What’s in your closet? Do you even know?
I’m trying to get a handle on the process I went through – after the fact.
Having determined that I was weighed down by entirely too much of everything I set about to remedy this. I took the first step with books. At around the same time I took steps in the clothing department – an area I believe most of us Americans (especially women) experience extreme excess.
I decided that the best way to get a handle on what clothes I owned vs. what clothes I wear was to stop doing laundry. Seriously.
The goal was to wear everything in my closet and drawers. Obviously when one stops doing laundry the favorite clothes are gone in 10 days or two weeks. Then we move into the second level of clothes one likes. After 5 weeks or so it begins to get a little desperate (and I must point out that there IS a need to do a little load here and there of essentials – read: bras and towels in my case.) After a couple more days (or weeks) one gets down to only the clothes one wouldn’t be caught dead actually wearing. Best just to let those go – face it, you’re REALLY not going to wear any of it. That was kind of easy – this stuff was garbage.
It’s hard for me to find clothes I actually like, ergo it’s hard for me to get rid of clothes once I own them. After the no-laundry experiment, once I’d washed everything and put it all back in an impressively organized manner, I looked at it all again. There’s some stuff I might be able to do without. So I took some things and I removed them – at least temporarily; put them in a big plastic crate and hid them away. I figured that if I don’t go looking for them, don’t miss them, then I don’t REALLY need them. It was late winter, so I focused on spring and summer clothes. I filled a crate and stashed it in the back of my closet.
There was a time or two when I wanted a particular shirt or pair of pants, couldn’t find them, and went into the crate. There they were, so they went back into rotation. While I might paw through the crate looking for a particular something, I made great efforts to pay no attention to what else was in there.
Six months later I looked in the crate, this time to SEE what was there. Any of those spring and summer clothes I’d not needed or gone hunting for should be considered unnecessary. But I was realistic too. If there was something in there that I’d buy right this minute if I saw it on a rack at the consignment store, I let that slip back into the closet. Everything else went to the consignment store if they’d take it and to Goodwill if they didn’t.
I refilled the crate with things I might not miss and that currently sits in the back of my closet again. The whole thing is a process – anyone who tells you it can be done in a weekend or a month is full of it.
After the great no-laundry experiment and after ditching at least 2 plastic bags full of clothes, in February this is what was in my closet –
2 fringe jackets (when was the last time I even wanted to wear these?)
28 button down shirts
1 long sleeve shirt
2 cat suits
19 sleeveless shirts on hangers
2 winter coats
2 fall/spring coats
4 costume dresses
4 dressy dresses – mid-length
5 dressy jackets
13 casual dresses (7 long, 6 short)
36 pairs of pants – hanging
9 pairs of pants – folded
11 bath sized towels
39 tank tops – folded
7 sleeping shorts
13 sleeping shirts
32 pairs of socks
42 pair of underwear
2 lounge pants
11 tee shirts – historical personal value – not for wearing
That’s still an awful lot of clothes. Perhaps you can see how easy it was for me to go something like 10 weeks without doing laundry. Aren’t I lucky to be American? I do not say this facetiously. How many women in this world get by on 2 ratty bras and 10 old pair of underwear? Or less? How many women in the world own 2 or 3 dresses only?
I’ve heard of women who have in their closets something like – 3 skirts, 2 dresses, 4 or 5 pair of pants, 8 shirts and 3 jackets. And they live fine with this! They don’t feel a lack of clothes. They mix and match and appear well dressed! I’m not there yet. I still have too many clothes – many more clothes than I ought to need.
Every week I try to whittle it down somewhat, somehow. The process is not glamorous.
When I take off my underwear at the end of the day – if it’s a pair that was loose, or tight, or uncomfortable in any way – I throw them in the trash – not the laundry basket. Same with bras. I’m trying now with the theory – Do Not Keep Anything That Isn’t Top Quality.
I am certain I have not gotten rid of nearly enough clothing yet, still, but when it’s so hard to find what I like it is truly hard to let it go.
I’m gonna do a quick experiment – I’m gonna copy off that list above (from 8 months ago) and compare it to what’s in my closets and drawers right now… (Wish me luck.)
Same – 3 scarves
Gone – 2 fringe jackets
13 skirts – 17 skirts
25 now – 28 button down shirts
Same – 1 long sleeve shirt
Gone – 2 turtlenecks
Gone – 2 cat suits
Same (I wear them all – I made sure of it!) – 19 sleeveless shirts on hangers
Same – 2 winter coats
Same – 2 fall/spring coats
Same – 4 costume dresses
Same – 4 dressy dresses – mid-length
2 now – 5 dressy jackets
16 now (crap! I went shopping!) – 13 casual dresses (7 long, 6 short)
Same – 2 robes
29 now (this includes some inadvertent shopping.) – 36 pairs of pants – hanging
7 now – 9 pairs of pants – folded
Same – 11 bath sized towels
Same (there was some shopping and change-out. I love tank tops.) – 39 tank tops – folded
Same – 7 sleeping shorts
8 now – 13 sleeping shirts
Same – 14 leggings
9 now – 12 tights
34 now??? – 32 pairs of socks
35 now – 42 pair of underwear
Same (there has been some change-out, call it upgrading.) – 17 bras
Same – 2 lounge pants
2 now – 3 swimsuits
Same – 11 tee shirts – historical personal value – not for wearing
Tally = Minus 40 things, plus 5.
I suppose that’s better than plus 10 or 20 over 8 months time – right?
Obviously I could do more here, though I have made a good system for rotation and making sure I wear everything I own – for if I won’t/don’t wear it, what’s the point of keeping it? The list would have more impressive cutbacks if I’d counted before the great no-laundry experiment but I didn’t and so it goes.
Now – I ask again – do you really know what’s in your closet?
I dare you to make a list…