sunglasses, a watch, and a lightweight sweater with a polo collar.

Keep it simple, but not minimalistic simple, of course. You need to keep a few ratty old t-shirts and a few pairs of pants for working out in the yard or hiking. You don’t want to get your nice stuff dirty. But the majority of your clothing and your wardrobe should be clothing that you love, that fits you properly, and that you feel confident & fantastic wearing.

When purging is completed, you’ll have trash bags of your discarded items, which I strongly suggest you donate to charity. MUST Ministries in Atlanta is where I take my donations, as this charity takes care of people, helps them find jobs, and helps families in need. Men out of work and don’t have something nice to wear to an interview can go to MUST and find some clothes. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are other options, but they charge for the clothes, unlike MUST where the clothes are free.

I’m a small guy, so my clothes fit a lot of teenagers, and MUST Ministries gives away clothes to people attending school, which will help them assimilate more easily. I feel good about donating clothes and giving back. I just finished dropping off some bags of clothes, and going into a place like that puts life into perspective. You realize just how fortunate you are, and it feels good to help in whatever way possible. I encourage you to donate what you’ve purged to charity or a homeless shelter. There are places worldwide that can accept donations that will go to a good cause.

Now get to purging! Next week we’ll discuss how to organize the items.

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