Paring Down, Kind Of

This weekend, I finally tackled a chore that I’ve been putting off for years – cleaning the closet.

Inspired by my friend Lynne, who maintains that we really don’t need all the stuff hanging/folded up/taking up space in our closets, I decided it was way past time to beard the lion.

With the Sheltie looking on and wearing a confused face, I pulled out armload after armload of hanging items. Skirts, dresses, suits, slacks, blouses began to stack up on my bed as my brain categorized them based on the following criteria:

  1. Did it fit?
  2. Did I still like it?
  3. Was it even remotely in style?
  4. Was it in good condition?
  5. And, perhaps of utmost importance, had I worn it within the last two or three years?

Surprisingly, many of the things lurking in my closet hadn’t seen the light of day since Domer was a wee lad (and remember, he’s twenty-one now!). Those, obviously, had to go.

Others were gifts — wrong size, wrong color, wrong style — and had only been “gently” worn, probably to appease the giver.

Still others were items I’d loved. And worn practically to their threads. But somehow couldn’t bear to part with — then. Now, out they went.

I found a ginormous sack from Kohl’s and started filling it. I loaded in old blue jeans, crop pants and tops. I even added a few belts that I knew I’d never wear again.

Who knew that belts designed for waists wouldn’t fit around hips?!

When the sack was full, I dug out a bag from JCPenney and started filling it. In went a plethora of dress slacks, skirted suits, and better quality skirts (things I’m thinking might be better for a resale shop than for charity).

I lugged the bags downstairs and put them where I’d have to see them regularly — my system for “guilting” myself into doing something I know I should do but am hesitant about.

Then I went back to my room to survey the aftermath.

Wow! Lots more hanging space, lots of nice hangers. Yet still, way more stuff than I could ever hope to wear.

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling, knowing my clothing will probably go toward a person who needs it. Perhaps it will help them find a job. Or keep them warm this winter. Or give them confidence to leave a bad situation.

And no, this doesn’t give me an excuse to go shopping. Who needs an excuse for that?!

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18 thoughts on “Paring Down, Kind Of

  1. I love that you did that! And I love that you’re thinking of the gal who may benefit from your donation. That’s a good feeling. Just this morning I finally said goodbye to a pair of Roman-style sandals I’ve been keeping for – brace yourself – THIRTY YEARS. The fad even came back! But mine are uncomfortable and unstylish. They only look good until I put them on! so into the Goodwill pile. Sigh.

    • It’s hard parting with stuff that holds good memories, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s the memories we don’t want to part with — after all, the rest is just STUFF! If more people, though, passed around more “stuff,” those without stuff would have it (and kids wouldn’t have to debate over who gets what of mom and dad’s stuff!)

  2. Good for you! I’ve gotten nearly everything out of this house I don’t really need except for clothing. I’m trying to take off twenty pounds before I make that selection. If I can just get it off I’ll have a whole new wardrobe – but I’m having a terrible time getting rolling with the weight loss. Maybe I should look at it as just one more thing to get rid of – I certainly don’t need an extra twenty pounds hanging around, and there’s no way they’re in style!

    • Dropping excess weight is a lofty goal, but my money’s on you! You strike me as a very determined woman, so when you decide to go for it, there won’t be any stopping you. And hey, a new wardrobe sounds like pretty good motivation to me!

    • Doing nothing is always an option, Suzi! However, think about how good you’d feel getting that chore out of the way. Well, maybe another day (a rainy one??)

        • Well, all wasn’t lost then! It’s just my nature, I guess, but the only time I’ve been able to nap in the daytime was when I was carrying Domer.

  3. Closet cleaning is always a chore but it does feel so great when it’s done and you look inside and see all the new space and hangers going one direction with clothes you like, and look good on you. Atta Debbie!

  4. Oh, that must have felt so good to clean out and unload. I’m envious. I’ve been wanting to do just that all over my house, now that the kids are gone. But, time is not my friend. Good for you, Debbie! I’m proud of you. ;)

    • Thanks for the compliment, Monica. Truly, if I’d dreamed when I woke up that cleaning out the closet was on my agenda, I’d have probably rolled over and stayed in bed! It’s just not a chore anybody enjoys, is it? Yet, it feels so good having done it that I’m surprised I didn’t do it sooner!

  5. Yay! Me clapping here. Good for you. I know that feeling. I love that feeling. And then, yes, I have to restrain myself to go shopping again. We have so much, don’t we? My husband spent years in Central America during his career in the Air Force and said it forever changed him as far as an awareness of how little, how very little, so many people in the world have. We can’t even imagine. I’m happy for those who will benefit from your closet clearing. Great reminder, Debbie.

    • Thanks, Barb. Yes, it is a good feeling to know somebody (I hope!) will get as much enjoyment and use from my things as I did. Surprisingly, most of it was in pretty good condition, too. Some people probably would have chosen the yard sale route, but I’m a big believer in charitable donations. I’m pretty sure none of us needs as much “stuff” as we accumulate, either!

  6. Good for you! I go through this exercise periodically, but I’m not tough enough with myself. I go through everything and end up with two or three items. To make it worse, when I end up with a couple free hangers, I fill them right back up again :)

    I usually go the donation route (to a women’s shelter, if I can make it downtown- if not, Goodwill) simply because the items are often in great shape and clothes don’t sell well in garage sales in our area. People balk at paying a dollar and I’d rather give it to someone who needs it than to sell it for cheap to someone who may not need it as much.

    • My thoughts exactly! I just tried to take the whole lot to Catholic Charities, but they were full up and not accepting donations right now — can you imagine, in this economy?? So I ended up at the Salvation Army. It doesn’t much matter where you donate, I guess, as long as you’re pretty sure the stuff will go to the needy. Thanks for reading and offering your thoughts, Janna!

    • If you need encouragement, Terri, I can assure you you’ll feel sooo much better, once it’s done! And just think of all the people who could use a helping hand! I’d been ignoring my closet for years. Every new season, I’d take a look, tell myself I needed to go through it, but turn away. I’m glad I finally decided to bite the bullet — and you should’ve seen the look on the guy’s face when I dropped it off!

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