Purge: The $100 Wardrobe Challenge

By Shanna Trenholm

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What’s that? Wait! It’s moving. Under there. Under that pile of unopened bills, crocheted ponchos, and fast food wrappers. Yes, that quivery mass there, what is it? Hey—I think that’s your life! What happened to it? How did it get obscured by so much stuff? Is this the way you want to live? Was this the plan?

Has your stuff, all those knick-knacks—even your debt and obligations—taken over? Maybe you hadn’t even noticed. Are you living this life by design or are you just going through the motions of waking, working, and wishing (for something else)? Do you, dear reader, realize that it doesn’t have to be like this—that there is another way? Yes, I know you feel trapped, out of control, and unable to see your way clear from this mess, but you can change it. In fact, only YOU can change this situation. And if you don’t start now, it will only get worse. Your life, the life you are uniquely suited to live, the one filled with purpose and joy, has been concealed by material possessions and immaterial obligations that don’t really matter. Your authentic life is being devoured by stuff, instead of enhanced by the experiences that bring your life meaning and value.

But take heart, embattled reader; there is a movement afoot. An undercurrent of change is taking place. People are taking stock of their lives—their possessions, the way they live—and coming to the conclusion that more (stuff) isn’t better. That working for the weekend does not equal a gratifying life just as Hummel figurines are not the answer to an aesthetic-poor existence. Isn’t it time, dear reader, for you to come out of the dark and into the light of your best life?

How, you ask, do I start peeling back the layers of accumulation, do I slough off the detritus? My suggestion to you is to begin with a subversive act—get rid of clothes. Yes, your clothes. The items you never, or rarely wear. You know, the dresses and shirts with the tags still on them. That suit you are saving just in case you might need it. Those M.C. Hammer pants. (*Cough*)

Let’s make it easy. Well, relatively so. We’ll take it bit-by-bit so as not to overload your already taxed sensibilities. You’re scared and a bit apprehensive, and I get that, but that’s a good thing. This apprehension is a visceral response that signals change, the change you so want to make, is upon you. You are finally going to do something about your cluttered life!

My friend and I created the $100 Wardrobe Challenge for those who are quivering in their Uggs at the thought of a closet purge, but who want to make significant changes in their lives. No, we won’t give you $100 if you clean out your closet—although that isn’t a bad idea—instead, we suggest that you pare down your closet to the truly wearable and fabulous (following the steps on the website), and then commit to spending only $100, or less, on your wardrobe for the rest of the year. $100? Yes, $100.

So here’s the deal: Most of us have more clothing and accessories than we actually wear. In fact, studies show that we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. Much of the garments hanging in our closets or stuffed in dresser drawers are out of style, don’t fit, or make us look ridiculous. Why hang on to things that you’d never really consider wearing? Why not get rid of these items, swapping them at a Naked Lady Party with your friends or donating them to a shelter, and let someone else try their luck with those lavender bell-bottom corduroys? And who knows what fab frock you’ll take home, thus saving your $100 clothing allowance for another day.

Imagine the new found space, post-purge, that you’ll uncover. And not just in your closet, but also in your life! No longer will you have to look at that Ed Hardy sweatshirt that your girlfriend gave you, knowing you wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing. Your morning ritual will become streamlined: who cares if you wore those jeans yesterday (and the day before), no one really notices what you wear, anyway. Now isn’t that liberating—not wasting time worrying about what others think?

So this is my challenge to you, dear reader: starting today you can lighten your load and de-clutter your life through the $100 Wardrobe Challenge. You can reclaim some elbowroom by kicking out unwanted garments. You can make a micro-move toward simplicity and start making space for the things that truly matter—like living that life you were meant to live, instead of being buried by the stuff you accumulate.







Shanna Trenholm is a writer, muse, catalyst, and yoga teacher. She is passionate about sustainability, living small [hooray tiny houses], travel, love letters, square brackets, and dark chocolate. A left-handed, redhead poet with a penchant for the delightful, Shanna is sure that counts for something. You can hire her for legal things (mainly writing) or follow her witticisms and sage commentary on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website. Photo by Lori Brookes

3 Responses to “Purge: The $100 Wardrobe Challenge”

  1. Pat says:

    Great ideas! maybe we’d all have time for more important things if we didn’t have to manage so much stuff. Thanks again for a great article.

  2. Pat says:

    Great article! Maybe if more of us didn’t have so much stuff to manage we’d have more time for the really important stuff.

  3. Shanna, this is a great idea!
    I already got rid of a lot of things – we recently moved, that helps. We are not an “accumulating” family but still, things pile up after a while anyway. But we have some rules: if a toy comes in, a toy has to be given away. And we never buy something that we do not really need anymore. By the way, there is something you may know, the “100 thing challenge”, very interesting – kind of extremist but a wake up call – like yours!

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