This weekend I bit the proverbial bullet and tackled my closet.
I hadn’t cleaned my closet in 5 years. It doesn’t seen to bad until you consider that when we moved, I simply transferred the hangers from one house to the other. Some of my clothes were so old, they could’ve gotten their own driver licenses. Over the years, my side of closet had become a bit postapocalyptic, with stacks of folded clothes forming small towers, sweatpants in random places, various size labels on the floor, and drawers stuffed with bras which I will never wear.
Finally the situation reached a critical point, so I got some large garbage bags for donated and thrown away clothes and went to work. The plan was that if it’s stained, too small, too ugly, or falling apart, it went into one of the bags. It took roughly 5 hours and now I have questions. So many questions.
Questions like what is this shirt? When did I buy this shirt? Was I suffering from an ocular migraine when I bought it because this has to be one of the ugliest shirts in existence?
This shirt is half as old as my children. How long was I planning on keeping it?
Why are so many of my shirts terracotta-colored? I hate terracotta.
Why do I have so many shirts with horizontal stripes? Not only they are not flattering, I don’t really care for stripes.
Why do I own two identical shirts with horizontal terracotta stripes? What is going on here?
How and where did I buy a sack-shaped, shimmering gold metallic shirt that is two sizes too big and has a collar encrusted with shiny rhinestones? I would never wear that in a million years. Did I just have a sudden, irresistible urge to impersonate a giant Ferrero Roche chocolate? Because with my figure, that’s exactly what I would look like. How did this get into my closet? How?
Why do I own so many long-sleeved shirts? I live in Texas. I get to wear long-sleeved shirts exactly 30 days out of a year, if that. Why do I have so many soft, warm sweatshirts? Did I forget that we have to run AC in winter? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking?
Why do I own a very thick, retina-burning shade of magenta, too-small sweatshirt that says Austin on it? Did I forget where I live? Perhaps I just thought it would be lovely to advertise Austin to my neighbors, all of whom react to the word “Austin” in exactly the same way, by wincing and going, “Ugh, traffic.”
Why do I own so many sweatpants? Did I expect a sweatpants shortage? Did I confuse sweatpants with flour during the pandemic? I love sweatpants, but this is wildly excessive.
Why do I own so many leggings and why do some of them look like they were designed by someone at the heights of their acid trip? I don’t like leggings. I wore leggings like twice in the last year. I will have to wear them more often now because I have them, so I should get my money’s worth.
Why is there a collector’s copy of Small Magics buried under the stack of T-shirts? Was I hiding it from the robbers? Also why is there a box of Sharpie fine tip markers in roughly the same vicinity? Was I planning to hold a signing session in our closet?
How many bras does one woman need? Let me rephrase that, how many bras that don’t fit does one woman need?
In conclusion, I have made several resolutions for myself.
One, I will never buy a T-shirt from Tee Fury no matter what kind of cuteness is printed on it. They are all too thick and the fit is not flattering on me. They all end up in the back of the closet never to be worn.
Two, buying cheap sweatpants is not a good way to deal with stress, no matter what life throws at you.
And three, I’m forbidden to purchase additional T-shirts unless I’m willing to surrender one of the T-shirts I already own. It has to be like an ancient sacrifice. I must ascend the ziggurat via a staircase flanked by burning torches, carrying the sacrificial T-shirt on my outstretched arms and ritualistically deposit it into the donate pile while a gaggle of priests chants to themselves, “Let it go, let it go, let it go…”
The gentlest, most suburban mid-life crisis ever.
Thank you. I needed that laugh.
+1 Also, the gold shirt with rhinestones – 1st thought – Costume!
Sounds like me. kept some stuff so long it is back in fashion.
Cracked up. Especially over the staircase of sacrifice. I need to do this. We’re remodeling our upstairs area which will become our bedroom and I am dreading the close move. I think I wear maybe ten things on rotation because I hate digging in the stupid closet trying to find things.
On the one hand, the good news is that the new closet will be bigger. And the bad news is that the new closet will be bigger. argh.
Linda Trainor says
you could make an outfit per hanger as you sort your clothes then arrange your closet causal one end work then formal
Rosie Cantrell says
Goodness…I love you both. This is so much me, it’s really kinda funny.
Well now you know where to hide a random box of sharpies that she will find in 5 years.
She’s too smart to throw away a perfectly awesome husband for a boy toy and a Ferrari. Let her have another tee????
Mimi H says
I am guilty of too many of these. Especially leggings. I don’t know why I have so many leggings and t-shits. Now I’m tempted to clean out my closet as well!
But not the collector’s edition of Small Magics. Is there a way to make one appear in my closet as well?
I know it was a typo, but I’m probably going to use that name for those shirts for the rest of my life. FYI.
Bahaha… me too! ????
Mimi H says
Hahaha woops!! Can I pretend it was intentional, though?
hahahaha thanks for making me laugh, this is hilarious. I love how good it feels after a wardrobe clear out. it sounds like you conquered massive job.
Patti HN says
I died laughing! Any woman over 40 has clothes older than her kids. Just sayin’….
Now I tend to look at all my old clothes and consider new hobby possibilities (I was making baskets with tshirt strips for awhile).
Sarah C says
I have boots and at least a couple of t-shirts older than some of my colleagues. Sigh…
I can relate. My kitchen dishes are older than my assistant!
Cymru Llewes says
I’m over 40 and have clothes (well, my grandmother’s silk velvet evening gown and a 1890’s wool overcoat) older than my mother. I do have clothes older than my kids that I still wear, like the jeans jacket i took off my younger brother because he out grew it.
I even have clothes that my kids’ raided from my closet that they’ve given back. (Still want my Red Camel long sleeve shirts back.)
Michelle M says
Some of those items could have been gifts that friends and family thought they would look nice on you. The less flattering ones possibly were from people who are pretending to be your friends. Also never underestimate the power of going to a store with people during a “good sale” and getting caught up in the whirl of “what a great deal this XXX is, the price is fantastic”. Its a strange peer pressure that leaves you with clothes that are not your style and don’t flatter you.
Laughing and crying because the struggle is real…
I ‘ve been trying to figure out what clothes I need to keep since my job is now permanently work from home. Do I need the dress pants anymore? How many pairs do I keep fo those rare situations I have to put on professional clothes? How many hoodies and flannel shirts do I need? Are 10 pairs of leggings too many or not enough?
So much struggle ????
I took my business casual clothes to hang at the dead end of the closet, wrapped them against dust and what ever I hadn’t used in 2 years went to the Mission. all of my blazers stayed because I could use them with jeans. I have one just-in-case suit.
Thanks. this is an excellent idea! Although, I may not wait another two years. I’ve been repurposing favorite work pieces with casual stuff too. Who knew my favorite tunic-length sweaters would work with flannel pj bottoms ????
LOL! Love it! Sending you all the good vibes that your t-shirt buying will is strong and your closet stays organized ????
LOL. I feel you. I’m wearing a cardigan right now that I made in 1983-ish. Definitely before 1985 anyway. It looks awful and doesn’t leave the house but it is comfy and Portland DOES get cold. As long as it doesn’t unravel I’m keeping it and wearing it.
Also, even in the summer the RIGHT long sleeved shirts are for gardening (pruning raspberries, etc) and/or sun protection.
Keep them Kate!!! In Portland, OR (not sure which one you are in), last night went down to around 17F with wind chill. It is COLD! Our friends in Canada are probably laughing their heads off at me right now, but we are freezing our you know whats off. I had just taken down the heated hummingbird feeders, now I’m microwaving these periodically and will re-deploy the heated ones soon. Back to clothes, I have quite a few items of clothing that never leave the house… and don’t pass too close to a window lol. Like these other posts, I have the same overfull closet issue. I could take a photo, post, and you would all instantly feel better. 🙂
Doesn’t help closet to lead multiple lives. College professor requires one wardrobe, equestrian another, martial arts… not just clothes but also weapons, and I could go on, but it would take a while. It also takes a lot of space. I bet many of you can relate.
Be strong, BDH! You got this!
Portland Oregon indeed the weather is … bracing. I’m maybe at the other end of the spectrum from most.
I keep things forever but after three years of working at home I have changed shape somewhat, worn out or ruined my comfy clothes, and I have few good office wear pieces that go together. As for the tees and sweats I want 100% cotton which is getting harder and harder to find (which is why I wear the older stuff way past its rag bag date) but synthetics make me sweat.
yes! i refuse to buy polyester clothing so i can sweat my ass off in it! i don’t care if it costs more, i want only 100% cotton clothing! but finding 100% cotton clothing, especially plus size clothing, has become an impossible challenge lately.
I’m very happy with my Woman Within cotton clothes. I hand wash everything, so I know the dyes bleed, but they fit, are comfy, and cotton available. I have a closet behind my reading chair that I haven’t been able to safely reach for three years due to the pile of favorite books blocking access. My mom never threw away good clothes because she said every style comes back and she could sew and alter anything. Me? I’ve started wearing the same thing over and over until it dies.
t-shits? hahaha. I “save” because they are so many from favorite books. Sigh.
That’s partly why I sew a lot.
I love you and you’re my favorite person of the day.
I have questions about the sacrifice, so many questions.
Do the priests chant to the melody of the Frozen-soundtrack? Is it even possible to utter these words in another way? (Should it be ‘those words’?) Will the grant of the Right To Buy A New Shirt be necessary because one is a size smaller after executing The Climbing Of The Ziggurat?
Maybe to the “Let It Go” from “The Full Monty” (stage version)???
(I could not figure out why parents would let their kids sing that particular song, until someone pointed out that it was the one from “Frozen” that kids enjoyed as sing-along in the car. It all comes down to your point of reference….)
I’ve been eyeing my clothes closet too! Too many bright colors that I never chose to wear! What was I thinking? But I am keeping the t-shirt from my daughter’s elementary school field day, I got one and she got one. Memories win on that one, that was from 1993!
Marcia Sundquist says
lol I have a coat that a year older than my son and he’s 40 years old now ???? ???? ????
I feel you!
I try to declutter my clothes every six months, getting ride of discoloured or stretch, the “why in the hell and name of the goddess” did I let a friend talk me into buying that and the way too large.
Now before you all scream at me. I also have 3 large size storage crates sitting in bottom of my wardrobe in which lives, my size below what I am now, the size below that, and the size I wish I could be again but haven’t been for 20 years.
Yes I own clothes that I first got when I finally had the freedom of owning my own place, all carefully cleaned and stacked away.
I have managed a few years back to get in the size below and the two below. This year my mission is to get to at least that by beginning of July as my sister is getting married.
Why do I keep these clothes, some are for the wonderful memories looking at them brings back (my memory is dreadful and photo’s dont prompt the same way), some are things I cant currently afford to buy and some in the blind hope I will wear them again.
But my new mantra this year is minimum 2 items out before a single new thing can be bought
I’m with you on the pile that “I might fit into someday” lol
It’s a little bit hard to let those go lol
But well done you for tackling that job!
Mimi S says
Once I stop laughing I’m NOT going up to look in my closet???? Thanks for a great start to the week.
Dump the leggings. I realized that while “getting my money’s worth” is a noble idea, it simply meant that I wore clothes that I did not like and did feel attractive in. Life is too short. So dump the leggings and wear things that make you feel strong and like yourself. Changing my mind set from that of a girl growing up in a house with limited income to a woman in charge of her own wardrobe was strangely empowering.
Wise words. I need to work on this more myself. Plus, getting rid of things that “might fit someday” (in my dreams).
Bill G says
I do not want to consider the closet/chest of drawers space that could be reclaimed by my doing the equivalent.
Does anyone else now have the Frozen soundtrack running through their head because of that last line, which I will not repeat lest my toddlers hear me saying it and fans the movie, and subsequent singing, be turned on?
BWAHAHAHA! I have not gone through my closet since we moved a year and a half ago and just sort of dumped everything in there. I “think” my sewing machine may be hinding in there SOME where. Possibly next to the Holy Grail and Jesus’s kindergarten yearbook…..
Christine Eaton says
Ferrero Roche chocolate….????
Sweatshirt with Austin on it…did I forget where I live?
Funny stuff. Oh so relatable as I’m about a month out from my closet clean out.
2 repetitive questions during my clean out:
1. WHAT was I thinking? And….
2. WHY was this in here?
Claire M says
I feel this post so much ???????????? Ah the joy and pain of it! Thank you for making me smile after a day of feeling very low.
I made my pandemic working from home situation official last year, and now only go into the office once a month. I very much need to go through my closet to get rid of all the office clothes I will likely never need again.
Plus side for me to be tackling my closet shortly is that I’m hosting a Spring Cleaning fundraiser for my daughter’s preschool. All of my clothes that I want to get rid of, household items, etc get collected up and go to Savers (where I’m at, I think it’s also Value Village and something else here in the US, definitely Value Village in Canada). I love that they work with the Epilepsy Foundation where as others are For Profit instead.
I feel you on TeeFury was a short addiction for me but then none of them fit right. Even men’s. But I’m keeping them for now I don’t know if my local charity would want them. They have an issue with “dark things” like witches. Mine are prints of Wednesday, NBC, Ursla, etc.
Never heard of TeeFury, but now I’m curious.
I have been making quilts out of my Too Many Tshirts. It is very satisfying.
I think that’s a great idea for Ilona’s funny t-shirts.
Gail Lefkowitz says
Rowena, you are so awesome. And our friend Aleea has been making memory quilts for friends’ widows out of their old t-shirts similarly to what you have been doing, though your embroidery is sublime.
That is so cool!
Made Pillows-but your quilt is muuuch cooler????
Wow! awesome, Rowena!
note to self: do NOT buy t-shirts for future quilts
I cleaned out my closet 2 weeks ago. So many pairs of black pants. So many. How many do you really need? I mean, shoes are one thing but pants? At then end, I only kept 3 pairs and ended up giving away 4 huge bags of clothes to charity – I’ll never be a size 4 again so goodbye to clothes that are too small. And 2 bags of coats and 1 bag of purses. My sister took a look at my closet yesterday and said I have a lot of empty space now. I will not shop…I will not shop…
To avoid the sacrificial T-shirt ritual, you could cut off the neck and arms, stuff the t-shirt to make pillows. If you don’t want to sew the holes just use velcro. Or if you are really ambitious cut the fronts off and sew them all together to make a quilt. Cuteness saved and you avoid the label “horder” in place of “crafty”. Problem solved.
When one comes in one must leave. Works for everything. Also I think you must tell your family your sizes so they stop buying you clothes that are not your size or style!!!
Laura Register says
When, not if, you buy more tees, I suggest Teeturtle. Also, I bought bins to store my leggings.
CC in CA says
I have so many of those tees. Now we need to get through this surprisingly cold and rainy CA winter so I can wear them.
Maria Schneider says
I dunno. I’m not sure you can have too many sweatpants! When I moved from Texas to NM, I was in GREAT NEED of long sleeved shirts and sweatshirts. I owned ONE sweatshirt before the move. I have added some long-sleeved shirts, but in NM, it would be difficult to have too many. I feel that way right now because we live at 6500 feet above sea level and are coming off some night temps that ranged from 16 to 27. For the first time ever, I own goose down and I wear a goose down vest around the house.
I do however own gunnysack-shaped dresses that would only look good on … well, no one really. Maybe they had flour in them, and as you said, I bought them during the pandemic for the flour?
Diane Taggart says
Maria – I’m in NM too! Thrilled to “find” another member of the BDH in my state. I have no one I can actually TALK to about my Ilona Andrews addiction.
Inga Abel says
I am moving a lot, so I am well practised in decluttering. I now sort most of my clothes in clear boxes, so I just have to sweep them into Ikea bags when we do the next move. It also helps as a marker if I have too many things, becaus at one point the boxes are full ????!
I don’t buy too many clothes because I hate shopping and being quarantined at home I didn’t see the need to buy new clothes so my shopping habits have changed radically. Wearing leggings in the house all the time (thank you covid!) means the amount of clothes I have bought since lock down rules were eased is very, very low. I have bought most of my clothes from REI in the past 3 years than anywhere else (their leggings are so effing comfortable but not at all fashionable). I pretty much live in my Patagonia rompers in the summer as they feel like PJs, I wear almost nothing else. I almost buy exclusively from Everlane and REI now. I have 2 bags in my trunk I keep meaning to donate to Goodwill but I feel okay about the amount of clothes I have (meaning not too many and not too little). The amount of books on the other hand… that is a different story.
I’m slowly building a pile of sentimental t-shirts that will eventually be transmogrified into a quilt. All of my knitting buddies who also quilt have warned me that it will be my first and final t-shirt quilt, so I’m fine having several (read “almost all”) other fiber-related projects in the queue ahead of it. But culling that stack freed up most of a drawer.
Maria R. says
Out loud laughter on terracotta, nay on terracotta horizontal striped clothing. Oh my, perhaps save one of those Ferrero Roche shirts for Halloween costume?
I had purchased, eons ago, a lovely (in the store) cinnamon coloured vest & matching long skirt that most certainly didn’t do much to my complexion other than turn it a startling yellow tone. The earth colours must have been a trend decades ago ????
I’m doing a happy dance that you’ve found glorious closet space.
I do not consider myself to be a hoarder, but I discovered I find it really hard to part with some things. When it comes to clothes I made a resolution: at the end of the season I put away in a separate box all the clothes I didn’t wear that season. The next year I do not open that box. If the entire season passed without opening that box, I donate all of it, as is. It really helped me.
Good idea. My most painless way to clean the closet is to turn ALL hangers backwards in January. As you wear an item and launder it, it is returned to the closet with hanger facing proper direction. The following January any items still hanging backwards have not been worn for an entire year and should be purged. After the purge start the process again.
Love that hint. I have used it, need to do it again!
Kathleen L Kaufmann says
Find a friend who quilts. Send them the T-shirts. Have the T-shirt fronts made into a throw quilt for your couch so you never lose the fun things on them! Voila. You have “thrown” out the t-shirts and can now purchase another!
We do not talk about the closet in this house.
I am firmly convinced that too many things in an enclosed space warp reality. They start to mutate and migrate, in the same manner that all audio tapes left in a car for too long change into „Best of Queen“ compilations.*
You never bought those hideous pieces of clothing. Instead, some other poor human being with an unattended closet is wondering where all the terracotta went and where these other items came from.
If you had waited any longer, you might have found a Cloaker in your closet.**
* refer to Gaiman/Pratchett Good Omens
** refer to D&D Monster Manual; I am sure Gordon has a copy
I laughed so hard~
According to my closet the correct number of I’ll fitting bras is seven. These bras were suppose to make my under sized yet somehow still droopy chest look like it did when I was twenty years old. I therefore, paid too much money for the darn things to just throw them away, but won’t wear them because I am too mature to put up with the discomfort of actually wearing the stupid things. ????????
*I’ll not I’ll
Try donating them to Goodwill or another local charity. I’m doing that with the square necked horizontally striped shirts I bought on sale 2 years ago. Oh yes, and when I carry my heavy shoulder strap purse it pulls the shirt down my arm and exposes my bra strap. I discovered this in the parking lot after visiting my spouse’s workplace. No one mentioned a thing but I’m pretty sure it didn’t just happen when I got to the parking lot. I can chuckle about it now.
You’re probably a boomer, because our kids don’t care whether their bra straps show. All the agonizing we went through over whether the tank straps were wide enough to cover the bra straps is incomprehensible to them. *And* they don’t care whether the bra coordinates with the outerwear. Lime-green bra under orange tank – what’s the problem? I need to figure out what species of dinosaur I’d like to be.
Yep! Early 1950’s. Don’t let your slip show. Don’t talk too loud. Your bra strap is showing dear. Also many many other tips on life as a female. Most of which thankfully have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Yep, very little about that I miss, but it’s still engraved on my brain.
I’m an Xer – and I’ll have to admit I was hard pressed not to raise my eyebrows the first time students showed up in class wearing shorts and halter tops. But hey, one has to survive southern heat somehow.
(BTW, if you decide you can, Duluth Trading co not only makes women’s pants with serious pockets, but many of their tanks have little snap things to hold your bra strap in place under them. Which I don’t use, but I appreciate all the same.)
trailing wife says
If you live in the continental U.S., Ann, Nordstom’s bra fitters are really well trained, and will find you bras that accomplish your goal. I don’t remember the exact statistic, but as I recall the majority of American women are in a bra size too big around the chest and too small in the cup. Also, every ten pound weight gain or loss means a matching gain/loss of one cup size. 🙁 I hate buying bras, but for me it hurts less to spend more to find something on the first try that actually fits and is comfortable.
..”signing session in our closet”… this was a hilarious post, thank you for the laughs, I so much needed that.
OMG!!! I’ve been planning to go thru my clothes and this is exactly what I expect to find. I need a good place to donate. Anyone know a good company to donate that won’t just sell crap to line their pockets or only give people in need clothes if they “find Christ”?
Also, I have 4 boxes of clothes under the bed, two chest of drawers and a full closet but I actually live in the two laundry baskets on the floor of my room.
Gail Lefkowitz says
If you have business clothing, there is a charity called “Dress for Success” that helps lower income people get clothes for interviews and work. If there isn’t one in your town, there might be something similar.
I am so impressed it only took you 5 hrs, congrats….
Lol now I want all the tee turtle shirts you are getting rid of. I’m obsessed with that place and they make about 85% of my non work wardrobe.
Nancy Weaver says
Edit out the words sweats, shirts, closet, and substitute dishes, glasses, cookware and cabinets. Same puzzled How? WHAT?
I fear this will be us in the next few years, because hubby has retired from Active Duty. I used to use our frequent moves to get rid of things. Hubby and kid 2 have hoarder tendencies. They get it from his mom who can have her own episode. I’m not kidding the sister in law and I have tried to go in and organise to help her but she refills the space with in a week and refuses professional help.
I think Im going to make a schedule so we dont end up with these questions or stack of shoes taller than my 9 yr old.
We are into year four and I need to either move again or somehow convince myself movers are coming next month. I did the closet sort and filled two large bags, finally accepting the fact that my favorite dress from my 20s was 50 pounds ago and not likely to fit ever again.
Good luck–but keep the shoeboxes. After all, you know how important they become when you do move–and you might do just that someday:)
I never knew one was supposed to:
A) clean ones closet
B) be able to answer any of those when, where, why about things in your closet
Put it on the list: clean my closet
The answer to all your questions is Costco. Costco sells all these great deals. And they’re only $8, $10, $12, $15. So I get all this… stuff… I don’t *really* need (or sometimes like that much, especially when I get it home) But it’s such a great deal! And I won’t have to spend real money in other places to be clothed. ????
Kudos to you for clearing it out. I’m not yet that brave. ????
Being a guy is so much easier. my credo is “When in doubt, throw it out”. My wife worries over everything, wonders why I still wear cloths that are years old, then tells me the cloths I just threw out have to be donated. If it wasn’t for women, nothing would ever get donated. Please don’t get me wrong, I admire your determination and tenacity ( same thing?), and at times wish I had that drive, but it is so much easier to buy a new whatever it was I threw out by mistake.
Answer for terakota stripes shirt mystery. You’ve got terracotta daddy and stripe mummy closed doors and some privacy……
Moderator R says
Patricia Schlorke says
That’s a good one. ????????????
Diane E Wilson says
This sounds entirely too much like my closet.
You know stuff is like tribbles! And closets in particular seem to act as incubators. A little stuff becomes STUUUUUFFFFF over time. When I moved from my home of 33 years into a 400 square-feet-smaller house, I purged a great deal, including much (but not all) of my collection of 140+ scarves. Still salty at my sister for making me do that, too. Who needs 140+ scarves? Clearly, I did. ????
Anna L says
As Im recovering from my first cold in 3 years, i look at my apartment and closet and i feel like that. Just dont know how to start.
CC in CA says
You got this, Anna! Start with out of season clothes or that one spot in your place that always fills with clutter. I set a timer for something easy – 5 or 15 minutes – so I can stay motivated.
Gail Lefkowitz says
If the clothes are half as old as your daughters, the answer to how is this in your closet might be “mother’s day gifts.”
If you have so many t-shirts you need to get rid of one to get one, chant “charitable tax deduction” instead of “let it go.”
My problem is that my mother used to go through my wardrobe with me every couple of years to get rid of the clothes that needed to go. With her gone since 2019, I don’t have a second opinion any more.
Cheryl M says
That’s all I can say. I read this to the hus-beast who only could say “it sounds like my closet.” Oh, the clothes he owns and refuses to release from their torture.
Magdalen Braden says
I’m losing weight. That’s the good news, and for sure it outweighs (heh) the bad news by a lot. Nonetheless, there is bad news: clothes no longer fit. I’ve been donating clothes for well over a year now. I finished the summer with only one pair of shorts that still fit: dark tangerine that I bought for $7 more than a decade ago. What I’ve learned is that pants stop fitting long before tops do. Tops can be loose, drapey, tucked in, etc. while only yoga pants survive being too big. Jeans that are too big are the worst: they feel like baggy diapers. I’m not done with the weight loss, so I’m trying hard to squeak along with what I’ve got. I recently dragged out all my exercise bras which amazingly I now need for actual exercise. When all the tunic tops are too big, I will be very sad. They’re pretty.
trailing wife says
Tunic top plus a pretty belt can take you a long way before they start to look entirely too large instead of “OMG, look how small your waist got!”
After Thanksgiving I finally admitted I’m not going to able to return to my pre-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tinyness until there are a few scientific breakthroughs. I cleaned out my closet, the bins under my bed, and my stuff in trailing daughter #2’s closet — she’s the one who left home for all the wonderful adult stuff. Trailing daughter #1 has major health issues, so until she has a few scientific breakthroughs of her own…
But I’ve now got current size winter stuff in the closet and in the dresser, and current size summer and the best loved of the previous two sizes in bins under the bed — should I actually lose the weight I can fill in with things I need then, but at least I’ll start with only things I love — and a pule of size 6 turtlenecks, sweaters, and jeans for td #2 to decide on when we see her after she moves from Dallas to Chicago in two months.
The rest was offered to my favourite resale shops, with whatever they didn’t want being picked up by the veterans aometime tomorrow. Once you call them up and get on their list, they’ll call every few months to see if you have more for them — and they pick up the stuff from the front porch. I figure either they’ll hand things out to those in need or they’ll sell them to help veterans in need — either way it will do some good for those who earnt my support the hardest way.
I lost weight too. None of the colors work for me so I went to the thrift stores. Drop off a bag and then look for a smaller size. The price is low and I can find the colors I look good in. Cleaning out my closet was still a chore.
I feel this! 3 jobs and a farm means 4 sets of clothing (dressy to disgusting). But really? Do I need all those hoodies??? Yesssssss!
Moderator R says
I could never get rid of a hoodie ????. I have an addiction. I wear them until they’re just hoods hehe. They get better the older they are!
ohhhhh… they’re so soft then! I’ll actually wash my favourite one even if there are (and there are) clean ones in the closet, just for the soft, warm, fuzzy ????
You absolutely need those hoodies. I could do a whole essay, or maybe even a poem, on the virtues of hoodies. And I don’t do poetry lightly. I’ve done exactly one since graduating HS 45 years ago, and that was about heated buckets and tubs. It takes a lot to move me to poetry, and hoodies would be a worthy subject. For next year. This year I have to sell the house and move closer to family. There will be further cleaning of closets.
Heated buckets and tubs are definitely worthy subjects. It’s going to be -20 here by the end of the week so I’ll be hauling hot water from the house to the barn. There will be poetry and it won’t be repeatable.
BTDT. On a sled. Thank God the barn is downhill from the house. You have my total sympathy.
OTOH hay bales on the sled can be kind of fun, at least relative to other loads. Yeehah! (Also as long as nobody’s watching.)
Wishing you warm wool socks.
Kat in NJ says
Um, I don’t know how this happened, but I think you may have somehow ended up in MY closet……and I have all of the same questions that you do. ????
(Thanks for the chuckles though, and for making me feel it’s not just me that has closet issues!)
C. Pollak says
My comment on Tee Fury is to pay more for the nicer shirt material. Makes all the difference in how much you wear them.
Are we sisters from different misters? I feel like we are living parallel lives!
Carina Paredes says
I need to go through my clothes. I’m pretty sure I wear exactly the same 10 outfits over and over again. I’m also pretty sure 50 percent of my clothes have holes or stains on them from the 5 children.
Colleen C. says
Just did this same thing. Why does anyone need 15 pair of black yoga pants? ????????♀️
I should really clean my closet…. I’ll narrate the process to myself and hope to be as entertained as I am by this post.
Are you sure some of the leggings, sweats, and t-shirts aren’t Kid 1 and Kid 2s? Just checking, because maybe terracotta (color) was something to do with where they went to school? You know Pep-colors? Also, good luck with not buying t-shirts . 🙂 My obsession is Halloween themed t-shirts. I have a closet full and don’t intend to stop collecting. Also, Also, maybe some of those shirts were meant to be signed and given out, I mean there were sharpies nearby. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hah! Just wait till you downsize. Everything goes in the can’t have more without jettisoning something else. That is books, kitchen gizmos, decor, furniture, exercise equipment of any kind, garden pots…..anything.
It does keep you out of stores and off line????♂️
trailing wife says
E-books don’t take up any space at all… 😉
Going almost entirely eformat was a big deal for me, and it took four moves to get to where I am now. (One full size, and two very short bookcases, none of them especially wide.)
Now if I can just get my closet in order… (I “solved” the question of where to keep fleeces for spinning by buying two cabinets in which to store them.)
I tried making pet beds out of old sweatshirts & sweaters with mixed success. I already had everything & barncats aren’t fussy. Its easy & rewarding. Sew up the neck, stuff with whatever you have old bed pillows, ugly old clothes (!) whatever. Pull the stuffed & sewn sleeves around to the front of the body sew them together at the cuffs. Finally sew or tack the whole thing so it looks like a hug.
The less successful ones weren’t stuffed enough or the fabric stretched out of shape too easily. But the critters didn’t care.
Proud Bookworm says
Well done! Also, thank you for the giggles!
My cat is obsessed with my closet. He can get lost in there (and has). A friend gave me leggings for Christmas. They are made for someone 6’4” and I am 5’2” on a dry day. ????
With the weather forecast for Texas this week you may need to ‘rescue’ a couple of the sweatshirts. Hope all of HA stays safe and warm.
I think I need to see a pic of the Ferrero Rocher shirt!
I also discovered a pile of leggings that I didn’t know I had when I cleaned out my cupboards a couple of years ago, when moving house. I’ve since found they work perfectly under maxi dresses instead of tights.
The most weird thing I found when helping a friend was a suit jacket with another woman’s name badge pinned to it. Took ages for us to remember she’d accidentally worn it home one New Years!
Leggings under maxi skirts and dresses is my go to winter wear, so much warmer than trousers.
yep….I hear you. my question (to myself) is why do I cling to the (clearly batshit) notion that I will fit into dresses I last wore in my 20s?? I am now into my 40s and have carted these dresses with us on 5 house moves……
My kids climb through my closet to find “retro wear” for their parties where everyone comes dressed in 70s/80s – now I can’t get rid of anything because it may be needed! Ugh
Valerie in CA says
My friend and I have discussed the amassing of bras we never wear. We suspect an ancient (male) sorcerer has cast a spell on the middle aged women of the world to buy useless I’ll fitting bras. He owns the company that manufactures the millions of uncomfortable hooks in the back. And possibly the stretchy elastic that “fits” around the chest.
Colleen Whitley says
I repurpose t-shirts with cute sayings into tote bags. They are easy to wash, make great gift bags and I get to keep smiling everytime I see the cute saying. You can either sew across the bottom hems or cut a fringe to knot. Cut off the sleeves to make handles and the collar too if the opening is too small to easily insert items. The cut off sleeves can be repurposed into caps for babies-adults depending on the size.
Reading quietly, occasionally chuckling to myself as I go through the trials and relating to your pain. Screeching to a halt! Wait, what!! A collector’s edition of Small Magics found? Can I go through your closet now? That would be worth the archeological dig. Lol
T-shirts can be sent out to services that will turn them into quilts if any are souvenirs you want to keep as memorial.
I commiserate with you on the bras. I’m still finding brand new bras that I got on sale when was a smaller — hard to find — size. No way will they fit but at least since new with tags they are in a condition I can donate without guilt. The bras I can wear and that are comfortable to wear, I wear until unbearable and in no shape to donate.
Diane Mc. says
I have an addiction to long sleeve t shirts and will never get rid of those even though I only live probably 30 miles from Ilona and Gordon because where I volunteer at church is always too cold.
Diane Mc. says
P.S. I had to empty my sister’s house out when she passed 5 years ago and memories of that mess help keep stuff organized.
This happened to me with my parents’ house. Best inoculation against hoarding ever.
OMGOSH the BRAS!
it seems that I also buy new bras and never throw out the old ones.
A few weeks ago I cleaned out my bra and panty drawer and threw out an entire kitchen trash bag of old bras and panties
Julie Molzahn says
I love this one because I am going through my closet the last couple days too. Why did I buy things in THAT color or that style? How many sweaters and Tshirts does one person need? Why keep old tennis shoes and other shoes that don’t fit well? All those questions we have about our closets when we really look at them. LOL
I feel you. My Sister-in-law and I are selling our house and plan on full-time RV-ing for at least a year. We have been going through our joint possessions since October. We make multiple trips to the junk yard weekly in a pickup truck. We fill our recycling and trash cans weekly. And we’re STILL doing it! Where did all this stuff come from! (To be fair, the last big clean out was 1988.)
May the satisfaction of the clean closet last longer than a week.
I’m coming out of a several years depression, where I also gained a lot of weight.
Was going through my clothes and was asking myself why I had so many shirts in unflattering colors. Like did I figure it didn’t matter anymore because it was a size or two larger?
I now have a very small wardrobe, but it all fits and looks good.
Good for you. That’s a hard road you’ve traveled.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
I’ve been cleaning the office closet. After more than 30 years I am no longer a business that fixes computers. I have 2 55 gallon garbage bags full of old computer parts in the back of my truck. There are 3 printers and a dozen old laptops waiting to go into the truck. The closet is 4’x3′. And has a new light, new shelves and will have a curtain as soon as I figure out where I set the drill down. It’s now full of stuff that is not old computer parts.
At some point this year, I’m cleaning the attic. that’s going to require renting a dumpster and hiring a kid to haul stuff down.
So good on you for cleaning the closet. I’m not doing the bedroom closet until I settle on a weight/size.
We have to do this with golf shirts. One in, one out.
I needed that laugh! And I need to know where to find the Temple of LetItGo!
Natalie Eilert says
I sew, like a lot. With the exception of jeans and bra nearly every thing in my closet and dresser was made by me. I made one pair of leggings and I’ve worn them exactly 3 times over the last year. I am not a leggings person and hoodies I have a hoodie for every day of the week and I keep making them. I mean they are amazing but how many do I think I need? and if I’m going to keep adding to my closet perhaps I should consider getting rid of the clothes I’ve had for 15 years and wouldn’t fit this post 4 kids body in my wildest dreams.
Joy Wilson says
Explain hoodies to me, please. I’ve never understood the appeal and I have none.
I tried some cheap leggings, but the black dye rubbed off on my white sheepskin. But under dresses is a good idea.
Hoodies, the substantial ones anyway, are for people who have to spend a lot of time outside. They’re cheaper than real jackets, and if you put the hood up they protect your neck and head. They generally have handwarmer pockets that will hold gloves, energy bars, sunglasses, dog treats etc.
You can put a hoodie over other layers. You go out in the morning, and as the day and/or your muscles warm up, you can tie the hoodie around your waist. They come in all kinds of colors, depending upon the vendor, and you can get them with all kinds of decoration.
The bad news is that they won’t keep you warm in the rain or snow; once they’re soaked, it’s hypothermia time. However a good-quality one will keep light rain or snow from soaking through long enough to get a couple hundred yards from one building to the next.
I hadn’t worn a hoodie since I was a white suburban kid, back in the 60s/70s, until Trayvon Martin was killed. The next day I went out and bought three – one each white, grey, and black. It didn’t take long to rediscover their virtues. By a month later I had one for every day of the week. They’re super practical for the money, especially for in-between weather.
Reminder: don’t read this blog in a work meeting (on zoom or on person) – my snickering and snorting was disconcerting to those around me. The ritual sacrifice of a T-shirt sealed the deal and I just started laughing so hard I shared the blog, everyone starting giggling because this is so relatable and we decided it was the best “safety”moment ever.
Judy Schultheis says
I have a somewhat similar situation, but everything does fit. I should probably donate what’s in my closet, since I have no idea when the last time I wore some of it was.
Otherwise, if I time my laundry to when I’m getting close to running out of underwear, I can do it once a month.
Yes! Unfortunately I never have enough shorts, but I can manage 2 weeks anyway. Will have to work on the shorts shortage lol
This scares me – mostly because it sounds like having to do a lot of laundry! I’m pretty good at doing laundry once a week, though every few weeks I need to do extra bedding, towels the cats have been using, etc. (But it’s not about not being able to get away with doing laundry less often… just, I’ve done it, and it’s not the best plan for me!)
Heehee been there done that. Congrats on cleaning out the closet. For me it’s dressy shoes or sandals I bought 30 years ago that I love but will never wear again ever. I had a lab job and rarely went out, what was I thinking? All the boots went too. Can’t stand to put them on in the TX heat, so why keep them for the 2 weeks a year I might wear them. And all the interview/convention suits are gone!! Yea!!
Now I want a Ferrero Roche impersonator shirt, it’s my favourite chocolate ????
I used the Konmari method on my clothes and it was the best thing I ever did. If it didn’t spark joy (or was actually necessary), I donated/dumped it. It’s so nice to wear clothes that I actually like and am comfortable in!
I find it so hard to let go of too small clothes. I lie to myself ‘you’ll lose weight, they will fit again one day’ …I whisper this to myself around the piece of chocolate in my mouth…
???? But sometimes it happens… Shrinking size … It’s not an urban legend ????
Deborah Parker says
They breed. Personally, I own six white shirts in various configurations. I can’t remember the last time I wore one of these white shirts, but I have them. Ditto for jeans and black slacks. Literally my friends are to the point where they’re refusing to allow me to buy more black slacks or jeans since it is apparent that I never wear the ones I currently possess… And all of this AFTER I have cleaned out the closet twice in the last 18 months. One of my friends shops in my closet before she goes out and buys anything new.It’s an addiction, only slightly smaller than my shoe addiction. But, it’s a relatively innocent addiction and periodically throughout the year there are several women’s focused charities they get some really nice clothing.
lol, I clean out my closet and drawers at the onset of fall and summer(I’m in Georgia, and we only have two seasons, sometimes only one) I don’t know why I have more winter than summer clothes, and I always buy more winter clothes. Weird.
Mine is the only clean and organized closet in the house. I live with 2 cheerfully open hoarders, and 1 secret hoarder. I need a flame thrower.
Did the same. Lost a lot of weight and I was just swimming in my clothes. Did you know when you lose weight your shoes can become too big? Socks get bigger too. I now have no shorts, new jeans and new tops and a lot of empty hangers.
Like most women I have probably 25 to 30 pairs of jeans in various sizes, inseams, rises, etc. Never could throw any of them out “just in case” I needed, oh, ripped and paint-smeared mom jeans or I woke one morning and was suddenly 25 pounds lighter and needed low rise skinny jeans.
So I winnowed it down to what I wear and what I aspire to wear. I call the latter collection the “land of size 8”. Realistically I probably won’t ever live there again but now I can at least visit. And dream.
Linda Trainor says
me too I have to do a sort. 33 years and my wedding gress is in my closet along with dress one I don’t wear and two don’t fit. but I do a seasonal switch summer to winter. tee shirts out Merino in.
David Suitor says
I feel your pain! I’m under the same regimen. If I get a t-shirt, I have to give one up.
On a different note. I think I’ve read Magic Tides at least 5 or 6 times now. New characters are kinda neat. It will be interesting to see how they fit into future tales.
Is that why Kate has so many sweatpants? Because you do?
Terrie C says
I am in the process of doing my closet and I run across something hideous and ask WHY. Why did I buy this? Why do I still have this? Why did I think this was cute?
I was also doing the 20 year thing, but think I need to reduce it to at the most 5 years.LOL. If I haven’t touched it in 5 years, get rid of it. I am finding it exceedingly difficult.
I did my shoes last summer. It was so rewarding to have more organized floor space in my closet. I have been better at really buying clothing and shoes as needed. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t o whole lot clothes for me to still get rid of ????.
College wardrobe that would never fit again. Maybe, maybe, maybe. When I finally cleared that out, I was emotionally thirty pounds lighter.
Used to wear things until they literally fell apart. Now, the bar for clear out is much lower. Still decent – like less than a year’s wear but not what I currently want – donate. Needs to go, but not something to donate – goes to the textile recycle bins that are sponsored by our county’s solid waste recycling program. (We’re lucky to have it, many places don’t.)
Old shorts and t-shirts are okay as beach wear, because I will never endure the misery of trying on swimsuits ever again. There are privileges that come with being a certain age….
Terrie S says
I feel like I know the answer to the leggings question: I bet it’s Lularoe.
They had some of the craziest patterns. I had a pair of their leggings that looked like court jester pants that I won in a contest held by one of their consultants. I never wore them, but I held on to them for years for some odd reason.
I’d been saving a pair of designer jeans that cost me a paycheque back when I was starting out. I bought them before I had my daughter. I’m not sure what I was thinking keeping them. There is no way I would ever wear them again and they were so low rise. That ship has sailed. I finally put them in the ‘to donate’ pile and my 17 year old daughter comes and takes them saying, ‘wow, those are great vintage jeans!’ Sigh.
I have clothes that I keep around in the belief that I will lose the weight and one day they will fit again. The good news: some of them do fit again! The bad news: this leads me to believe that everything else will also fit again!
Add that to my hobby, which is cosplay/costume design, and a teenager that is smaller than me and is also into cosplay and….Well not a lot gets thrown out from my closet. Last year my kid spotted a shirt in my closet and asked if he could have it. I said sure…then realized it was from when I was his age. That would be over 30 years ago.
I have a whole section in my closet that I don’t like, would NEVER wear, and don’t remembering purchasing. I refer to these clothes as part of my “Dressed in the Dark” collection.
Lol, I am glad I was not sipping my soda….. my “dressed in the dark collection” also thrives
In 2021, I moved and got rid of 50% of my clothes. Then in 2022 moved again and got rid of 50% of my clothes again. My goal now is to keep all clothes (underclothes included) to two large suitcases in total. And accessories (bags, shoes, hats, etc.) to one suitcase. Mostly, I’ve been having clothes altered to fit better so I’m not buying new ones
Shannon B. says
I usually do this 2 times a year when switching out clothes for the season, the joys of a small closet. What’s funny is just yesterday I was folding laundry and folded 2 fleece sweatshirts that are literally from 1999 that we got on vacation in Seattle- they are older than my kids! They are still in good shape.
Maria Dee Austin says
May I suggest a quilt out of t-shirts you do not wear but are special to you? My closet sends my ADHD into overdrive.
You are not alone! This is my closet too. I’m afraid to go through it. I have so many “appropriate for work” clothes that I don’t like simply because they are … appropriate. Now I work from home. And the PURGE will begin! … when I’m brave enough.
My shared closet with husband has all these couples Halloween costumes in it… that year we were Vikings. The one when I was a colorful mermaid and he was Poseidon .. pirates.. then during Covid Halloween I went with undead mermaid and he as my drowned skeleton pirate. Lol. You’d think we are some sort of kinky. But we are not. It’s all from a shortage of space and inability to “let it go” ???? we live near Salem, MA… it’s a big holiday here..
I started this not so very long ago..300pairs of shoes whittled down to 24- including hiking boots, bike riding sneakers, work sneakers, flip flops and wedding/ funeral shoes- that fit nicely in 2 shoes cabinets. I kept the 6 leather jackets but got rid of 7 suede. Only have 2 hoodies left Steelers and Syracuse (need something bright to wear hiking in the fall for safety) Bras, underwear and socks now in 3 drawers of a lingerie chest.
Hopefully will tackle leggings, jeans and sweatpants next. Gotta ease myself into it all…
I just did this same thing (only hanging stuff though, the dresser is another day’s problem). I took everything out and threw it on the bed (this is the only way to ensure I don’t give up halfway through). I sorted into “fits, no stains” and “stained/doesn’t fit” and I ended up with a 4-foot pile of clothing to donate (stuffed two XL canvas grocery bags when I was done). When I put the remainder back, I had 30 empty hangers and a closet that looks just as full as before. I have no idea how I fit it all in there the first time.
Sandhya Rao says
This is me and my closet, though I haven’t dared clean it yet
Rebecca Fambro says
The priest can I burrow some. I desperately need to clear out the closet as well.
Patricia Schlorke says
Maybe you were going to have a secret signing session in your closet during the pandemic. ????????????
I hold onto my winter gear for the times like now where the temperature gets below freezing. I store the majority of it in Peria storage boxes. I do that for my shearling lined slippers.
I’ve been getting rid of old t-shirts lately too. It’s amazing how many grey heathered t-shirts one can have in a dresser. ????????♀️
Stay safe and warm everyone in this crazy winter storm path!
Kayeri (aka Darth Mom) says
I still have the dress that I wore when I first met my husband face-to-face (we were an America Online romance). We will hit our 25th wedding anniversary in October. The vast majority of that time, the dress was too small for me. Fortunately, I have lost weight and I can actually wear it again and it’s a good summer dress, so I have held on to it for the coming warm season.
Kelly M says
OMG I’m laughing so hard at this ????
Lynn Thompson says
Bwah ha ha. Thank you Ilona Andrews.
Personally I have 3 pair of leggings because I can wear then under long dresses to church where I freeze so I stay warm and well. Otherwise I never wear either.
Every time I go to deal with (senile dementia) Mother at my sister’s house, I work on cleaning out her dresser drawers because she can’t find her clothes. She takes clothes from other members of family and puts in her dresser. Everything she can not physically wear and doesn’t fit others living in that house members, I drop off at goodwill on my way home. For some reason she likes boys briefs and the boys are men and all away in college now. ????♀️
Assuming the mysterious items were not gifts from well-meaning people and assuming that you have had no traumatic brain injury that drastically changed your tastes, than I see only one possible explanation: closet elves.
They are like the Brownies who sneak about and do housework for the human family they like, only these guys try to supplement what they see as a lack in your wardrobe.
Not to be racist, but it is known that closet elves suffer from very poor taste.
Have you seen any tiny, human-shaped footprints in your pantry supplies, particularly the flour? That’s sure sign.
Exactly this! I just cleaned out my own drawers and closet with almost the exact same results and thoughts. Except Terra cotta things. I didn’thave those. Instead, I had a very ugly excessively fuzzy purple sweater that was huge on me and elicited rude snickering the one time I wore it 8 years ago? Why did I still have it? But now, for at least a short time, everything in my shirts drawer is neatly folded. And we tossed all the unmatched socks in the FAMILY sock basket. So organized, I am.
I moved at the beginning of the year and as I packed to set up my closet and dresser I purged many bags of clothing. I tried my very best to give as much as I could in good shape away. But yea, I have some questions about me of the past’s choices. Plus my cousin lost a lot of weight and passed over many bags of clothing. I want to understand the cold shoulder clothing phenomenon, because I just don’t get it. And the LuLaRoe. Some of the dresses and leggings I kept (but cannot currently find) but some had to go and man was I obsessed. Drunk kaleidoscope seems an apt descriptor for some. Good luck!
I feel you about the Tee Fury shirts. I wish they fit better.
Yeah, cleaning out closets is always such an adventure in discovering things you have no memory of buying or you wonder what you could possibly have been thinking. I moved from a three-story townhouse filled with stuff to a large room and some space in the basement. I had lots of those discoveries. Why do we fill the space we have?
Crying with laughter ????
I cry laughed the whole way through this post. I read it to my children because they wanted to know why I was laughing so hard. One of them was bouncing and laughing while I read. While I was reading, he slipped and face planted so I couldn’t see him past the foot of the bed. I stopped mid-sentence to ask if he was okay. He popped up again cackling wildly (he’s 8) and went right back to bouncing. Thank you for that moment of shared joy.
???? Great post! Thanks for the visual of the ziggurat of t-shirt sacrifice!
I went through this process moving into a smaller house and was so proud of how much went out in bags. Yet in just 2 years, my closet has lost all semblance of the organization and minimizing I achieved when I moved in. Closets are clearly breeding grounds for t-shirts and leggings! ????
My mom was a hoarder. After she died, I used part of the inheritance to get closet organization systems installed in my bedroom and front hall closets. It wasn’t cheap, but that’s one of my most satisfactory purchases ever. It’s made my life easier every day of the past seven years.
Clothing tends to multiply due to Really Great Sale Prices. I now remind myself that getting the second one 50% off still costs half again as much as one item. It does work sometimes.
My Achilles heel is free shipping. if I get anywhere near the free shipping level, I can’t keep myself from looking for that one more item, which of course is always more than the 5.99 I would spend for shipping.
Jen H says
I recently did a closet clean out and I can definitely relate!
Hopefully you can now find the stuff you want to wear.
Kudos for your closet efforts and especially for the narrative! I have a closet or two, plus a dresser that contain more history than useable wardrobe (remember slips and camisoles?). I even have my mom’s chef hat, a pair of my grandmother’s gloves, and some I-hope-this-will-fit-again items. I have successfully purged work suits, but I wish I took photos first (especially of the electric-blue plaid suit, that had coordinating pairs of shoes… red & blue). Congratulations on regaining your space!
I have two pair of sweatpants in my closet. They’re pretending to be cargo pants because they have pockets half-way down the thighs. The thing is, I never bought them. Also, everyone in my family swears that they never bought them for me.
Can pants appear by some sort of spontaneous hybridization that happens in dark closets? No matter how much I want to know, I know I’ll never find out.
BTW, they fit great and I’ve worn them almost every day since I found them last year. Never wore sweat pants in my life before, but I love these. Go figure.
Yeah. I have a closet just like you. I’m thinking about going through it. Thanks a lot.
Chris Carroll says
Thank you for the chuckles. I can assure you that we have all been in the same mood doing that kind of chore. You just had more fun writing about it! I especially enjoyed the Ferraro Roche part. Oh my!
This was hilarious, thanks for sharing.
I can relate to your closet decluttering!
I actually lost weight during the last couple of years, which still astonishes me. I have finally started letting go of the clothes that no longer fit, since my weight has been stable for months now.
I recently had to buy new bras, a task I dreaded, but now the girls have the support they need. Going forward I am never buying another sleeveless top or dress, because I am self-conscious about my arms so I never wear them. And, unlike you, I live in leggings half the year, ha ha.
I have waaaay more towels than I need, so donated a bunch of those, as well. It feels so good to let all that go!
Are you sure about the sweats not being an allowed stress coping mechanism? My sweater and puffy coat collections beg to differ on how effective they are as therapy and stress coping mechanisms. I keep an angora hoodie as a textile pet which never ever gets to venture outside the ziplock bag it is stored in, in fear it will shed all over the room. I know parts of it will try to suffocate me in the middle of the night if I ever let it out and if that’s the case, I might as well get an actual cat (but am allergic)
Sara T says
I haven’t cleared out my closet in 10 years.
I loved the comment about Ferrero Roche!! ROFL.
I moved a year ago and went through two rounds of that whole “clean out the closet” thing, so I can relate. I found a giant boxy black shirt with a pearl border around the neck. It looks horrible on me. What was I thinking?! So, in other words, you have my sympathy !
Got into old trunk looking for a yearbook for work team building activity…didn’t find book but did find most of high school wardrobe. Pretty some of it has been back in style at least twice since seen last lol
Oh my gosh, that was hilarious… ????
Doing all that organizing in 5h is impressive. Hope you have also discovered some textile treasure (beside the obvious treasure that Small Magics is).
It was an inspiring post, and I laughed a lot at all the theories in the comments regarding the terracotta striped Shirts.
Luckily closets aren’t a thing in Germany. But to make up for that we have ubiquitous closet-equivalent sized wardrobes from a certain swedish retailer where lots of clothes fit……
For the next round of sorting I will make a pilgrimage to the ziggurat as well. I need to sacrifice at a different altar though, as my personal pile is not shirts but sports related clothes since every activity seems to demand its own outfit?!
Donna A says
I should try the t-shirt sacrificing. I’m a sucker for a graphic t-shirt but I have a weird thing where I believe some of them are choking me if the fit feels off so won’t wear them but don’t throw them out either. I have ALOT of t-shirts making my drawers difficult to open so I end up with a repeating pile on the side instead, which means my t-shirts are wasted and unseen unless I want to unearth them. Sacrifice sounds reasonable.
I see a story for one of your books here. Maybe Kate in a few years… Though I would think her clothes don’t last long with all the blood. Seriously though, make a quilt with all the cool printed T-shirts that you won’t wear anyway but still think they are cute. 🙂 Thanks for being real.
Debi Majo says
Ohhh… my closet. I don’t even want to go in there. Yours sounds just like mine looks.
been there, done that ????
wait-still have to ????
Mary Barton says
When I work on my closet, my litmus test is If this were the only clean thing I had available, would I wear it or would I pull something out of the dirty clothes?
it works pretty well to guide things into donation.
R Coots says
The bras question! Yes! (Why do I not just toss the old ones when I buy new? Why,m)
and t-shirts! I have a number of t-shirts I….outgrew, but I still love the images on them. i have a bunch set aside that I really need to wash, iron some fusible interfacing to, cut up, and turn into bags.
then, instead of a surplus of old shirts, I can have all the project bags *ever*
I have always believed that there is a small rift in the time/space continuum in the back of my closet, such that when other women clean out their closets, the discarded items end up at the back of my closet. And when I clean those items out they end up at the back of someone else’s closet. There is not other explanation for why there is never any space in my closet no matter how often I clean it out. And tee shirts just spontaneously multiply.
Having just unpacked my storage from being overseas for (7) years. What was I thinking paying to store clothes from high school? I haven’t worn them in the last 30 years ????♀️. The pile is almost as tall as I am, is going to donation somewhere.
How many suits do I need, I wear jeans every day.
There are two types of clothes in your closet: Those that are calling you and those that are calling you names.
I try to limit how many of the latter I keep. 🙂
I love this and I’m going to steal it!
Hahahahaha! Thanks for making me smile this am.
I promise you that some of the “how did this get here” were gifts from people who say they love you lol.
It’s too bad that LOL is so overused because that is what I did while reading this post. SO funny, so true.
I have been doing something similar in my kitchen, going through every drawer and cabinet. Haven’t done this in 10 years. why did I have 20 teacup saucers when all their matching cups are gone?Then there was the just pitch it in there cabinet. I was brave and got rid of the used once spiralizer in there but snuck a never used bowl and chargers out to my she shed, where they are taunting me from a shelf. The cat drawers, which had multiplied from one drawer to 2 drawers, a giant basket and counter space. The 10 little bottles because of course I am going to recycle after the mfr went to all that trouble to make it recyclable. I’m down to the countertop and baskets now, wish me luck!
Tea cup saucers for plants, maybe? Or small pillar candles, so they don’t scorch a table?
Don’t do the “sunk cost” fallacy. If you don’t like leggings, don’t wear leggings.
As for where some of the strange items came from, obviously, they slipped in from an alternate universe. This is also where your items that you know you have and can’t find have gone — into some alternate universe. Occasionally, they slip back.
That is my explanation for my relationship with inanimate objects, and I am sticking to it.
William B says
It could be the Mandela Effect.
Moderator R says
I’m not sure collective false memory applies here ☺️
I laughed so hard reading this my grown up sons probably wondered if I suffered from sudden bout of madness/giddiness ( which in my country – Germany, is only allowed during carnival as you might know).
Cleaning your closet makes you really wonder about yourself but isn’t it nice to be surprised about yourself when older than 35?
Meagan Watts says
good job! yay, you!
those are unanswerable questions, so…
let them go!
heh, see what i did there?
My aunt has a huge walk-in closet with two rows of rods and shelving units on three walls. I once spent two days helping her sort through everything after one of the rods collapsed under the weight of the clothes. There were three bags we filled with clothes she hadn’t worn for 20 years, and another three bags of clothes where she wondered why she had bought them in the first place, plus two bags of don’t fit. And then, after I repaired the rod and put all the clothes she wanted to keep back, she wanted to buy more clothes “to fill the space.”
It sounds like my closet. I found things older than my children. Did I think I would get that body back j or work that kind of job again? My children are all in their 30′ s !
I would pay to read your blog … always the best entertainment I can find anywhere.
It also sounds like my house, if I could write, which makes it all the more valuable.
Gotta go – need to start construction on the stairs before I sort my tees.
Mary Kate says
Ilona, Thank you, thank you, thank you! Besides making me smile and laugh, you reminded me very gently that I must do the same with my closet, my dresser, and the scattered piles of clothing in my “back room.” It’s time for a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting regarding the unexamined state of my clothing! Thank you!
Ms. Kim says
This was hilarious. I enjoyed it so much.
Thanks for the laugh. I actually snorted iced tea up my nose when I got to the Ferrero Rocher comment.
I really empathize with you on inexplicably holding onto clothes I will never wear again. Guess it’s time for me to clean the closets again!
I don’t read the blogs of all my favorite authors but I read yours religiously because 9 times out of 10 you make me laugh. You could sell a collection of your columns in a Erma Bombek or Dave Barry style book. You are that funny. Thank you for the laugh I needed it today
My hall closet is like that. I don’t even know where most of that stuff came from. How does it even happen? Presumably if guests were cold when they arrived, they’d be cold when they left and take their clothes.
My kid’s favorite green hoodie is one she stole out of the hall closet. But fair enough, it wasn’t mine or anyone else’s I know. Reverse burglars sneaking in to leave coats? Closet goblins? It’s very strange.
???? Excellent questions, mentally read in an increasingly exasperated tone. Thank you for the laugh!
Jo Ann says
Look to the right … the person sharing your nightmare is me!
thank you for you. always get such a laugh out of your slices of life. I moved at least once a year for 10 years and went through my closet each time. This has resulted in an almost manic dislike of getting new items as they will have to be moved haha.
I do remember having similar feelings about general house things a large nunber of the times I moved. Recently, we moved from MN to FL and then from FL to CA. Now in CA, I finally went through my box marked “fragiles”. I am truly not sure why I thought the reading angel figurine needed to move across multiple states with me….and many other oddities too :p
Oh, dear, I am very much in the same situation. I lost about 90 lbs. in the last 2 years and had to replace most of my clothes, and now my closet is groaning at the seams because I haven’t gotten rid of the old, big clothes. Just going through a small fraction of them reveals many items with tags still attached, and I feel like I have to try consignment for these. I have read many articles about how most donated clothing often goes to waste, and the fact is, I am not going to launder and iron the clothes I am getting rid of, sorry. So if they won’t use the clothes unless laundered, I guess I need to dispose of them. We do have a local outfit that tries to recycle textiles. I may try them. But I also have the piles and stacks and the groaning closet!
Marilyn H says
Oh no, not you too! I about laughed myself silly because I finally tackled my closet right before winter and had some of the same questions. Why do I have wool sweaters? I live in southeast Louisiana where I MAY need wool 1 day per year. Like you, I run the AC in winter (it’s running now) & am currently in yoga pants and a short sleeved shirt. I had clothes that I bought when my 27 year old son was a small child; I have clothes that I don’t know why I have because I look like the walking dead in them. To top that off, I have clothes I haven’t been able to wear since we flooded 7 years ago & I lost 30 lbs because of the stress (I was a walking skeleton). Do I think I’ll ever be that skinny again????? Nope. And on, and on, and on………
Karen R says
The last time I moved, I just packed it all up and figured I’d sort it out in the new place. Oh God. Once I started going through everything, it was the FO half of FAFO. I had one shirt that dated back to when I was in college. In 1981.
I’m there with on the T-shirts. They are my favorite souvenir, but I have too many! We are in a one-in-one-out situation haha I am putting some them aside for a T-shirt blanket, but they are out of the rotation to wear and in the garage at least!
It sounds like my attic. I go up there and the thing is full and I start going through stuff and wonder why I wanted to keep it in the first place. Things that are so old I don’t even remember buying them. Why did I want to keep these old dishes, it isn’t even a full set? Things like that. What was I thinking? I started cleaning it out and that took days. I now have a rule about the stuff that is left. If I want to put something up there (I have little storage) I have to take two things out. I have a similar rule about my closet except it is one thing that has to go. Now I just have to remember that rule.
Still laughing. And I have a date to clean out my closet soon. Very soon.
As for T-shirts, have you tried Cafe Press? You can pretty much get any saying and artwork you want on a t-shirt there. It’s a fun and a happy place to buy T-shirts. I should know. I have a closet full of them and occasionally order more. Many more.
I’m a peace, love and book reader type of girl, so my t-shirts have sayings and artwork related to those subjects. And they have lots of different colors. Give it a try. And you might think of your merchandise store for their services, as well. Just a thought.
And have fun in your new and improved closet, with no stripes and weird colors that you hate.
my closet is due, too
Purged my closet 3 years ago. Similarities. It must have been happening between Sommersale, holiday bliss and weight gain despair.
Yup I have that rule now
If I-buy I give up…
If you are like most women you have several sizes of bras because when one didnt fit you thought I will keep it till it fits some time in future …its a thing lol
Over all really funny stuff thanks
Ouanza Ahanotu says
That. Was. Hilarious. Exactly what I needed this morning. So relatable.
Badmama Battillo says
I just had a donation revelation! I decided to tackle a cleaning of my spare bedroom/office/library/survival closet. On my first trip to Goodwill downtown I had boxed up approximately 200 paperback novels by many popular authors in PRISTINE condition. In the course of conversation with the gentleman who assisted hubby and I to struggle with the boxes, I learned that they have a bookstore for donated books and books like the ones I donated usually get about $1.99 each! Holy Cow! I always used to see them selling used for 50 cents! I only purchase books on my phone anymore. I must confess I no longer buy paperbacks because they are too difficult to carry on a trip! This however is an eye opener! Is there any way that authors could get some kind of renumeration from these secondary sales?
Nancylee Jorgenson says
This is inspirational to me but since I live in a 4 season climate I have to have all the stuff. But do I ???? I have decided to give up buying new stuff. People give me stuff that they like but I don’t. Is it ok to give that to charity?
Yes, absolutely. If it’s someone I know well, I might wear it the next time I see them, but after that it’s gone. Try not to donate to a thrift shop the giver frequents though.
Haha! This was great. Thank you for the laugh!
Also, you are braver than I, Gunga Din! I don’t even dare tackle my closet for fear of what madness I will find there.
Laura Martinez says
I think we’ve all been there. Why do we even have that lever????
Karen the Griffmom says
Re: Terracotta – Because I have/had dark brown eyes and hair, my mother decided browns, tans, and other earth tones should be my preferred clothing colors. Those colors make me look like a potato or carrot. We won’t even talk about yellow(shudder). Took me years to realize that I need cool jewel tones (I’m a Winter).
When your Dad (Autumn) helps you(Summer) pick out clothes. He could never understand why they didn’t look as good on me as he thought they should.
Hilarious! Having just had our kitchen re-done (thus needing to clear kitchen stuff out prior to remodel work), I kept saying, “Where did all this stuff come from?” “Who needs this many frying pans?” “Who keeps sneaking into my house with stuff?” Five half-days later – ahhhhh – sigh — so many things of “stuff” removed. Henceforth, I will follow your T-shirt sacrifice ritual to the “T.”
This post made my day. I laughed out loud through the whole thing. Of course, I cleared my closet about eight months ago and experience many of the same thoughts.
Ha, ha, ha! That is me laughing WITH you, not AT you. Because I have been there! I have moved 8 times in my adult post-college life. EVERY time, closet/clothing ends up being transferred almost intact, because it’s the last thing packed, because I’m so sick and tired of the whole process by that time, it just goes in the box!
And yes, I have found 12-year-old clothing that made me question not only my sanity for buying them, but also the collective sanity of society/fashion for them being IN fashion at the time!
I applaud your strength of character at finally taming the closet monster. I kinda sorta am still working on my closet from my last move (8 years ago). My goal in life is to actually finish cleaning out my closet before I have to move to a nursing home …
Fabulous and oh so true
Moved from the mountains of NH to the “famously hot” Midlands of SC. Which I love by the way. I gave away tons of winter clothes, but still brought an entire closet full of turtlenecks, and 3 drawers of wool sweaters too nice to throw away. And because I really, really don’t believe in climate, up ,down or sideways I also brought 1 light parka, one sort of heavy parka and a full length down coat. I have worn both parkas, but only a couple of times. I also brought a cardboard box of clothes I loved when I was 30 lbs lighter. Five months ago after a brief glance in the bathroom mirror I threw those size 10 clothes away. Yeah, got sick and lost those thirty pounds. I feel fine now, but look like I’m wearing a tent most of the time. A new wardrobe is not in the budget and sewing results in serious blood loss. I’m torn. Do I save for new clothes or spend on fine chocolate and gain the weight back?? Dilemma.
“Do I save for new clothes or spend on fine chocolate and gain the weight back?? Dilemma.”
bwahahahahaha! I am laughing so hard at this!
Sara Foehner says
you had me laughing from start to finish. in understanding & sympathy. we must be separated-at-birth twins. judging by our identical closets. except mine only gets cleaned when i move. been here 20 years. well maybe its time…dk
Hahaha. I got a good laugh since I’m cleaning out my own closet! At a certain point, one does have to let some things go. I don’t know why I have so many pairs of nylons since I rarely ever wear them.
Devoted Fan says
I feel like terra-cotta clothing is a hazard of living in Texas. Because it is so similar to the ubiquitous burnt orange.
Also- thank you for the out loud laugh at your reference to Austin traffic.
I don’t usually comment but I so appreciate your writing- books and blog!
phahahahha. I needed that. I wish I was as strong as you. I just move them from the closet to a suitcase that then gets put away in another closet only to be dug out in another 5 years.
Suggestion to donate the bras (if they haven’t been removed from the house yet) to Support the Girls …
Oh wow, lmao. I really want to see a photo of a “sack-shaped, shimmering gold metallic shirt that is two sizes too big and has a collar encrusted with shiny rhinestones.” That sounds EPIC.
These seem like good resolutions.
What you have resolved to do with t-shirts I feel I ought to do the same with physcial copies of books. Thank goodness for kindle…
But I’ve discovered I can only read so much on my Kindle before my dry eyes start hurting. So, I still buy books. And then there are the pristine copies of favorite books, next to “I’m allowed to bend while reading” copies of the same book. lol. oh well
Eirn Valentine says
I work with someone who has that same policy of one goes in, one goes out. Her house is always clean. It depresses me.
And…have you considered making a quilt from you Tee Fury purchases?
You continue to inspire me! My closets are bursting. Haven’t been to the office in 7 years, but just can’t seem to let most of that stuff go. It all still fits! It actually looks okay (though not particularly fashionable). But nowadays any 2 season-appropriate office-type outfits would do me because anything that isn’t right for tai chi, shopping, yard work, or lolling around the house goes unworn. Time to be ruthless and give the office clothes away.
As my coworker told me “1st world problems!” LOL! We moved about a year ago to our downsized retirement home, so I went through some of these same conversations. My weakness is coats. I love them! I am originally from CO, so coats were a very used thing. When I moved to Houston, I had 30 coats. Not jackets – heavy winter coats. I got rid of most of them. Since then, I’ve become a coat-hoarder again! I still go home or to my husband’s home (IL) once a year, so I justify them for each trip! (As long as I’m not going in the summer.) I can’t get past it. I see a cute coat and I have to have it! I’ve done the same thing though… If I get a new one an old one has to go. It’s like losing a limb!
Johanna J says
Loved this! But NOW I feel like I need to go attack my clothes closet…. Well, er, maybe tomorrow. ????
Here is a quick trick for things on hangers. The next time you are in your bedroom, take a minute to turn all of your hangers so that the open part of the hook is to the front. and put all of the things you normally wear closest to where you open the closet door and reach in. then stack everything behind that. Special occasion things go to the far end and out of season things go in front of that.
If you wear it, the next time it goes into the closet the hanger is positioned the normal way, with the open part facing the back wall, and it goes nearest your closet opening ( where ever you reach for clothes first). keep placing clothes toward the front that have been used and had their hangers turned.
Give it a few weeks and you will see all of the clothes you haven’t worn at all.
(Your out of season clothes, having been separated out at the beginning, will be easy to be brought to the front en mass when you do the spring/fall transfer.)
I live in Florida, so the main difference is the colors in my shirts and jeans, capris and shorts,and a few long sleeved shirts. But even so, by the end of summer, I’m so tired of my pastels and capris and shorts that I tuck them to the back, out of sight for a couple of months.
When you do the season swap, take a minute to see what you don’t like, or is too worn-out or ill-fitting, and remove it from the closet forever.
Arrange your shoes likewise. If you ever find, before you leave the house that they are too uncomfortable to wear, don’t ever let them back into your closet again!
Think of your closet as your treasure chest. Your things need to prove their worth in order to be worthy of taking up space there.
i’ve done this with the hangers! its quite helpful having a visual showing at the end of the season or year of exactly what you wore and what you didn’t.
Joann K says
*knocked off chair by giggles*
*exhales* I’m not alone
Let me mention 2 words – – cashmere sweatpants. Yep, they exist.
A friend of mine’s daughter works in a really high-end store and was given a pair as a reward for good sales. Friend got a pair and was living in them during Covid lockdown (and she lives in Dallas). For Christmas 2021, I got pairs for all the men and women in my family and I found them on sale.
(FYI- There is a soap you can use that doesn’t required you to rinse them out.)
Sooooo comfy! CASHMERE SWEATPANTS!
I’m also about to do another closet purge. Want me to send you some like new tshirts that I barely wore because I have too many? Then you don’t have to spend money on them and can continue collecting them. ???? Like, I don’t look great in rhubarb/burgundy… why do I have 4 items in that color? These are definitely questions we need to ask ourselves every once in a while.
LOL, I totally understand The Closet issues. Same here.
But, fwiw, if your bras are in good shape and clean they can be donated to “I Support the Girls” which provides feminine supplies and bras to women and girls in need.
Lori McCulloch says
When I moved from California to Oregon about 8 months ago I did the same thing. I got rid of the very very large contractor black garbage bags full of clothes and still when I got here to Oregon And I started going through All the stuff I packed to bring with me I was astounded at how much I still had left. I found stuff that I don’t even remember having or Ever wearing. So now I have to do some more weeding of clothes and shoes Because I have shoes that are still in their boxes that have never been worn And why do I need them I have no idea. So I agree with you I don’t need any more clothes, Bras or underwear
Sharon Cheshire says
Thank goodness I’m not the only one who looks at their wardrobe content with shock, dismay and confusion. I have clothes that span three sizes…. Just in case, and that includes bras, but it seems wrong to get rid of them. I even found some with labels still attached that I’m ashamed to admit ????
Mariko Taylor says
I didn’t read through all the comments. I used to buy from terfury but their men’s shirts are very rough. I prefer ript, shirt woot, and the yetee. Don’t give up cute fandom shirts. Just buy better ones! Lol (says the person that for sure has way way too many)
Gaëlle from France says
Ahaha !! When reading about closet tidying became the best part of my day !!
Congrats! You did an amazing job! Be PROUD:)
That sentence (and the accompanying image in my head) absolutely killed me „ Did I just have a sudden, irresistible urge to impersonate a giant Ferrero Roche chocolate?“
yes!! I think they multiply at night…
I laughed so hard… because I can relate. And my closet-cleaning wasn’t half so thorough.
My husband and I have had the buy one get rid of one rule for several years now. I still have an excess of t-shirts.
You didn’t mention a pile of clothes you really like and are very practical, yet no longer fit. I have some that I keep in the everlasting hope they will fit next summer ????
“How many bras does one woman need? Let me rephrase that, how many bras that don’t fit does one woman need?” — I feel seen!
One of the ways I have dealt with unhappy events is by keeping hold of things. I have trouble letting go of stuff on good days, but bad life events makes this exponentially worse. After a bad family break up, (not so) temporary move, storage, and final move into a much smaller place, punctuated by wildfires, pandemic, and loss of family members, I am just fortifying myself to deal with my current piles and boxes. This post and the comments are a very timely encouragement to let the stuff go!
for years i had a pile of white shirts with stains that had to be removed. which never happened. i had to stop buying white because they attracted either grease or tomatoes stains. Also i look terrible in yellow, but it’s such a pretty color, whenever i go clothes shopping my mantra is “stay away from the yellow”. i feel your pain. i had much luck with “thank you for your service, good bye” i picked up from marie kondo. whew that and my sock drawer looks great!!
I turn all of my hangers backwards in the closet. If at the end of 6 months that hanger is still backwards I get rid of it. If I didn’t wear it in 6 months, I probably never will.
Patricia Raymond says
I’ve recently gotten into Project 333 (check the book by Courtney Carver out from your library). You attack your closet every season/3 months, and designate 33 items of clothing that you LOOOVE and will wear. Surprising me, 33 items of clothing is more than enough. It encourages me to let the stuff I don’t love and the stuff that doesn’t make the cut goes to my local Buy Nothing group. And if I ever need to leave quickly due to an unexpected world cruise or a zombie apocalypse , I just grab the 33 hangers and run for it!
Mamie O’Shea says
I did a quick check of my wardrobe last month and I had 75 pairs of black office work trousers. In two sizes. How??? Why???
I have a friend that forbade me to buy Tshirts. It’s the only thing my eyes see when I go shopping and at some point I didn’t have anything nice to wear like tops, etc …. She accompanied me to shopping and helped me to find something different. It was a hard job for both of us, but it was worth it.
LOL! Loved this, and I needed this spark of humor today. Thank you! (also thank you for the inspiration to go through my closets!)
Lol that was hilarious and sadly exactly how my closet cleaning looks like. Things disappear, some show up and I always ask myself what was I thinking.
Thanks for the laugh
Ha,ha,ha, you didn’t know that when you turn off the closet light and shut the door, the clothes start breeding in the dark and that is where the heinous, ugly and repugnant clothes come from.
Don’t drink and shop, girl. I tell you. You make bad choices at 2 am, two thirds of the way through a bottle of chardonnay, scrolling through the Soft Surroundings 70% off sale. I just got an order in and I pulled out the most god awful hideous topper. I paid forty dollars for the pleasure of owning the ugliest single piece of clothing I have ever laid eyes on. And then I pulled out the next one. I went blind for a second. Sheesh. I’d be embarrassed to give them away. I guess I could take them to Goodwill. Some little old blind lady who lives alone might be able to use them.
And why do I still have maternity dresses when my youngest child is in college?
I’ve found the easiest way to clean my closet is to let my son’s girlfriend rummage in it. Vintage!
Maria M. OToole says
Now we know the source of Curran’s habit of considering ancient t-shirts that are falling apart “still wearable”.
any possibility some of the surprise clothing belongs to the kids and got mixed in with yours?
“How many bras does one woman need? Let me rephrase that, how many bras that don’t fit does one woman need?”
well if they made bras that fit better, we wouldn’t end up with so many poorly fitting bras!
i quit buying leggings years ago because they have no pockets. that i’m an adult and “just because i spent money on it doesn’t mean i have to cling to a mistake.” i decided all my pants are now required to have pockets. if they have no pockets, i’m not wasting my money on them. and i can actually say with confidence that i own NO pants without pockets. now if only all my dresses had pockets too…
i also have a tshirt addiction. i am especially fond of snarky smart-ass tshirts. i have been collecting my old tshirts since high school and have signed up for a memory tshirt quilt class in march so they will FINALLY get sewn together.
+1 to “no pants without pockets,” except that I do keep leggings to wear under other, semi-dressy things when it gets cold, or even under outdoor work clothes if it’s in-between and serious insulation is overkill.
And also “no” to pants with inadequate pockets. Not all of us can carry purses on the job. Currently I buy only from Duluth, but if other vendors ever put real, functional pockets back in their pants I will happily buy from them once again. I lived in Lees and Levis as a kid/young adult, and I really miss those pants.
Most of my leggings have pocket – even if they often get worn under dresses. (Of course, I’m tall, so there are things that are sold as dresses that are really short on me…)
I found a type I liked, and ordered a second pair… and Amazon sent me six. *shrug* I gave one or two away, but I am well supplied with leggings.
Check out “Free the Girls” for donating gently used bras
This post was the best! A little stress relief in the middle of a long day of travel 🙂
Leslie Ann Stovring says
I do this at the end of every year. What didn’t I wear all year? What is too big or too small? Do I have any hope of every losing enough weight to like it again? It can be crazy.
Yes! I love the give-a-clothing-to-get-a-clothing rule! I’ve done it for years and it’s been super helpful.
Wendy S says
I laughed so much. Still laughing. Thank you!
Katie P says
OMG I feel so much better about my closet now. This all sounds so familiar.
April Tos says
In case you are interested in donating you bras: https://www.freethegirls.org/
Worth all the laughs!
Bwahaha, truly lol post, way to do the deep dive, but doesn’t it feel awesome?!
Oh, I feel your pain. I devoted/resolved/was forced to spend at least 30 minutes a day (I could quit early if I could prove I had removed 30 ITEMS from my closet) clearing out the black hole which is my closet.
Result: I lasted 4 days, sent 150 shirts/pants/shorts to the charity shop, threw out 2 lawn and lead bags of clothing which I couldn’t even bear to have anyone else see, before my will broke.
I STILL have more than 100 shirts hanging in my closet. I couldn’t muster the courage to even go to the back wall where all my shoes go to die.
And I might have felt worse about myself after the “organization” than when I couldn’t hang another thing in there because you could squish the hangers any closer together.
Resolutions … just a bad idea.
Just FYI, there is an excellent use for t-shirts you’re no longer going to wear. I had a bunch, as did my wife. Old favorites that were getting worn out. Newer ones with sayings on them I liked but they didn’t fit comfortably etc.
My wife is a quilter. She made us both our own t-shirt quilts out of our old shirts. We went through our respective pile and picked out a specific number of the ones we weren’t (or just couldn’t) wear anymore and she made them into quilts!
I wager there are any number of quilters as addicted to your novels as we are who would be happy to help out. I count my wife among them. 🙂
If you haven’t tossed or donated those shirts yet. Even if you have, keep it in mind for the next closet crisis! 😀
Thank you not just for the closet adventure but also the humor and feeling that I’m not alone in my struggles. ????
I started last month in the pantry when I noticed an out of date item. I ended up emptying the entire cabinet, cleaning it out and using new organizing methods to keep better track.
The next week was the medicine cabinet. (That was traumatizing). Then came the spices and looking up what the shelf life is supposed to be.
The closet and dressers are next but I took this week off and I gifted myself with a little space for new teas I want to try now that I have space and an electric kettle for my sewing room. I suspect I’ll be in there a lot more as go through the clothes.
I’m actually looking forward visualizing the ritual stair climb and song singing in my brain. It won’t feel like a chore now, just a leveling up adventure! ????
I went thru my closet about a month ago. I know a person whose church gives clothes, etc. to “people under the bridge” [ people who never go to shelters]. I would rather have them have the clothes, etc.. I took 3 huge bags to him.
This was the best ????????????
I laughed so much! I am a clothes hoarder, I publicly admit it. My mom is a seamstress and I have dresses she made me when I was 20…. I am now 47 and no matter what I tell myself, they will no longer fit…. Never mind skirts that I’ve been holding on to.
I was contemplating the closet with a weary eye, but you gave me the courage to take a deep breath and plunge in there!!
I must let it go, I will let it go (and what you said for the Tees go for the bras, for each bought another must go ???? ???? ???? )
Isn’t it great,Laura, when you have a system like the one I referenced above?
It’s so easy to keep up up date that you never have the burden of a total overhauler ever again!
Every 6-8 months when I’m cleaning the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers I ruthlessly toss out of date, old , unused and mostly use up stuff and reorganize. There are so many gadgets that seem like a good idea when bought, but get used maybe once. All of this stuff turns into junk that just gets in the way and you’re fighting with it every day. It wastes so much time and energy!
Have you ever noticed that you use the same dishes, utensils, and cookware almost every day? And how little of the total it actually takes up?
I loved that. I felt your pain…and snorted over it. I try to do a clean out every summer.
I read the best way to manage an overactive closet is to turn the clothes hangers backwards and when you use something turn the hanger around correctly. At the end of the year everything that’s still backwards goes.
I hear you with the bras. I’m the same way. I will buy lovely new bras and then look at my collection of ratty, stretched out, missing a hook, underwire trying to escape, turns-out-it-was-the-wrong-cup-size bras and be like, “yeah better keep those!” You know, just in case there’s an emergency that calls for me to have saggy, unflattering uniboob.
bra’s are a pita at the best of time. some days you fit one other times your falling out the bottom. some only look good in certain shirts and some you like and think if i loose some boobage it will be perfect….and then bra’s are made in different places so the same make of bra may not fit in another color so you have to get fitted every time you go get another one ( you should really) and this is why you horde them cause nobody wants to do that .
I love the tapas innkeeper book. Will you publish after it’s done? I just bought TBATE via yen press and it looks great ( through barns and noble). So once the online series is done, you can likely publish it like they did. Please please please.
Oooh, if that is an option, yes please!!!
This post is inspirational. I’ve been strategizing about how to attack my closet. The current plant involves a couple of costco plastic storage boxes…
I bought a bunch of things when I moved here. And then I got the antibiotic resistant pneumonia (and subsequent fluoroquinolone toxicity). And then the pandemic… I’m up a couple of sizes, and while I’m getting more of my energy back and the weight is starting to subside, I don’t know where I’ll end up. Meanwhile, I’ve been having more and more things made for me, out of linen, and to the right darn length. (I only have off the rack manufacturer that reliably makes pants long enough. And then there’s getting anything to fit around my chest. Not to mention adequate pockets.) (Also, I see my move towards linen as just more proof that I am A Woman of a Certain Age.)
So it’s time for a thinning. I will donate some. And some things that I really like will go into storage because the last time I gained weight because of health stuff, it did come off (and left me the same weight, if not the same shape, I was at 16…) But I try to look forward more than back on these things.
I’d laugh more if my own closet woes didn’t mirror yours so closely:) Not the sweatpants so much, but I have mounds of gorgeous sweaters which I have not been able to wear because menopause. Even moving towards said garments seems to bring on a wave of hot flashes that leave me one drippy mess. I don’t want to get rid of said sweaters, because cashmere. Plus menopause is supposed to end & I live in a cold climate where sweaters are normal wear six months of the year. Problem is, I’ve been having said hot flashes since 2008. Not a joke. For real. Oy!
Since 2012 for me. I finally got rid of all my turtlenecks this year. On the positive side, the intensity decreased enough over the past couple years that I can wear long-sleeved tees again. There are still two wool crewnecks in my closet that have sentimental value. Anything else long-sleeved that doesn’t have a full-zip front is gone. Buttons take way too long. If only that sentence were a risqué observation.
Shawna of the BDH says
I am so hoping that hot flashes end. I am hot from the neck up, freezing everywhere else, and still don’t know what to wear.
My closet needs cleaned out too, oh no! thanks for the laugh
????????You are several months ahead of me. More power to you!!
Thank God! I thought I was the only person that had those questions and habits!! Please post again in five years. I should clean out my closet about 3 months ahead of you.
I feel your pain. We reorganized our entire lab today. We couldn’t find things because they were buried in the stacks of new boxed syringes, transfer pipettes, and 15mL plastic test tubes with screw caps. We ask for one box and our professor buys enough to last the apocalypse- case in point we had an entire pallet full of the 15 mL tubes. I lost the war on getting rid of the old bulky equipment because we might just use it one day – oh well
And none of it is in code, or has small amounts of radioactivity or mercury in it. No one wants and you can’t get rid of it. Old melting point app, gc, arrrgggg I feel your pain!
You own so many terracotta things for the same reason I own so many red, navy, and purple things, I suspect. (Though perhaps I like those colors more than you like terracotta.). I like green. Nearly all greens.
But! I would shop for something and see that it came in green, but thought, “Now, wait. You can’t buy only green. Get some variety.”
And, one day, I organized my closet and realized I was the proud owner of one green dress, six navy dresses, five red dresses, and three purple dresses… and I thought, “WTF? Next time, just buy them all in green. Nobody notices what you wear anyway. Nobody cares but you— and it’s your money. Screw the other colors.”
I read somewhere that to negate the environmental impact of making an item of clothing, you have to wear it at least 30 times. This has become my new litmus test for buying an item: am I willing to wear it 30 times? Nine times out of ten the answer is “No!” and the item goes back on the rack.
Patty Dugger says
I will never finish closet I’m an Ilona Andrews addict and read and reread every one hoopla or Libby have. Trying to collect but the books are not easy to find here in middle America. Between St Louis and Memphis. So I texted all my friends and said found new Ilona Andrews today on hoopla Magic Tides so I’m busy! catch up later lol
Shawna of the BDH says
Thank you. I have similar issues with my own closet, except that I gain and lose weight depending on the health of my gastrointestinal system, and at the moment it’s been in a less than cooperative mode. When I’m thin, I tend toward clothes that show off the fact, since it happens so rarely. Otherwise, my closet tends to look like I’m headed for the nearest monastery. Except that I have a LOT of leggings, which I do not care for, but I wear braces up to the knee and have to have something under them to keep them from sticking to my skin and tearing or bruising. So I have clothes I don’t like I can wear, and clothes I like and can’t wear.
Susan Kim Reynolds says
I moved into an old house with very little closet space many years ago, while I was seven months pregnant with my first child, and working about 80 hours a week. My mother and father both died in the years before the move, and we had lots of furniture from my parents’ home, and a lot of sentimental holding on to things because, well, it’s hold on now or never see the kitchen stuff you learned to cook with again. I still have the nightgowns my mother gave me when I was in high school, and the leather jacket she wore in college, and the dress I wore to my wedding shower, and….you get the idea. The house is lined with bookcases and the kitchen is way too undershelved for things to be put away neatly.
I figure we will never move since we would have to sort out all the crapola. I am planning to work as long as I can so that I won’t have to spend many years digging through the fine china and reuniting cups and saucers from my grandmother’s collection just to keep from boredom.
But yes, there are times I look at my clothes and wonder why I have an orange shirt, which turns my face purplish, and white lab coats I can’t get the ink stains out of, and blue jeans my kids outgrew in grade school.
I just moved to Texas the beginning of December. Six weeks here and Austin traffic is an experience I plan to avoid whenever possible already. It’s a great city and I hear the music is fabulous. Which I am excited to explore. But I am very glad I don’t have to deal with the traffic on a daily basis.
I have never laughed so hard in my life. This was freaking perfect.
Beth Leffler says
Because of this soul-searing admission of closet clog crisis or CCC, I am going to share something I don’t usually brag about: I am the Queen of closet purging. It makes my heart happy…bwuahaha.
It’s not common knowledge that there is an alternate universe composed entirely of odd socks, ponytail holders (or ligas as they are known here), bobby pins and safety pins. If your closet becomes cluttered, a portal opens between this universe and various locations on Earth – hence the presence of Small Magics under your T-shirts and said sparkly golden shirt. A semi-annual “Can’t, Won’t, Don’t” clean out is like opening the valve on your water heater and will keep your closet from exploding…lol 😉
Pomeranian Mom says
Oh my! We must have been sisters in another life. I am going through the same crisis with my closet, only add in the fact that I have clothes that range in size from 10 to 20, those being the sizes I fluctuate between ever few years. And some of the patterns/styles…. What in the world was I thinking?!?
Sounds like my closet! he,he,he!
I had to read this aloud to my tv-viewing partner. I was laughing so hard I could barely keep reading.
Lillian Foster says
Is the House of Andrews interested in having an experienced executive assistant with over 30 years of experience assist with the mercantile store? At this point, I’m thinking of a 6 month volunteer position, so that you can see if it’s of benefit to you. Please feel free to call, to have Mod call or to text or email me if you wish to discuss. Regards,
Maybe Ronan could help with the sacrifice part???
I could so see him getting into it. Maybe a whole neighborhood,
party with the sacrifice.
Deeb Mac says
eeeeeehhhhhh! a new chapter! a new chapter! I have to go bounce up and down in the cornfield!
Ack! You made me feel guilty! Now I will have to clean out my closet, (or maybe a little drawer.)
I save all the clothes that fit me 15 years ago. In the next year I may be able to fit into them, however they are likely no longer in style, no longer my style, no longer age appropriate and probably so old in texture and feel I won’t want to wear them. But heaven forbid I toss them before I am back to my weight of 15 year’s ago.
My beau has 3 times as many items with the same plan in mind. As we lose the 50 lbs of pandemic/life stress/age change gain, we have made a plan to do what you have. It will be a huge benefit, but what a challenge.
You made me laugh, and become committed to the plan. I understand when we clean out our closets and drawers we are making space in our lives for new better things. May they all come your way!
Eileen Schneegas says
Thank you, Ilona, <3 (sidewise heart emoji) I laughed so hard tears leaked from my eyes! I have not laughed out loud in, well, too long! We have similar closets & so many questions! Hahahahahahah…
Maybe they were gifts? Either to you or from you.and you forgot to actually give? I do that