Life is Like a Pile of Clothes


After using the same batch of clothes for the whole summer, I came home and reunited with the clothes I didn’t want to bring with me on my trip, aka the clothes that I never really liked. In one corner of my cabinet sat the undefeated champs of my wardrobe, my favorite shirts and the oldest and comfiest jeans, and on the other sat the rejects, like the “nice” blouse I never wear and the ill-fitting pair of pants that make me look like an elephant. Piled on top of each other were clothes I didn’t even know I had plus clothes I was a hundred percent sure weren’t even mine. I stared at my shelf, breathed in, and decided that it was time for The Purge™.

Every so often, I decided that it’s time to rid my clothes shelf of everything I don’t wear, that doesn’t fit me, or I don’t like anymore. The Purge™ is an opportunity for me to declutter and maybe even make some space for new clothes in the future. The Purge™ works in four steps.

Step One: Mt. Damit. This step is always super easy for me because at this point, my clothes are already in one messy pile anyway. I put them all together in one giant mountain in order to organize my disorganized mess. It makes every single piece of clothing equal in a way, like they’re all in this together in one elimination pile. Next comes the inspection.

Step Two: Inspection. I check for holes and broken pockets. I check if it’s too big or too small. I check if it’s mine or if isn’t. Do they still look decent? Do I demote them to pambahay? Do I hand them down to my cousins? Once this step is done, next comes the hardest part.

Step Three: Finding the Spark. My tita once taught me that the best way to decide whether or not to keep a piece of clothing is to hold it up, look at it, and see if it “sparks joy.” If that t-shirt makes you happy, keep it. If those pants make you cringe, say goodbye and move on. Saying, “Sayang naman if I give it away,” is not allowed, and neither is “Well, so-and-so gave this to me, so maybe I keep it.” If your heart doesn’t feel happy when you’re hold a brand new t-shirt, then put it aside and don’t look at it again. Someone else could really enjoy that shirt, instead of it just sitting in your closet gathering dust.

However, the reason this step is the hardest one for me is because I find it impossible to judge a piece of clothing based on my first reaction to it. Time and time again, clothes that I hate at first grow on me, and as I grow physically, they start suiting me much better than when I was younger. Plus, sometimes clothes that looked ugly on me one time looked better when I wore them in a different way. I have to take time to look at my clothes at all angles, deciding whether or not they have potential or if it’s time for them to go. At the end of it all, I have four piles. The “You still look good, I think I’ll keep you” pile, the “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” pile, the “I’m so sad you’re too small for me, goodbye” pile, and the “I never want to see you again” pile. While this step is the longest and the hardest, it’s also the most fun.

Finally, Step Four: Room for Improvement. I look at all my clothes, and write a list of things I need done. Repair this pocket, buy some new socks, iron this blouse, need new jeans. All of the steps have been leading up to this moment, when I can look at my cabinet and say, “How can I make this better?”

I always feel fulfilled when I finish another round of The Purge™. I find that it’s good practice for when I need to apply The Purge™ in real life.

Step one begins when I get overwhelmed with everything happening with me. I put all of my problems in one pile, like frustrations with school, drama with friends, looming deadlines, appointments, etcetera, all laid out in front of me, ready for inspection.

Step two. Which of these problems are out of my control? Which of these are actually important? Who needs me to do this? Can I reschedule this? Okay, all organized. Next step.

Step three. Again, this step takes the longest time, since it is the hardest. I have to find the “spark.” “Does this spark joy?” Yes. “Do I really want to do that?” No. But then comes the question, “Is it something I really HAVE to do?” “What happens if I DON’T do this?” “Is this okay for my physical and mental health?” “Is it worth it?”

Then, I have four piles. The “I can handle this” pile, the “I CAN’T WAIT TO DO THIS” pile, the “I don’t want to, but I know I have to” pile, and the “I DON’T NEED THIS #%@*!” pile. I always end up a little exhausted after this part, possibly a little red eyed from crying. But it always helps, especially leading up to step four.

Step Four: Room for Self-Improvement. I tell myself: Don’t overexert myself. Don’t get too cocky. Try harder. Know when to let go and give up. Do it again. Keep going.

By applying The Purge™ in my life, I get to organize my work, face my problems, find solutions, and keep my closet clean at all times. I highly recommend it.

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