Clothing Cleanout

Following Tuesday’s post about Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I said I was going to write a series of posts examining areas in which changes need to be made to realign my habits and choices with my purpose and beliefs. This week I’m taking a critical look at the contents of my closet.

I love clothes. I like to look and feel good in what I’m wearing. And unfortunately that has driven me to buy more and more pieces when I get bored with what I already have, a frequent problem when buying things only because they’re on sale.

I’ve always been a frugal spender, shopping clearance racks and thrift stores, looking for good deals on clothing and accessories. But in the past I’ve let that fact justify excessive shopping habits. I would think, ‘Oh, what’s the big deal? This only costs $5; I can afford that.’ But I failed to account for how quickly those purchases added up, and how quickly the pieces became overlooked. Because I found such affordable items, I bought more of them than I needed, which left me with an abundance of pieces that I only sort of liked. My closet and dresser were quickly filling up, and yet I still felt like I didn’t have much that I really liked to wear.

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My closet before I began this clothing cleanout

Looking into a closet full of things I felt indifferent about made my stomach churn. Why did I spend so much money on things I wasn’t going to get enough use out of? Why did I convince myself that it was worth it to buy something just because it was on sale? I wasn’t going on $500 shopping sprees every weekend, but when I was still trying to pay off debt, spending even $40 on unneeded or unused items seems wasteful.

My chopping shopping challenge has prevented me from buying new things since March, but I know that I still have a challenge ahead of me: clearing out the unnecessary items that are already in my possession. It’s great to not add any more unneeded things, but the process really needs to begin with what I already have.

So begins my challenge to clean out my unwanted and unused items. This will likely be quite the undertaking as I have to think honestly about pieces I’ve been holding onto for a while, but it’s a good task to tackle as I prepare to pack up for our upcoming move. I In the middle of my cleanout, this was my "do I really want to keep this?" pile.expect the rest of this project will entail the following:

  1. Making sure all of the items are in good condition (no stains, holes, etc.).
  2. Trying most of my clothes on, with the exception of thepieces I have worn recently, to ensure everything still fits properly.
  3. Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit anymore (and can’t reasonably be tailored to fit, or aren’t liked enough to make the effort worth it).
  4. Identifying the pieces I haven’t worn in the last six months.
  5. Asking why I haven’t worn unused pieces, as the reasoning is important. Some things are for special occasions that I haven’t encountered, some other pieces may need a little work done to repair them, while others get passed over repeatedly because I just don’t like them all that much.
  6. Inviting my friends over for a girls’ night in, including an invitation for them to bring their unwanted clothes, accessories, and books over to trade. I came across this idea recently as a solution to shopping out of boredom with what we already have– borrowing or trading ensures fewer purchases and better use of everyone’s items.

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    My pile of clothes to be tailored.

  7. Bringing leftover items from our swap to a nonprofit that provides for the needs of people in our community.
  8. Researching nonprofit companies that sell clothing and accessories that are responsibly made and sold so my future purchases can support a good cause instead of just funding large corporations.
  9. Making sure that I only buy things I really like and will get a good use out of, instead of falling prey to advertising and sales.
  10. Revisiting my closet regularly to keep checking whether I’m living up to my goals, as maintaining my clothing situation is a continuous process.
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