I keep a suitcase in the basement that I fill with clothes that are headed to resale. With as much closet purging and as little clothes buying as I’ve done in the past year, I have been consistently convinced that each trip to resale will be my last for at least the next 6 months, if not a year. Because if I’m adding very few new clothes, and each time I’ve purged my closet I’ve gotten it down to just my favorites, how is it possible I could still have more stuff to get rid of so quickly? Well, apparently, it is possible, because look:
I sold back clothing about two months ago, so this new pile-up was a surprise. The suitcase was so full of clothes that I felt compelled to take a look at what I was getting rid of and why, since obviously a mere two months ago I loved these very items too much to part with them. Here’s is a brief sampling of some things that went from my love it list to my loathe it list in just a few weeks.
Three pairs of jeans. I wear jeans most days of the week, so I’ve always kept a lot of them in my closet – like up to 12 pairs at times. But I’ve been steadily decreasing that number, because I’ve noticed that while yes, I always want to wear jeans, I also always want to wear the SAME jeans over and over again. So why should I keep so many? These three did not make the cut.
Two summer dresses. The striped on on the left is very cute and I did wear it a lot, but I got it at Target so it wasn’t the most well-made garment I’ve ever bought, and after being repeatedly laundered it’s starting to look a little shabby and slightly shrunken. I definitely got my use out of it though, so I feel good about letting it go. The pink dress is an inexpensive one I bought at Gap, and I wore it a few times, but it fell victim to the “one in one out” rule (I talk about letting it go in more detail over on the Tiny Homes site). I was very tempted to say screw the one in/one out rule and keep both dresses, but I’m very happy with my new dress, and in just a month I have already worn the new one more than this old one, which has been hanging in my closet for nearly three years.
These shorts make me feel fat. Therefore, I feel irritable every time I put them on and end up taking them right back off. I have another pair of green shorts that don’t make me feel fat, but I kept these because….yeah, I don’t know.
This shirt, cardigan, and blazer are all from Anthropologie. I kid you not when I say that close to 70% of my wardrobe used to be comprised of items from Anthropologie. I haven’t been able to afford to shop there in the past year, and cutting my Anthro habit made a big impact in stemming the flow of clothes into my wardrobe, since I rarely walked out of that store without buying something. I currently have about 10 items from Anthropologie left in my possession, which for me is a little weird. I think I hung onto to these three more out of nostalgia for my favorite store than any real desire to wear them. But a whole spring/summer went by without me wearing the shirt or cardigan, and while I still like the blazer well enough, I’ve slowly gotten rid of most of the other items that I used to wear it with, so now it feels like odd man out. It was time for all of them to go.
I actually wore this halter top from the Banana Republic outlet store a lot, and I remember buying it on a whim and it being on such a great sale I thought “If I wear this five times I’ll get my money’s worth out of it.” I definitely got my money’s worth, but the last couple times I tried it on I felt like it looked too boxy and ended up changing into something else, so I feel like my infatuation has ended. But no guilt on this purchase at all!
I do, however, have guilt over this black Diane Von Furstenburg dress which I held on to for YEARS, because it was very expensive, and well, because it was DVF. But I rarely wore it. I’ve never been a big fan of shirt dresses, but I’ve tried valiantly over the years to try to like them by purchasing various incarnations of the style. I saw a picture of myself wearing this dress shortly after I’d worn it to our Godson’s christening, and I looked like a total frump. After that, I never really wanted to wear it again. My Godson is now seven years old. Time to let it go.
I have a LOT of guilt for getting rid of these boots. Not because I like them, but because a) I spent waaaay too much money on them, and b) I purchased them while on vacation in Vienna, and made poor Ron go into store after store one day for HOURS while I searched for the perfect black boot (important side note: I already had three pairs of black boots at home, and was wearing a fourth pair that I really liked while I was on this stupid quest). I wore them only a handful of times, because holyhelllookattheheelsonthosethings – I’m lucky I didn’t fall down and break/sprain something/everything. Every time I wore them I was worried I would catch that open heel on something and trip, so needless to say, I was not the epitome of graceful when I wore them. And therefore, I never wanted to wear them. And every time I looked at them in the closet, I was reminded of my bad judgement. It will be nice to be free from their mockery.
I could go on with more pictures and stories, but it’d be more of the same, and this post would take an hour to read. In addition to the items I’ve specifically shown here, I also sold a bunch of t-shirts, sweaters, work out clothes, and a few more pairs of shoes – and walked out of resale with $204. If I had any nostalgia about letting these items go when I went in, I can assure you I didn’t have any left when they handed me the money.
And here is the pile of stuff that didn’t sell that I will be taking to Goodwill:
I guess the lesson I learned from this little exercise, and will probably still be learning for a while to come, is that I still have a lot more than I actually need, and much of what I am still clinging to is for reasons other than “I love it”. I’m still finding my lagom.
Remember when I cleaned out the guest room closet and moved all the clothes and purses I’d been storing in the guest room to my bedroom? Well, it’s been over a month, and I haven’t been able to face trying to find room for those items, because I’ve known it would involve having to get rid of stuff and refigure the way I currently store things. Which never sounds like a fun way to spend a lovely spring afternoon.
But yesterday, despite the sunshine, I was in a rotten mood. And sometimes, being in a rotten mood is an excellent motivator for me to make changes. So I decided to take advantage of feeling ruthless and unreckoning and attack the items I was trying to incorporate into my bedroom storage- namely, my handbag collection.
Confession: I am a bag lady. I loooooove purses. When I was making good money, I bought purses on a regular basis – in fact, I cringe a little to think about the amount of income I dropped on purses during that period of time. I had so many that I appropriated a bookcase to store them all. I always had the notion that I would be one of those women who switched bags on a regular basis, moving her small neat stash of essential items from one bag to the next. But I am not that woman – in fact, I’m far from it. I have a tendency to let paper and random items build up in my bag to the point where changing bags means having to clean my current bag, and because I’m lazy, I usually choose to just keep the junk pile growing rather than switch them.
About a year ago, I cut my collection in half, and attempted to resell some of my more expensive bags at resale stores, but no one was interested. It’s always a bit crushing to realize that things you spent so much money on have no value whatsoever to the rest of the world–I ended up donating them all to the Goodwill. It was pretty depressing, but I learned my lesson. I have only bought one bag since then, and for me, that is a massive improvement.
Even though the purses I was attempting to find storage for in my bedroom were considerably less than what I used to own, I knew I’d have to pare them down even further if I wanted to find room for them all. I’ve been procrastinating on dealing with them, and during this time I’ve kept some in the bottom of my closet:
And some in a big suitcase, which is totally in the way and cluttering up our room:
So I took all the bags out and spread them on the floor to get a better idea of what I had:
I can say I genuinely like all of these, but I only actually use a few of them. Two of the bags I’ve been storing are gym bags, and I don’t even belong to a gym anymore. Brilliant.
I edited them down – if I hadn’t carried it in a year, it had to go. I didn’t actually get rid of all that much, but it made a difference. Here are the items that didn’t make the cut:
We have several of these very cool cubbies built in to our bedroom walls. The photo is of one of the cubbies emptied out. This is not typically the case. Since up to this point I’ve seemed destined to fill every empty space and surface with extraneous crap, the cubbies are usually full of random things – carrier bags from stores with items I might want to return (which I don’t currently have any of, yay for me), clothes that need mending, and piles of clothing I’ve tried on and decided not to wear but am too lazy to hang up. I realized I could put my pared down bag collection in one of the cubbies – genius! It would not only solve my storage issue, it would keep me from filling the space with piles of clothing and shopping spree guilt. A win-win:
I basically kept three evening bags, three everyday bags, and a computer bag/laptop case. I did, however, also keep a great travel bag that converts to a little backpack and a beach carryall, which I stuffed inside one of my big empty everyday bags to help it hold it’s shape. I’ve read you’re supposed to use tissue paper for that purpose, but I needed to store the extra two bags anyway, so I figured what the heck.
I also kept one gym bag (which I actually used while I was living in Florida last fall and joined a gym because it was too hot to exercise outside), and two tote bags (one stored inside the other) that I use all the time. Those I put back in the bottom of the closet, which is now empty except for those items.
The other benefit to this organizing project? Finding all the stuff stored in my old purses. There was definitely a lot of garbage, ancient sticks of gum, the worst brush I’ve ever owned, business cards for people I don’t remember, and expired aspirin, but there was also money, unused gift cards, a new memory stick, a great pocket mirror, still-working pens and highlighters, enough lip balm to last me the next five years, and two sets of opera glasses I thought I’d lost:
I threw away all the garbage and redistributed anything usable to my current handbag.
I’ve decided that if by December I haven’t switched out my current bag to one of the everyday bags I kept, I’m getting rid of them. And until I’m out of debt, I won’t be buying any new ones, so I shouldn’t be outgrowing the cubby space anytime soon.