The 3 horsemen of your closet

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Is your favourite thing to ponder why we never use our stuff? No? Just me?

One of the things I find helpful when reflecting on why I do or don’t use certain items is putting them into categories. So, I came up with the 3 horsemen of the closet: the work horse, the show pony, and out to pasture.

Your work horses are the items you always reach for. Anything from your go to work uniform to your everyday dishes, toiletries, jewelry, and food items. There is nothing special about them, but they do the job. You love them for how they meet your needs.

How to recognize these items: 

  • They are often in the laundry
  • They are often in the dishwasher
  • This is how people would describe your style
  • This is how you spend your time
  • This is what you wear, eat, use, and enjoy 
  • They are used and enjoyed regularly

My workhorses:

  • Blundstone boots
  • Birkenstock sandals
  • Bike panier
  • All of my purses (I only have 3)
  • Fossil watch
  • Yeti mug

You have more excuses for why you don’t use them than you do memories of using them. 

These are often items we are saving for ‘someday when’. Either a special occasion (Christmas dinner), a big milestone (10 year anniversary), an external accomplishment (making partner) or a personal accomplishment (losing 50 pounds). No matter what you’re waiting for, these items always seem to stay in the cupboard, on the shelf, in the garage and are not used.

How to recognize these items:

  • They have dust on them
  • They have tags on
  • They are in their original packaging
  • These are items we often love deeply but don’t give ourselves permission to use
  • You try it on, but never leave the house in it

My show ponies:

  • Aritiza blazer
  • Embroidered dress
  • Yoga mat
  • Turkish towel
  • Red flats
  • Beaded necklace

I find the Out to Pasture items fall into 2 categories:

  1. They used to be your go to, but they’ve been overworked. They are tattered, faded, and showing their age. 
  2. They were never used. Either you bought them for your aspirational self or they were a mistake from the beginning. Either way, cut your losses and realize you do not use them, do not wish to use them, and have no plans to use them.

The Out to Pasture items are cluttering up your space, distracting from your workhorses and show ponies and overwhelming your decision making.

How to recognize these items:

  • They are at the back of your closet, bottom of your drawer, and the back of your cupboard
  • They have holes, stains, need to be repaired or past the expiry date
  • These items are never used and need to find a new home. 

My out to pasture

  • Water colours – I realized this is not my hobby of choice
  • Extra panier – I realized I prefer my workhorse panier than having the choice of two
  • Old running shoes – it was cluttering up my space and forcing me to choose everytime I went to put them on
  • Extra sunglasses – I have a quality pair of polarized sunglasses that has become my work horse only since I gave myself permission to let go of the extras.

The first step in beginning to use and enjoy your things is to recognize the categories. As you go about your day, interacting with your belongings, ask yourself ‘which category is this? Workhorse, show pony or out to pasture?

Soon I will cover the different strategies for each category, but first, happy hunting!

67 thoughts on “The 3 horsemen of your closet

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