Small houses often have equally small closets, and for many of us, that means tough choices about clothes.
I wanted to share an idea I encountered this week for paring down wardrobes. It comes courtesy of Reddit, where a user said she saw a shirt like hers at the thrift store for $1, and realized it was so ugly she wouldn’t buy it again. So she decided to get rid of it, and started thinking of the rest of her wardrobe that way, as well.
If your shirt (or your shoes, or your purse) was on the thrift store rack — in all its faded, 10-year-old glory — would your response be, ‘What a steal?’ Or would it be more like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they’re selling that raggy thing?’
Our friend the thrift store gal puts it this way:
It is easy to lose objectivity when everything is in the back of your closet. When you look at a favorite shirt, you are looking at it with different eyes than someone who would be purchasing it. You don’t see the lack of style or fading and age.
Good stuff. But even better is one of the comments on the post, which put a name on the behavior: the “endowment effect.” It’s the idea that we put more value on things simply because we own them. According to the geniuses over at Wikipedia, once you own an item, forgoing it feels like a loss, and humans are loss-averse.
I’m no behavioral scientist, but I’m pretty sure that explains why — even though I’d never buy a ratty item at the store — I can procrastinate for months when trying to discard a faded shirt from my closet.
So let’s be honest: If your wardrobe was hanging on the rack of a thrift store, which items would you buy? Which ones wouldn’t make the cut?
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