Continuing to 'let go' of clothes

Frankie_in_zone_7April 7, 2010

Church rummage sale is coming up and I determined to let go of more stuff--some books, DVD's, odds & ends and clothes. So far so good.

It continues to amaze me how hard it is to let go of some clothes. Can you believe it--had some vests from my vest-wearing days. Just could not let go. I recall trying them on a year or so ago to try to pry myself loose and for some reason I convinced myself that they were still wear-able. I still see myself as a vest-person, and I wear fleece vests in winter. Kept thinking, why try on again, I know I still like them, I just need to make a decision. Wrong-o. I tried them on, and they just don't LOOK right now. Funny--didn't see it that way last year. I'm not really a different weight now or anything like that--I think it is the "passage of time" in the fashion world, both the vest and the skirts or pants that I now have, so they just don't work, or I got it through my hard head, or something. So just by doing that, I was able to toss them in the box. I can see that if I ever want to do something remotely like them, I will need a DIFFERENT vest, and will need to try on current combinations, and my old ones won't work. So I am trying that same approach with some other stuff to see if I can make the lightbulb come on again.

I have trouble with some things I think still look good, but I just do not wear. That is the hardest, because you can see that it is wearable, you like what you see in the mirror, so what is wrong? Usually I can figure out that it is either a little bit too much trouble or a little more "out-fitty" and does not fit into my regular work "uniform", and I am not a trouble- or outfitty person, or at least, I really need only one or two outfits like that at any given time. It is especially hard to let go of something that is well-made.

I also have to remind myself that I still enjoy buying some new clothes and have actually had some modest success with updating my wardrobe into the 21st century finally, so I can see that for the foreseeable future I will have more fun with judicious shopping than with pulling out a 10-year old outfit.

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me, too

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:24PM
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I do think that sometimes it's appropriate (and more effective) to have a gradual transition into letting things go.

And sometimes you just need a change in mental perspective.

And I think this is an important thing to remember:

I also have to remind myself that I still enjoy buying some new clothes and have actually had some modest success with updating my wardrobe into the 21st century finally, so I can see that for the foreseeable future I will have more fun with judicious shopping than with pulling out a 10-year old outfit.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:38PM
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I have a few items that I simply had to stop viewing as clothing as they are more items of sentimental value.
I just changed where I keep them, but dang- my closets have opened up just fine!
Win win :)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:33PM
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Thanks for the support, ready2moves!

tallley sue nyc, I think that's what I am finding, that I have achieved a change in mental perspective over the past couple of years because I finally really stepped out of my usual box and found a few things that have all of the right features (fit, material, color, style, price).. It took me a year or 2 to "collect" a number of items that go together and are different enough from my older clothes so that the "new look" becomes evident. (though, ha ha, just about the time I have tiptoed into new territory, the diabolical fashionista plot to always keep things changing will have dictated a new look). Oh, well!

Last night I did a closet overhaul and managed to give up quite a few items--even things that had stuck to me like cockleburrs, good suits and skirts and stuff, mostly not worn in years though. It takes a block of time because what is helpful for me is to try on new and old stuff and go, "This, or that?". When I do that, I can see heck, I'm not gonna wear THAT if I can have THIS. Plus, doh, some stuff just didn't fit anymore no matter what fantasies I had or have.

There is a lesson here that is part of the above shopping quote.
I need to remember not to accumulate too many of what are essentially duplicate items or styles, since I really can get by with fewer items in any given "type" of clothing (work, church, casual, etc). (Bang head, rinse, repeat) I tend to buy say, a work top in over a dozen colors when I only really need 3 or 4. Then, when the styles (or my figure) shifts a bit, as it always will do, I've got too much space and effort, let alone $$, invested, and I think that makes it harder to shift gears. So, as part of organizing my space, and not expanding into someone else's closet, and using less time to figure out what to wear, I hope to try to "save room" for, not just new clothes that are more of the same, but experimenting with things. Now that really requires a change in mental attitude! Because, if I wear my relatively new stuff that I've finally got together, I DON'T NEED ANY MORE CLOTHES right now (welllllll.. hardly any!) I need to have fun where I am and realize I'll want to try something else down the road.

I'm pretty sure being in middle age has a lot to do with this! Not exactly mid-life crisis ( I think I had that already) , but heck, when you're younger, you can basically wear anything, and I was never much attuned to fashion per se. Whereas now, a tweak here or there in length or neckline or something seems to make more difference between looking kinda dowdy vs. not. So, I hadn't thought about it before as "organizing the wardrobe for middle-age issues", but there you have it. A leaner wardrobe, but changing more, actually works better for me now than when I was younger.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 3:20PM
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My female boss recently told me she gave away 30 of her dress suits to a charity that gives to underpriviledged women. The thought that they'll be given to 30 girls looking for work made me very happy! And my boss has money to burn-she can easily buy more clothes! I know what you mean about clothes looki8ng dated. I have a few things I've hung onto since the seventies. I haven't worn some things in years. My old sweaters and vests just don't look right anymore. I've always worn "separates"- shirts and bottoms that interchange. A few blazer type jackets to go from one saeson to the next. Every few years, I try to have a big "throw-out" to make room for new purchases.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 11:01AM
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Good for you, Frankie. I know its not always easy to part with clothes we like, look(ed) good on us or cost $$$.
I used to have one closet devoted to my church clothes - suits, shoes, bags and hats!
When I started having hot flashes I stopped wearing hats. The suits did not look the same w/o the hats, same with shoes and bags. I finally gathered them up and gave them away. So I guess you could say that menopause cleaned my closet out!
This is me having a 'flash' lol

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:51PM
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Great job, Frankie!

I also just did a closet purge. Was getting really tired of being exasperated every time I got ready for work and would put on a sweater or T or nice top and was happy UNTIL I looked in the mirror. And my mirror never lies!

I think my body has just done what happens to the sand in an hourglass: Flesh has shifted to the bottom half (and there was enough there already!). The shoulder lines were droopy, the lengths were too long, and I just looked dowdy and yucky.

So right now I have 5 trash bags ready to go to the thrift store: 60 tops/sweaters and about a dozen pairs of pants.

I feel lighter already!

Colors that I thought I'd wear--pastel Ts, for example--out. I just don't look as good in pastels as in deep jewel tones, even for the summer. Pants that I was holding on "just in case" I needed to go back up a size? Gone. And the thing is, I have heard this before: Most people gravitate toward the same handful of clothes all the time, and they don't wear everything that's in the closet, so these items in the trash bags? Most I hadn't even reached for in several years.

Some of those tops were 15 years old (maybe a sweater with sewn-in shoulder pads was SLIGHTLY older!). A couple I kept, for hanging-around days or dashing to the grocery store. But the others are all bagged up.

And now I feel I have the freedom to buy a few new things (I think that like some people, I always feel that there are more impt things to use my money for--like saving for my next car or just building my savings).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 2:31PM
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Back at you, pammyfay!

I hear you guys' fashion reports and can really relate.

Here's what's funny--some of my fashion updates, though glacial in speed, actually allowed me to retain a top or bottom and re-group it with something else--on "older" pair of pants looks good with a new jacket, and new pants look good with one old jacket, so that was fun.

I still have too many things for the size closet I have. I now have some things that have moved from "I must keep" to "I've got you in my discard sights" so it may be that they'll depart sometime in the next year.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 5:50PM
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Funny how many of us share the same problem. We must be related.

I have been working at thinning out my closets too. Good things to thrift stores, anything that looks worn, washed too often, or has any stains, etc. goes in a bag for one of several charity drop boxes near by me that sells clothing by the pound - the Cancer Society, Big Brother, Big Sister to name a few. At least it will do them some good.

I'd just like to ask those who are clearing out their closets to be brutally honest with clothes they give to thrift stores, because I can tell you from experience that thrift stores get given so many things they have to immediately throw out and it is discouraging, to say the least. Worse, it can actually cost the thrift shop money in some areas that charge to dump garbage. My local paper recently ran a story about it.

Please, only donate items that are in clean, sellable condition to thrift stores, put the rest in bags and deposit them in the large drop boxes at shopping centers put there by charities which will sell the donations by the bulk, and that way put your well intended donation to good work.

Back when Katrina happened, I ran a huge drive for clothing and supplies and you simply would not believe what awful stuff I was given, or that was dropped off at night. The worst part was that a good bit of it came from people my volunteers and I knew! What were they thinking?

Along with lots of good clothing in the bags we were handed, there were tons - literally, in fact - of filthy dirty, stained, torn and moldy clothing. Clothing that smelled like urine, weird out-dated clothing that came from the 60's and 70's that no one would want and quilts stained beyond belief. Several bags had bugs come out when we opened them - oh, it was horrible!

I was close to tears somedays. We were trying so hard to do something good and it was almost as if we were being punished for it. I ended up taking eleven heaping pickup truck loads of garbage - ie: baby car seats so dirt encrusted it was hard to believe anyone would put a child in them - to the dump and stuffing our local clothing drop bins to overflowing many, many times with absolutely unusable items.

My experience was not at all unusual. Ask any thrift store. My mom helps out in the church's and I have friend's who volunteer at other thrifts and they all say it happens to them every week, but they sure wish it didn't.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 1:31PM
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I never would have imagined it to be that bad, sunnyflies. Really makes you wonder about people. Yuck.

Frankie, I recently adopted the trick of hanging clothes with the hanger the opposite way. When I wear an item, I put it back with the hanger the right way. At the end of the year, it'll be easy to see what wasn't worn. Easy to part with? Maybe not. I have one long crepe skirt that's hanging the opposite way and I know it will remain that way until next season. It has the most vivid blues that remind me of summer nights on the beach. Don't enjoy too many of those but I sure do love looking at that skirt! A-ha! Just thought of something. Perhaps I could re-purpose the fabric? It didn't cost a fortune so turning it into a pillow or something shouldn't rattle me too much.

Good luck with your purging. Nothing wrong with doing it gradually.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:13AM
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I appreciate the updates. One of my tricks has been to literallly make myself wear some of the things or outfits I think I'm saving; usually somewhere fashion-safe, like church, or out to casual dinner with DH. If I find myself saying, I really would rather be wearing something else--then I start getting the hint that maybe it should go.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 3:00PM
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One thing I do, when my drawers & closet is full, is when I buy something new, I have to get rid of the same number of things plus one. I know this is weird. ;-) I just bought five things - four pair of shorts & a sun dress. So I put SIX things in a Goodwill bag. Sometimes it's easier to let go of things when you're excited about the new stuff.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Regarding donating unusable clothing to thrift stores.............all the ones I know sell by the pound to the recyclers what they don't put out on the racks. Metal and glass items get sold to be recycled too.

Those "rummage sales" that churches and other groups have once or twice a year are the ones who do not wish to have junky items donated to them. They are responsible for disposal of what they cannot put out to sell and do not get enough to have the rag collector come out to them.

As far as all those clothes "from the '60s and '70s" that you feel nobody would want.........anything deemed vintage goes on a special *vintage* rack in the stores or are separated and sold to vintage clothing stores. It does not have to be an expnsive item either to be sold as vintage. There are people who collect "vintage" T-shirts and vintage jeans.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:07AM
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