I’m going on a closet cleanse

While focusing on the topic of empathic design and emotional attachment to products this past week, I started thinking a lot about the products that I personally have an attachment to and for what reasons. I looked through my closet, as well as the basket of extra clothes that do not even fit in my small closet, and I realized that I have a problem. I am a clothes hoarder. Usually at least once or twice a year, I do a “closet cleanse” and try to get rid of clothes I don’t wear anymore and donate them to Goodwill or a thrift store. However, this is usually a pretty difficult and stressful thing for me to do because without fail, there is always a handful of clothing items that I just can’t seem to let go of. I’ll tell myself that I will find something to wear them to, and I hardly ever follow through with this. I know for a fact I have at least eight or nine shirts that have survived these closet cleanses at least a couple times too many, and I have still yet to actually wear them, despite the lies I have been telling myself.

In class everyone had to share what their oldest textile item was and what the reasons for holding on to these items for so long were. Many people had emotional attachments to products because they had been in their family for a long time, passed down from their great grandparents or something like that. Some people had actually knit or sewn whatever it was or their parents or grandparents had. Other people, like myself, were attached to their chosen item because of its unique design or some unique quality. When going through my closet last week, I realized that I definitely have a couple of items that I’m not attached to for any of these reasons. Basically, I’ve just been telling myself it’s easier to just keep it around and let it occupy precious space in my closet than to get rid of it.

The biggest thing that I took away from reading “ I Love This Dress, It Makes Me Feel Beautiful!” was the attachment attributes that are presented in Table 1. These attributes included: emotional values (past memories, family ties, or positive feelings associated with the product), the quality of the product, the functionality, the design/style/beauty of the product, the material its made out of, connection to ‘self’ or personal values, effort/achievement, and present or future experiences. I noticed that these certain items that have been hanging around in my closet for far too long really have no attachment to me, at least for any of these reasons. If anything, there is just a false promise of future experiences in the way that I keep telling myself that I will eventually wear that shirt one day, yet I never do. I have decided that from now on when I clean my closet, I will think about all of the attachment attributes listed in that reading and decide if it really is something that I want to keep. If it’s not, then I know without a doubt there is someone out there who would be thrilled to take my unwanted garments and give them a better use than sitting in my closet collecting dust.

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