In the closet or out?

Did you think this post would having something to do with being gay?

No, nothing so meaningful. I’m just wondering what I’m supposed to do with my clothes, prompted by a quick read of an article about decluttering the closet.

Sadly, I think it raised more questions than it answered.

“As you go, get rid of anything that is worn or stained, that doesn’t fit, that isn’t flattering or that you just don’t like.”

Doesn’t this sound smart and simple?

But what if I like the idea I might somehow, someday fit back into something and it will look flattering? (Like that long black velvet dress I wore to a Millennium Christmas party in 1999. The one I haven’t a snowball’s chance of having anywhere else to wear, even if it did magically still fit. Should I get rid of that? My one and only really pretty long dress I ever bought? Oh, yeah, there’s the wedding dress too — even prettier, if I do say so myself.)

What if I don’t know it isn’t flattering? Probably half my wardrobe would qualify, if I had Stacy and Clint here.

“Hang all of your fall clothes backward, says Ecker. As you wear them, put the hanger back on the rod the traditional way. At the end of winter, if an item is still hanging backward, it’s probably something you should get rid of.”

Ummmm….get rid of something if I haven’t worn it in one season? I have perfectly good clothes in my closet I haven’t worn in 10 years! Why? I don’t work in an office anymore. I can count on one hand the times I’ve had to dress in business attire (even business casual) in the last few years. Does that mean I should get rid of half my wardrobe?

Do you save a few professional outfits for “emergencies” (meetings, church, funerals) and purge the rest?

What if the jacket of a business suit is still fine, but not the pants or skirt? Do you give the whole suit away, break it up and give half away, or hang onto it?

I just counted…I have 15 skirts in the guestroom closet — only 1 of which I’ve worn in the last year. Does that mean 14 of them should go?

Oddly, I also have 15 blazers — maybe 3 of which I’ve worn in the last year. Bye-bye 12 blazers?

And what about dressy clothes? I’ve worn the same dress to my 20-year high school reunion and 2 family weddings…enough already?

And you know, as soon as I do get rid of something, it’s going to be “in” again…shoulder pads, long blazers, tapered slacks, floral skirts, whatever it might be. I no sooner got rid of a “hopelessly” outdated plaid wool skirt I’d had for years last year when I saw a nearly identical one in the store a couple months later.

What about grubby work clothes? Not nice enough to give away, too many to keep — am I bad person if I just throw them away? Surely that would be wrong, right? Don’t poor people in insert third-world country here need them? So what do you do?

If I do purge half my clothes, what’s it gonna get me? More room in the guestroom closet, but for what? It’s not like I’m going to go out and buy new clothes to replace them. I could probably live the rest of my life with the clothes I have right now (assuming no big weight gain).  Sure, I’d be sick of them and woefully out of fashion…but I’m verging on that already.

Would I feel better if I got rid of half my clothes?

Would anyone feel better if I got rid of half my clothes?

How did I get so darn many clothes in the first place? (Because you’re OLD, that’s why.)

What’s so great about a decluttered closet anyway?

There, I closed the closet door. And the guestroom door, just to be safe.

Fast. Easy. Stress-free.

Now, on to the basement.

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
~ Henry David Thoreau


  1. facie said,

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I am the poster child for poor fashion. Two, yes two, of my friends have tried to nominate me for What Not to Wear (only one got through the actual submission). I’d like to think I would care more if I had not spent 13 years working at a job where people wear jeans and tees on a daily basis, but I am probably kidding myself. I like to wear big, comfy clothes, and I just don’t care that they are not flattering (except when I am going to my high school reunion).

    I keep thinking this is going to be the year I am going to get rid of a long skirt I bought when I was student teaching in 1993, but I keep managing to get another year out of it, even though the material is wearing thin. I think tie-dye came back this year, so it was good I saved my shirt from the ’90s!

    Reading your post made me want to get rid of things I have had for years and years. But not enough to spring me into action!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Hmmmm, Facie, so maybe the answer IS to get rid of 14 skirts and 12 blazers…? (Or maybe shoot for half that for now…) I’ll think on it. And I haven’t even considered all that stuff in DRAWERS!

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