Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clothing, fashions, and too-full closets

I've been working on a project for the past few weeks. I'm decluttering my clothing. This has been the result of a variety of things: reading The 100 Thing Challenge, turning 30, feeling frumpy (jeans and t-shirts every day will do that to you), getting tired of feeling frumpy, and then stumbling across a couple of blog posts on "Mommy Fashion" and Cate MacDonald's interesting Twenty Pieces project.

What I finally realized is this: it is not helpful to have a closet full of clothes that I don't like, don't fit into, and don't wear.

I've had too much in my closet for a long time. Much of the problem started when I had children - instead of having one "teacher wardrobe" with a few pairs of play clothes for my days off, I had maternity clothes. And then "just had a baby" clothes. Nursing tops. Of course I kept all the "skinny" clothes, because I was certainly going to fit into them again! Multiply all this times three children, with different starting sizes each time.

Frugality (perhaps misplaced?) also played a large role here. I didn't want to get rid of anything, because I didn't want to have to re-buy it later when I either lost weight or got pregnant or quit nursing or, or, or. And because I knew that any given item was only going to fit me for a limited period of time, I tended to purchase the cheapest clearance bargains that I could find, regardless of whether I actually loved the piece, or even liked how I looked in it.

I had boxes and boxes of clothes, and too many pieces in my closet, and frankly, too many days when walking into the closet produced tears instead of a cute outfit. When you're staring at 50+ pieces, and you can't find anything that matches, fits, and makes you feel pretty, it is time for something to change.

So I'm clearing out. I don't have a specific numerical goal in mind, like Cate, although I find her minimalistic ideal highly appealing. I'm just aiming for a closet of clothing that is simple, pretty, and that I actually enjoy wearing.


Sara in Seattle said...

I think that's awesome, and something I need to do, too. I finally just took away my maternity clothes, but at 10 months postpartum still working toward the skinniest of my prepregancy. Like you, though, I've found that a lot of my wardrobe I don't even like anymore... I just found this on pinterest and I'm going to use it as a sort of reference as I reshape my wardrobe in the future: Some things I don't find appealing on the list, but I think it's a decent starting point.

Jessica Snell said...

Rock ON. Sounds brilliant.

And now I'm off to read your links!

Jessica Snell said...

p.s. - write a follow-up, yeah? I'm really interested in hearing how it turns out.

mircat said...

I think this is a lovely idea. Em! I've started doing something similar, inspired by reading minimalist blogs. I've gotten rid of close to 2/3 of my previous wardrobe (it was hard! I had to do it in stages, and moving across the country w/ limited shipping capacity helped!). I've replaced it with pieces that I love. It helped to go with a trusted friend who told me honestly what looked great and what didn't and WHY (so that I could use the criteria when shopping on my own). And don't worry about having to try on tons of stuff when you shop--I tried on close to 150 shirts to find 8 that I loved and that looked good. And that's OK! :)

alllegra said...

I just read this blog post on an organizing blog that reminded me of your post on the topic. I like the idea of only allowing yourself a certain number of hangers.

Another tactic I now take is I am extremely picky about my clothes. If there is anything remotely wrong with it - style, size, quality - it goes in a donation box or back to the store. It helps with both getting rid of old clothes (I am also "ruthless" at this) and managing my clothing budget.

Also - I highly recommend regular readership of The Happiest Mom and Ain't No Mom Jeans. They are consistently awesome.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Allegra, both of those are in my google reader, and I LOVE them! Glad you enjoy them too!