I've been collection vintage clothing and accessories for all of my adolescent/adult life, be it shopping for it, accepting it as gifts, or saving things from the base of a rag pile or costume rack.You get into a state of mind that you have to rescue vintage, you need to take it home and wash it, repair it, love it. This leads to what many vintage girls eventually do: Sell online. As a side job or full time gig, you sell vintage to buy vintage. It's just how it is.
The problem with years of this is you become a hoarder of sorts, any spare space (or not, you kind of just live with it everywhere) is stuffed with needs-to-be-repaired/needs-to-go-to-the-dry-cleaner/unfixable-but-you-can't-possibly-throw-it-away-because-maybe-you'll-eventually-find-someone-who-wants-to-make-a-pattern-out-of-it-or-display-it-in-a-museum-of-damaged-but-beautiful-vintage...
This is real people.
It's everywhere. You have things you can't let go of because you remember the time you bought it, or someone's great grandma gave it to you, or it's super cute but too small//big so you just like to hang it on the wall and gaze at it as you slowly wake up on Sunday mornings.
So I've heard.
You wear about 30% of your wardrobe on a regular basis. Actually, make that 20%. It would be 30% but each week a button pops, a seam splits, or a hem drops, and you really mean to fix it right away but you're busy so you'll get it later, and hey maybe you'll take a Saturday and do nothing but watch movies and seriously tackle repairs all day. The pile is a bit out of control.
Shopping does not mean you just look for something specific or something for your day to day life. It means that sequin 50s leotard would be perfect for a circus themed party you're bound to be invited to at some point, and yeah those 40s heels are half a size too small but they go perfectly with that sundress you got last month to wear a garden wedding (nevermind that none of your friends are in committed relationships. Maybe someone's cats will get married.)
For me, it just became too much. It weighed me down, my creativity diminished and pieces that deserved to shine became muddled in the chaos. It was a gradual process of letting go. Incentives made it easier (I sold a lot of dresses to buy my custom made boots, and don't regret it a bit). I got rid of:
-Never going to wear again
-Too lazy to repair
-Would be appreciated more by someone else
-I love but it doesn't make me feel good
Now don't get me wrong, I still have some special pieces of vintage that don't live in my closet, but I'm constantly letting go of more, and it's not a problem. It actually feels pretty great. My home feels less cluttered and my wardrobe more appealing. I'm building on a more specific style, and it's fun to see shops and people loving what was once mine. That's kind of the great thing about vintage is that it has more than one life, and I like being a part of that. But not the end of it.