How to clean out your closet and start fresh

Updated: Mar 25

2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to think about the things I’ve done – and the areas I still need to improve on.

It’s an exercise that’s actually kind of scary. 😬 But it doesn’t have to be.

“At the end of the year, I usually look back and see what I’ve achieved, what I haven’t, and ask why?” muses Ming Bridges, a singer, songwriter and actress who's based in Singapore.

Ming has won awards for her album, Ming Day (Photo by Martin Yeoh)

“At 27, I’m very happy with my achievements so far, but there are always things I want to do that get put on the side in place of urgent work matters – so I assess what has happened to try and improve for the following year.”

Just the person I need to see

I’m getting Ming’s perspective because she also happens to be the founder of Rentadella – a shop that allows women of all shapes and sizes to rent a range of designer pieces for different occasions.

Need a cute dress? Ming offers a lot of choices

At this time of the year up until maybe January, there might be a tendency for some of us to throw out the old to make way for the new, be it a mindset, a habit, or more specifically, stuff in our homes and closets. Regarding the latter, I’d want to be more conscious about the things I buy – and keep.

I’ve made a lot of progress (I haven’t bought anything in the past two years, really), but I still need help with going over what I have and deciding on what stays. This is where Ming comes in. 😊

About our closets

With Ming and Rentadella, we don’t have to buy a new dress every time something comes up. We just have to rent. And that’s pretty cool.

Ming shares her tips on re-evaluating our closets the sustainable and thoughtful way, so that we can start 2020 right and on a positive note. Because who wouldn’t want that? 😊

#1 Go through your closet and try on anything you haven’t worn in the past year

“If you wouldn’t wear it over what you’re wearing now (as in what you originally had on), get rid of it,” Ming declares.

“I frequently do this because I used to have a lot of clothes before starting my clothing rental business, Rentadella. It’s also my number one shopping tip. I found that I wear a few outfits on rotation (10% of my closet). So now when I go out and try something on, if I wouldn’t wear it over what I’m currently wearing, I won’t buy it – no matter how cute, different or novel it is.”

Do you often reach for that power suit?

#2 Be honest

“Are you really going to wear this again? Don’t feel guilty for getting rid of things, even the sentimental stuff.

“My old school T-shirt sat in my closet for years and added no value because it was the memories that held the value. I thought to myself, when I die, someone is just going to throw it away – so why am I holding on to it? (Morbid, but it helped me get rid of a lot of ‘memories’ stuff – we have digital photos for that.) Once you’ve organised your closet, you’ll be more conscious of what you put into it.”

#3 Organise your closet in a way that you can see everything, Marie Kondo style

“That way you can make sure you’re making full use of your clothing,” Ming maintains.

“My closet is very Marie Kondo-esque. I do the same thing when I go on vacation and copy her folding technique. It’s amazing – you can see absolutely everything so you know what you have. I think when everything is seen, it makes it easier over time to realise what you’re wearing and need to get rid of, too.”

#4 You can donate the clothes to charity, or sell them on eBay or Carousell

“Let your clothes bring joy to someone else,” she adds.

“Every year, I do a closet clean-out and either sell things online or donate them to charity. I’m a huge lover of buying second-hand too, because it helps me feel less wasteful – and honestly, as soon as you buy an item of clothing that’s super expensive because of a company’s branding, it loses its value.

“Online, I buy things for half the price that have only been worn once, and then after you’re done wearing it, you can pass it on again. It saves the environment and your wallet.”

#5 Stop buying event pieces that you’ll only wear once – rent instead!

“Your closet and wallet will thank you,” Ming stresses.

“I now buy quality items that stand the test of time and then rent the rest. I’ve found I spend less money (things don’t break as quickly when you buy quality), and the items I rent are gorgeous pieces for events that I would have never been able to afford to buy (and then have them sit at the back of my closet and rust).

“My closet looks so much clearer; at the same time, the pieces I wear are more extravagant. You save your wallet, your closet space (and mental space, let’s be realistic), and you help save the environment. Win, win and win!”

Final assessment

It doesn’t have to end with clothes and your purchases. But it’s a start. 😊

“There are also habits I’m constantly trying to change or improve on, such as becoming less worried about being liked and creating more boundaries for myself – so it’s definitely a time where I can stop and assess my progress and see what still needs working on,” Ming continues.

For example, Ming has made it her mission to raise awareness on eating disorders, “having gone through one myself”, she says.

“I’ve now delivered several TEDx Talks on my journey with eating disorders to try and help others avoid the same mistakes I went through. I also try and talk about it a lot on my social media page. I think in this day and age where people are basing their self-worth on Instagram likes, it’s something that needs to be talked about more,” she observes.

“I’m writing my goal list right now and I realised that if you really want something to happen, you must prioritise it or the years will go by without anything changing (and if it does, you have to question if you really wanted it at all).

“If you really want something to happen, you must prioritise it or the years will go by without anything changing.“

“This year I’m hoping to become more efficient with work and learn to delegate, so I have time to take care of my health and well-being – which was neglected a lot this year!”

Ready to begin? Happy new year! 😊

For more on Rentadella, click here and here. Follow Ming on Instagram and Facebook too.

Photos courtesy of Ming Bridges