Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cleaning out my closet

I like to downsize from time to time. I'd told myself this spring that at the end of August I'd go through my closet and my dresser and get rid of anything I haven't worn since I quit my job four years ago, or anything that doesn't fit. I gave myself several months because I was on a no-sugar eating plan in May and I planned to lose at least ten pounds.

Well, I didn't lose ten pounds. Actually, I have no idea how much I weigh because I'm afraid to get on the scale. I can still wear everything I could wear this spring, so that's something.

Yesterday I did the closet. It was actually quite hard to follow my own rule of what to get rid of. For example, I have a red cable-knit sweater I haven't worn for quite a few years, but it still fits. I have a corresponding photograph taken of me wearing that sweater with my son James when he was still in high school. That's been nearly 20 years. So putting that sweater in the Goodwill box was tough. Same with the purple sweater I got at Nordstrom when I first moved to Seattle in 1986. It still fits, but it's out of style and even if it were not I will never wear it. Then there's the jewel-tone jacket I wore to my son Russell's wedding 12 years ago. It's just a tad small now. Sometimes I can justify keeping something just a little longer because I may lose those five pounds. But the fact is, I never dress up.

I've been a Chico's shopper for a dozen years or so. I've got about eight pieces of their Travelers line, and I am going to keep a few of them since they still fit. I used to wear them to work and they have languished in the closet since 2010. But we're taking a European cruise next spring and I think they'll be comfortable on our daytime explorations of the ports we visit. I did toss about six Travelers tank tops into the Goodwill pile. I think my bustline has shifted a little, or something, because those tanks are a little more revealing than I think my 66-in-three-weeks body ought to be wearing. I am also donating half a dozen other Chico's knit tops. Don't wear 'em any more, and then there's those five to ten pounds that I'd need to lose before they'd look good enough for me to wear.

I have a couple of old shirts that used to be my favorites: an oversized blue-and-white checked one and another one, not oversized. When my kids were growing up I wore those shirts constantly with my Lee jeans. I still have the jeans, too, but I haven't worn them in years because I found Not Your Daughter's Jeans that fit me better now that I'm a grandmother. Tomorrow I'll go through the jeans drawers and add all the old Lee jeans to the pile.

Five pieces in my closet I have never worn. Not yet, probably never, so out they go. And two shirts that belonged to my mother, one of them only slightly torn, the other not my style. Gone.

It was quite a memory-making experience, going through my closet. I may take another look at the Goodwill pile tomorrow. Maybe I'll put a couple of things back in the closet just in case. But only a couple.

I have 30 hangers in a pile now. In my closet are the nicer ones, the unbent ones, mostly without the paper that comes from the dry cleaners. I can remember the last time I wore every single item in my closet now. I feel caught up with myself.


lyndagrace said...

It’s true, cleaning out a closet is like a trip down memory lane.

A couple of weeks ago I gently (okay strongly insisted) that my husband go through his closet.
I don’t even want to tell you how old some of his things are (now were).

I enjoyed reading your reminisces about each of your articles and understand the attachments.

Aren’t NYDJ the best?

DJan said...

I did that once when I moved here from Colorado (it was a huge purge) and then again when I felt I needed more room in my closet. It is quite a trip down Memory Lane. I've got to do that again soon, since it's getting tight in there again. Some things I just won't ever throw out, they mean too much, even if I'll never wear them again. :-)

Meryl Baer said...

I purged when we moved four years ago, but it is time to do it again. There are items I could not part with four years ago in my closet and not worn in all that time. Time to go, but it is hard…And an early Happy BIrthday, in case I miss it - don't always see and read posts immediately!

Madeline Kasian said...

Funny! Some of the colors give away the age of the clothing,Linda! I finally gave up all my pink and purple items from the 80's even tho they still it and I loved them! I like color!! I also don't feel so comfy in those clingy Chico's tanks either.. bought a few more modest camis to wear under overshirts for our new retirement lifestyle--I rarely dress up anymore either.

You've inspired me to go through the closet yet again--I have some stuff I am just NEVER gonna wear again.. need to donate!!

#1Nana said...

I purge...and then I shop some more. It's an illness, or at least a personality flaw.

Anonymous said...

Cleaning out the closet is a good thing to do. You will enjoy the clothes you are keeping and will find you wear them more often, or at least that is my case. I do have a couple of dressy outfits that I've not worn in a couple of years but am hesitant to get rid of them. They are both silk and in the most beautiful colors. Are jewel tones still fashionable?

Pam said...

Congratulations, Linda!! I'll bet it's a pleasure to look inside your closet and drawers. After I retired, I did the same thing, and now I try to purge every season. In our community, there are many charities begging for good used clothes, and that has become my motivation. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who seldom dresses up any more! When I think about how my mom dressed back in the 50s and 60s (remember all the accesories) it's quite liberating to own fewer and more comfy clothing.

Arkansas Patti said...

You have inspired me. I have a closet full of things I NEVER wear. We tend to always pick our favorites to wear and leave the rest for some other time which doesn't seem to ever come.
Tomorrow, I will follow suit. Thanks for the kick in the slacks.

Tom said...

Well, if you have 30 hangers in a pile, then it must have been a success ... congrats!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Good for you, Linda! That's so hard to do, but feels good afterwards. I must do the same. My husband and I have slacked off our downsizing this summer due to extreme heat and our inertia. But you've inspired me!

Deere Driver said...

Hey Linda! I have the same ten pounds over here and also heading to Goodwill this morning. I'm going up to try and add a couple more things from the summer tops I didn't wear and then I'm off.

Need to do this more often!

Jeannine said...

Great column. For all the folks weeding out the professional clothes there is a great organization, Dress for Success that helps women get interview clothes or workwear to get back into the workforce. Since we are pretty much going the oppositee route this gives a great chance to pay it forward :)

Mona McGinnis said...

Oh the dreaded closet purge. I haven't done it for years and need to. It is said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. It's true in my case; I have the usual "go to" clothes. I find that since I've retired, I "dress up" for more casual events, even grocery shopping. Now, applying makeup is another story.

Sasha + Saku said...

I look forward to the day I can rid myself of my work clothes. At the moment I have three sets of clothing, work, vacation, and home.

I do tend to purge fairly regularly, at least once, if not twice a year. If I haven't worn something in a year, it's gone. It's a habit ingrained by my mom, we did it as children, though I suspect that was because we grew out of our clothing. I still do, now it's just sideways. :)

Enjoy your additional space. Maybe it is time to go shopping!