Your relationship with clothes

I received a comment form Amy last week that just begged asking the question ~ Why is that we buy clothes and then decide later that we don’t like them any more.

Here is Amy’s comment:

Your post reminded me of a time when I was clearing out dresses that I no longer wore. Either they didn’t fit quite right anymore or they were, as you say, “second favorites”. I got everything together for hubby to take to the local charity here and he started going through them saying things like “Why are you getting rid of these, they are perfectly good dresses?” (Hubby is a “saver”) So I said, “We’re going out this weekend, which of these would you like me to wear?” He then told me he really didn’t want me to wear any of them, he liked another one that I had saved-said I looked better in it than any of these. So I said, “So why should I keep these?”. He shut up and took my stuff to the charity.

*******

There are several obvious reasons I can see why we fall out of love with our clothes.

  1. They don’t fit as well as they used to.
  2. It became obvious after wearing them for a while that they just aren’t comfortable or don’t fit correctly.
  3. We bought them in a hurry because we needed them for a certain occasion and chose badly.
  4. We bought them for a one off special event but never had the occasion to wear them again and now they are unfashionable.
  5. Last years fashions are so passé.
  6. I thought it looked good on me when I bought it but now I feel awful in it.
  7. I bought it because it was the fashion but later reality set in and I realised this fashion does not suit my peculiar kind of beauty. (I think that is an expression that my mother coined).
  8. I loved the way the outfit looked and overlooked the practicality. That is I really had no where to wear it.
  9. The fabric is too much bother to care for and so I stopped wearing it.
  10. Change of lifestyle. Moving to a new climate, quitting work, starting a new job, having children and I am sure many more big life altering choices can change your clothing requirements.
  11. They were on sale and I thought that less than perfect was OK at that price. As it turned out they were a lot less perfect than the price.

This list could go on and on but most of the reasons above really narrow down to making poor choices in the first place. These bad choices are not good for our bank account, our self-esteem, our closet space or, worst of all, the environment. Sure we can donate the clothes to charity but it really is better to take your time to make better choices in the first place. So I have put together some tips to help with making responsible choices when it comes to clothes shopping.

Put need ahead of want ~ Don’t clothes shop on a whim. If you need an item of clothing to round out your selection shop with that intention. Don’t be duped into buying that outfit on the mannequin just because it looks good. Too much of one thing and not enough of another makes for a dysfunctional wardrobe.

Know what you look best in ~ Colour, style, fabric pattern,cut etc. Just because an outfit looks good on the rack, mannequin or your friend doesn’t mean it will look good on you. I am 165cm (5′ 5″) and weigh only 57kg (126lb) but that doesn’t mean everything looks good on me. Weight and height isn’t all that matters, your shape plays a bigger role in clothes looking good on you than your size. I am flat chested and there is no way I am leaving the house without a padded bra and since I don’t like bra straps showing I don’t buy clothes with shoe string straps. I also don’t buy clothes with plunging neck lines because I have nothing to plunge to.

Use your favourites as a guide ~ Check out the items in your closet that you wear and like the most. These are the ones to use as a guide to what you will get the best use out of.

Provide for your usual activities not for the odd occasion ~ Try to limit your wardrobe to items that you will get good use out of. For special occasions stick to a classic piece that doesn’t go out of style. The little black dress was and still is a winner in my book. You can dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

Know your comfort level ~ I put comfort very high on the list of importance when choosing clothes. Anything that is tight across the shoulders or on the arms drives me crazy so I steer clear of them. I suggest stretching in all directions with both upper and lower body when trying on clothes. Squat in pants and cross your arms over in front of your body when trying on tops, any extreme movement will give you some idea as to how comfortable the item will be. Also be mindful of how the fabric feels against your skin. I can’t wear wool or even cashmere because it makes me itch.

Fabric choice is important ~ If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to care for delicate fabrics don’t buy them. This might include items that require dry-cleaning, or just items that should be hand washed or ironed. Stick to easy care fabrics if that is what fits with your lifestyle. My husband has a linen shirt that we send to the dry-cleaners on the rare occasion that he wears it. It isn’t that he doesn’t like this shirt or that it is too good for everyday it is just that it is a bother and an expense to have it cleaned. I found it in the dirty clothes basket the other day and asked him why it was there. He said “I don’t wear it because it is a bother to clean so I have decided that it can go in with the rest of the wash load and if it survives well and good if it doesn’t then too bad. I washed it and ironed it and it looks just fine.

Choose items that coordinate ~ Pick pieces that go well together – Colour, style and cut – then you will be able to mix and match to achieve different looks with the same few pieces. Also take into consideration existing shoes, jackets and accessories when planning these ensembles to achieve a truly clever but stylish minimalist wardrobe.

To round of this post I have a mission for you all.

Choose two or three items from your closet that you think you should declutter. Then share with us, through a comment, why these items no longer suit your needs – if they ever did. We may be able to learn a few things from each other and about ourselves in the process. I will add the information you provide to round of the post above and turn it into a page for us to go to when we need good advice on how to choose wisely in the future.

Here are a few web articles I found with helpful tips on clothes shopping & minimising your clothing

The Time Manager ~ 5 tips to better clothes shopping

Street Articles.com ~ Buying new clothes practical fashion advice for women

Becoming Minimalist ~ A practical guide to owning fewer clothes

Today’s Declutter Item

After keeping a close eye on my sock choices over the winter months I have discovered these socks aren’t being used. They are remnants of my old life in the USA. In Seattle I wore socks all year round because even it if wasn’t cold I had a job that required me to wear closed shoes hence I needn’t lots of socks. Now, not so much. So these have gone to the thrift shop today.

Excess Socks

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I think I have finally found the solution to my disfunctional shower door. I won’t bore you with the details but it has been an annoyance since we moved into the house four years ago. For the last few months I have made an effort to find a solution and I think I have finally done it. Wish me luck, it all hinges on the ability of a local shower screen maker to provide the item I need when I can finally get to their workshop next week during factory hours. I am nothing if not persistent (sporadically).

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Avoiding a cluttered wardrobe I'll be the first to admit that I am no fashion expert. So I am not going to give you any advice on what clothes to shop for. However, what I am going to share with you today are tips that […]
  • Redundancy or Destruction After reading the title of today's post you are probably eagerly awaiting an explanation. I am going to attempt to keep it brief because I have a somewhat related topic I would like your […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. At the beginning of each season (cold, hot), I take all my hanging clothes for that season and hang them backwards in my closet. At the end of 3-4 months, if the hanger is still backwards, I know I haven’t worn that item. Today, out go three button down shirts. Last week, I tried on two shirts that I hadn’t worn all season because it never really got hot here this summer (weird weather) and discovered that they are too big for me now–out they went. If I hadn’t tried them, they might have sat there another year because I would have thought I didn’t wear them because of the cool summer we had.

    Several months ago I joined Project 333, wearing only 33 items of outer clothing, shoes and jewelry for 3 months. It did not much change how I normally dressed except that I limited my jewelry. That made me realize that we really do just choose our few favorites from a (stuffed full) closet and only wear those. I wear black or grey slacks, various colored tops and a few sweaters–that’s my go to wardrobe, even for work.

    • Hi Willow,
      thank you for your input on this subject. I often wondered that about the 333 project, whether some people would even feel hindered by the lack of choice. I think I might be like you and only wear about that many different items anyway.

  2. Thank you for the great post, Colleen! Yesterday I sent the following things on their merry way to Goodwill: a pair of suede Puma sneakers, a pair of tan leather wedges and a tank top with a flower applique. The Pumas were nice, but too conspicuous with that large logo on the side. Besides, they don’t fit into my color scheme any longer. The tan wedges had the same problem – I didn’t have any clothes to go with them. And the tank top was sinking a little low on my chest, exposing more than I cared it to.

    I have been minimizing my wardrobe for a few months now, so none of this comes as a surprise. But it does remind me that my tastes change. I am also much less willing to experience inconvenience for the sake of looks. I could wear that tank top with a cami underneath, but it was too much work for a piece of clothing. I have become a much more intentional shopper too, and I now only go to the mall with a specific purpose.

    • Hi Lana B,
      welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for adding your thoughts to this conversation. It sounds like you have worked out your issues with clothes and, as you say, will be more intentional in you shopping in future. Things do wear out (like you tank top) and as your clothing changes over time there is the chance that your shoes and accessaries will no longer match. I have discovered that if I stick to basic black and darkish brown when it comes to shoes and belts they tend to blend across pretty well. This seems to be especially the case in winter oddly because they also match up well with the basic coat colours. In summer one can be a little more outrageous but I find those neutral colours still work well and pretty much stick to that.

      I particularly liked this part of what you wrote ~ I could wear that tank top with a cami underneath, but it was too much work for a piece of clothing ~ because I have found that this Winter the fashion has been to do layer upon layer upon layer and I hate the idea. Seriously I think I would need a chiropractor to sort me out if I indulged in that fashion trend. Clearly the idea is to make you need to buy three times as many pieces as you normally would have to. Needles to say I persevered with mostly just what I had last year only adding a sweater, a slim fit pair of jeans and a skivvy (which means something else in america but I can’t think of a more universal word. A tight long sleeve T-shirt).

  3. This is one of my areas where I really limit my clothes. I recently got rid of a few things. I had these two pair of slacks (grey & black) that I had been using to “get me by”. I also have a pair of jeans. I realized that the only time I wore thse slacks was to church on Sunday mornings. They were actually too big and I was always having to pull them up to keep the crotch in the right place. I realized that no one noticed what I wore for slacks and so dumped the two pair. I now only have the jeans and I just wash them in between wearings. It’s the bright tops that I wear with them that get the attention and comments.

    Recently a friend was cleaning out her closet of clothes she could no longer wear. She gave me a garbage bag of 25 shirts (mostly t-shirts). I went through them all and tried them all on. I kept 5. Some were too big. Some were too small for the way I like to wear them. Some were a material I don’t like. Some had stains and I wasn’t going to try to get them out. Of the 5 I kept I am going to have a friend do some machine embroidery on them. These will be my “winter” blouses for everyday.

    Finally, I realized that “winter” here in the Phoenix area is just not that cold. So I am going to give away some sweat pants that I have. I’ve been trying to think what to do with my winter coat from Indiana. I don’t see us going anywhere on vacation where it is cold. I hate the cold. So I am thinking maybe I can send it up to the mountain area with someone who can give it to a charity up there.

    • Hi Deb J,
      you certainly do live with a minimal wardrobe of clothes. You make me feel quite indulgent. There is nothing like some good hand-me-downs to pad out the wardrobe for the winter. And it sounds like you did a good job of selecting the ones that you liked the most. The change of climate between Indiana and Arizona must have made a lot of your clothes redundant when you made that move. I think I might still have too many Seattle items still hanging in my wardrobe but it is greatly reduced from what it used to be. I seem to have used them all this winter though. I don’t know if the winter has been colder or I have just gotten out more. The idea of bundling up the clothes and sending them back to the colder area with someone to give to charity sounds like a smart idea. It is more likely they won’t just end up in landfill that way.

  4. I promise to get to the mission later, but for now I just want to thank you for your sense of humour, Colleen – “peculiar kind of beauty” and “I have nothing to plunge to” – still chortling over these gems!!! I’m so identifying with them, even though in the case of the cleavage I have more than I used to but it is still “nothing to plunge to” in a different way as I get older. All joking aside, great post. Off to think about my clothing items now.

    • Also, although you said your shower door issues would bore us, maybe they wouldn’t – I have shower doors that leak and haven’t been able to find a good solution. For the time being I have installed an expansion shower rod and a shower curtain on the inside of the door area. Does your problem happen to be this? and if so, I would REJOICE to hear of a different solution 🙂

      • Hi Jo,
        my shower problem is that it is a very small corner shower. When I use it and when the water is running while it warms up the water that hits the floor splashes up on the door. Also when my husband dries himself with the shower door open (because there is not enough room in there to do otherwise) the water that is on the door drips all over the floor in front of the toilet. As a result we have to wipe up the floor every time we have a shower and having a nice cosy bath mat under our feet in the Winter is out of the question. What I need is a fixture I have seen on existing showers that is just like a weather strip (with a hinged flap) at the bottom of and external house door. They are made with frosted plastic that is better in a wet environment. The problem was that the handman who came to look at it gave up without even trying and the glass company that they sent after him only deal in their own designs and just wanted to do a dodgy fix. I knew the solution was available it was just a case of find the right company and I think I have finally done that. Stegbar/Regency is the company that I think will be able to do the fix properly. I’ll keep you posted.

        • Okay, it’s a different kind of leaky issue from mine. Our horizontal sliding doors are screwed to the fiberglass tub and caulked with sealant. Some of it has degraded over the years but we can’t seem to get it sealed properly with new caulking. I would like to remove the doors but then I’d have screw holes in the fiberglass unit. I’m looking for a solution for those holes. I think it is time for a trip to the home improvement store.

          But thank you for the information – I appreciate you taking the time to explain.

          I do hope you have success with this company; in the meantime, could you put an old towel down to catch the splashes and keep your feet warm in winter? But, then, it’s so much nicer to have a proper solution especially if you’ve seen it elsewhere, isn’t it?

          • Hi Jo,
            the problem with the old towel idea is that there is then a problem with where to hang it to dry out. Either way it is just a pain in my you know what.

    • Hi Jo,
      I am sure that those phrases are the ones that my husband would want to edit out of my post so it is just as well he doesn’t proof read for me any more. I like to have a little fun with my writing it is who I am. Good luck with the mission when you get to it. I await your interesting input.

      • Please don’t take them out – it’s good to have some smiles in with the hard work!

        • Hi Jo,
          actually I think I am getting cheekier as you all get to know me and understand the way I talk. I am always a little worried that my biggest audience that is outside of Australia won’t understand my very Aussie way of speaking but no one has ever said “Please explain!” so I will stick to being me. That has worked so far.

  5. This used to be a massive problem area for me, three different sizes for all seasons, all occasions, events etc. No more!! What i’ve finally realised (and it took me 34 years to!) is that i need a wardrobe that reflects who i am NOW. Not the person i want to be (size 0 anyone?) or the person i was (working in fashion concious retail) I used to keep clothes ‘just incase’. It took a lot of work but i now have the wardrobe that really reflects who i am, a stay at home mum (for now) dog walker, with a desire to look well groomed and vaugley ‘current’ i am also a bit of a rock chic at heart and knowing all of these facts about myself has helped me clearout, re-focus, and more importantly know what i want when i shop.

    My current wardrobe which i have capsulised(-is that even a word?!?) is running at 3 pairs of jeans, 1 skirt, 2 dresses, 1 pair of smart pants. 7 blouses, i can’t make t-shirts work they are way to casual, 3 cardigans and 2 jumpers. I also have 7 pairs of boots and shoes and season appropiate coats. If my lifestyle ever changes , and i currently shedding pounds 🙂 i know my wardrobe can easily be replaced and adapted to cater for my life at that time. I recemtly gave all of my summer clothes to the charity shop as i will not be that size next summer, so no point in hanging on to them!!

    In the nature of sticking to your suggestion i am going to clear out a Laura Ashley cardigan which i really like and it fits well BUT it is green a colour i have nothing else to match with and it is a real loner in my wardrobe, keeping it would mean finding a top to go under it and perhaps a scarf, so off it goes!!

    Wonderful post Colleen, a topic that i feel clutterbugs particulary struggle with!!

    Sharron x

    • Hi Sharron,
      it is hard to change the habits of a lifetime. I can just imagine how torn you must have been at times when coming to grips with what your wardrobe should be and what it once used to be. Working amid a fashion conscious retail environment would have had a strong influence back them. Your current wardrobe sounds very much under control though and you have clearly learned the lessons you needed to learn in that department.

      Gaining and losing weight can be such a messy business, physically, mentally and monetarily and I am glad I have never had to play that game. I weighed about 53kg when I was married at 22 and still only weigh about 57kg at 46 so my clothes either wear out I just get tired of them. Hopefully with better choices in the future I will avoid the waste involved in decluttering clothes because of not liking them any more. That being said I am wearing 8 year old jeans, I have 3 jackets that I still wear and bought in 1997, I have a tank top that I still wear from about 1998 and boots and another jacker from 2000. So for the clothes that I do retire prematurely I have many more that have had years and years of service. It pays to buy classic cut clothes that don’t date.

      That Laura Ashley cardigan does sound like it needs to go. Not having anything to match with it is a problem that only spending more money and acquiring more stuff is going to fix and that does sound like the solution to me.

  6. Colleen,

    You forgot weight gain as a reason that wardrobe needs change! I am currently on medication that is causing me to gain weight. Every time I buy bigger clothes, they are too small almost immediately.

    I have cleaned my closet out to the bare minimum and there is almost literally nothing I can wear right now. I have no pants (really, seriously NONE) that fit me and are comfortable and cannot locate a pair in any store that is.

    As to decluttering, last year I bought a beautiful dress from the Vermont Country Store that is covered in roses. I LOVE that dress, but it is now, sadly, too small. And it was not cheap, so I am doubly alarmed by the fact that I should probably donate this dress. There is not much chance I am going to get back into it, but I can’t bear to part with it yet. It feels pretty just to look at, but I’ve only worn it twice, briefly. It pulls across the shoulders and is too tight across my expanding (although gravitating) cleavage. This is the biggest bummer I can think of aside from the fact that I don’t own a pair of pants I can wear without wanting to cry.

    I have multiple pairs of dress shoes that I could declutter, since I no longer go out to work and I don’t find them comfortable. I should maybe go through the shoe portion of my wardrobe, but every time I do that, I find myself saying, “But I might wear those sometime!” And then I never do. Time to kick myself in the butt and get over all of those shoes and just keep the ones I really will wear.

    If anyone has any suggestions for what to do when you are gaining weight and don’t really have a choice about it because it’s from medication you have to take, I would appreciate it. I hate to have to keep buying bigger clothes, but I can’t come up with anything else that works!

    Thanks for a great post.

    Hugs,
    Chelle
    http://www.lifeonthedomesticfront.blogspot.com

    • I would ask myself (1) would I wear it right now IF it fit me (i.e., is it still fashionable), and (2) how much do I reasonably have room to store? And I would keep those pieces awhile to see where the medication issues might lead. Your doctor might want you to try something else because indefinite weight gain has its own detrimental health effects also.

      I was keeping a lot of clothes because I hoped to fit into them again one day. Over time I realized most of them were not things I would wear again due to changing fashions. I kept a few pieces that were not dated, and sold or gave away the rest. But my weight gain was not due to medication and was not quick like yours so I’m not sure if my approach will help you or not.

      Good luck Chelle, it certainly is heartbreaking to require a medication with significant side effects no matter what they are.

    • Chelle, I have the same problem. My weight is no longer going up but I can’t get it down either. I don’t know what med you are on but I would talk to the doctor and say you want a change if at all possible. Mine was initially caused by steroid use (60# in 6 weeks). After that it had done such a number on my adrenal glands that if a med says a side effect is weight gain it happens to me. I pray things will get better for you.

      • Hi Deb J,
        what a wonderful community we have here at 365 Less Things with great people like you and Jo trying to help Chelle with her problem. Lets hope a solution can be found.

    • Hi Chelle,
      this is a real problem for you and one I hope you have brought up with your doctor. Sometimes the side affects of medication can be just as bad as the illness. Being overweight isn’t healthy either. I can hardly even imagine how disheartening that must be. I say keep your rose dress for the time being and ask your doctor about the weight gain and if there is anything that can be done about it. Seek a second opinion just to be on the safe side if you have already spoken to your usual doctor about it. Declutter some of those shoes instead.

      • Chelle,
        Keep your rose dress; don’t give it away. If you love to LOOK at it, then can you cut it up and make it into a pillow cover (to toss on your bed/chair/couch, to look at?); or even a scarf to wear as an accessory??? Or take a section of the fabric and have it framed and hang it up. You know those ‘white canvas wrapped around the wood frame’ things the craft stores have for painting (they come in all different sizes)? Find one of those that works and take a section of the rose dress fabric and wrap it around the canvas, secure it in back (staple onto the wood) and hang it on your wall!!!! Even if you just hang it in your closet or in your bathroom!!!!

        Wear dark clothing (black works). Black leggings with a black dress (free flowing) over it. Use a VERY colorful scarf so that people will only notice YOU, your beautiful eyes, your smile, they WON’T notice what is below that. KEEP SMILING, that will keep the focus ‘up’…

        And I agree w/ the other input about checking with your doctor for maybe some other med that does not have this weight gain side effect. Bless you Chelle!!!! Hang in there!!!!

        • Oh my goodness, thank you all so much for the comments! I am depressed about the weight gain, but it is not unexpected and not a HUGE weight gain. Just enough to make all clothing uncomfortable and I do wonder when it will end. I knew that getting the hysterectomy last year would slow my metabolism down, so I should have been prepared for that! I need to start exercising and I know it. I am simply so unmotivated to do it with the fibro.

          I love the idea of making the dress into something else and I can’t bear to part with it anyway. I will keep it as is for awhile and if the scale keeps going up, I will take that advice and see what I can do with the fabric. It is such a beautiful dress. I wish I had bought it one size larger, since I only got to wear it twice and it was uncomfortable across the shoulders both times.

          I love to wear black, but we have an orange cat and a golden retriever, so anything I wear will be covered unless I am going out. I work (as a writer) from home and so I have found the best color for me is actually gray and I have lots of it!

          Unfortunately, sometimes the meds we HAVE to take make our bodies change in ways we hate. I knew going in that it was possible. Just wish it hadn’t been the one. Luckily, I am small boned and I doubt I could get seriously obese, but I am keeping an eye on it for sure.

          Hugs,
          Chelle

          • Good luck Chelle, I hope things improve for you. Bed health is a pain to have to deal with day in day out.

          • Chelle –

            I am going through the same thing you are. Hysterectomy last year, and steroids for MS this year have really done a number on me, weight-wise. I have 2 pair of pants and 1 skirt that fit, though by not-zipping-up-all-the-way, I can squeeze uncomfortably into a couple more.

            It *is* depressing. The steroids have also caused my head and neck to balloon disproportionately to my body, which makes for hilarious conversation but is rather unattractive. I’m down to one mega-dose of steroids a month, which might help, but might also keep weight loss difficult.

            I have no great tips (I’m loving these tips from everyone else!) but just wanted you to know I sympathize and you are not alone out there!

            Lori in OR
            breathereleaserepeat.wordpress.com

            • Hi Lori in OR,
              thank you for adding your voice to this conversation. I am sure Chelle will appreciate your understanding of the situation. It always helps to have a person who knows exactly what you are going through. You are all scaring me of the hysterectomy that I am staring down the barrel at at the moment. Maybe I will wait intill the end of the year and see if the new alternative solution to my problem might work. I am just a little tired of waiting (over six years already).

    • Dear Chelle,
      I’m going through all the site, bit by bit, because my surroundings are a terrible mess.
      In so far as your beautiful dress is concerned, I truly feel it is OK to keep something that’s so special, and I don’t mean keeping everything because it seems “special” when it comes up. You may not be on that particular medication for ever, and as a consequence may have occasion to wear that lovely dress again.
      Or . . . . . since the fabric is so lovely, (it certainly sounds as if it is!) can you make something with it? A cushion cover, pillowcase, napkins? I don’t know, I’m not good at sewing, and my ideas are limited here. I wonder if I’m just hanging onto my own not wanting to get rid of things I’ve loved, or still love? It just seems a shame to get rid of something that you so obviously very fond of.
      I’m new at this, so you should probably ignore it totally, lol lol, lol.
      Every best wish to you, and a hug.
      Leah.

      • Hi Leah,

        I actually did indeed keep the dress, even though it is doubtful I will ever fit into it again. It is just too pretty for me to donate, especially since it was only worn twice. It is a beautiful roses print with lovely pastel pinks and an empire waist. I wish I had bought it one size larger. I doubt seriously I still have a receipt, but it just occurred to me that I should look for it to see if I could possibly exchange it! I do seem to keep all receipts for everything I ever bought.

        I seem to remember sending Colleen a picture of my culled closet and it is still fairly slim pickings in there. I see my doctor again on Tuesday and hope to get some answers from him as to why I am still having such a hard time and feeling so uncomfortable in the abdominal area. It could be that there was a problem with my surgery or there is another problem that requires looking into.

        I do not sew much either, aside from a cross stitch addiction, but my mother makes beautiful quilts, so it is certainly possible that I could give it to her to make it into something for me when she is through with her chemo treatments.

        Thank you for reminding me about this dress. I really need to either try to return it or do something so that I can wear it or look at it.

        Hugs,
        Chelle

  7. Great post! I especially like the point that you’re making about being careful when you’re shopping. I made a conscious effort to get pickier and buy higher quality, more appropriate/functional clothes a few years ago, and I’ve had to weed out a lot less crap.

    I’m not a minimalist when it comes to wardrobe – I like clothes a lot and I live in Colorado where we get a lot of weather extremes, so I have a fair amount. But I regularly go through my clothes and shoes to clear out what I don’t wear or what doesn’t fit me. I’ve been in maternity clothes exclusively for the last few months, so I’ve been reluctant to make any decisions to get rid of anything now, and it drives me crazy! When I figure out what my post-baby body is, I will do another closet clear-out and I will enjoy it!

    • Hi Amy,
      I like the idea of being pickier and buying higher quality and more functional clothes. My husband has been weeding out his wardrobe this way (due to weight loss) and replacing things with good quality and a classier everyday style. He is looking good I have to say!

      I can be quilty for paying as little as possible when it comes to clothes. Luckily for me, between the sewing classes in high school and, more so, the lessons learned for my mother who was a dressmaker I know how to spot the right fabrics, cut and craftsmanship to determine what is good and what is not among both the inexpensive and the expensive clothes. One thing I do know is that price doesn’t always accurately represent quality and quality can be bought quite cheaply at times.

  8. “Too much of one thing and not enough of another makes for a dysfunctional wardrobe” – I’d have to disagree. I reckon I only need 2-5 pairs of pants, but countless tops. I’m convinced no one notices my pants (sure they notice skirts etc), and you can rewear heaps of times and it looks different with a different top. PLus it’s hard to find well fitting pants/jeans in my opinion.

    Fabrics – I find wool itchy, so it’s always something that has to be ‘outwear’ (ie over something with a long sleeve, higher neck etc).

    Colour – Oh my I just realised in the past month that I have black, white, grey and tones of blues (touching to teal). And that’s about it. There’s one or two stray items in each type, but generally that’s it. And I’m happy with it!

    Oh socks! The bane of every house’s existance! I have ones with matching toes or ankle bits, but still they lose their partners. I’m convinced my family needs to implement what family friends do – one HUGE sock drawer. All socks go there (therefore, all lost socks will be there, and any unpaired ones, well there’s no excuse – CHUCK!) One day…

    I’m good at the ‘no clothes for a year’ challenge, except for my 3-4 weeks in the US. But other than that, I’ve only bought a birthday dress (v v formal, but worn it twice so far, with another wearing planned this month) and all the accessories, and I think that’s all. Maybe I bought some socks and some singlets, but they are staples. I’m very proud of my restrainst (and savings). Mum had a new dress on, and my thoughts were ‘do you really need another dress’ – of course I didn’t say anything, and it is a nice dress.

    I also weeded my shoe collection from 25+ to about 10 maybe 12, admittedly two pairs of work boots, and two pairs of slippers (one are BYO type, throw them in the bag when I’m staying somewhere else overnight), then 4 other pairs of boots (one pair died last weekend, but were alive again in a dream last night, and I thought ‘I’m sure you were thrown away!?!) I’m still umming about tossing the ‘old’ runners – I wore them yesterday when I was too lazy to get the ‘new’ ones from the gym bag in the car across the road. And I should get rid of the lovely, pricey, but uncomfortable, slippery, gets sodden when it’s raining silver velvet shoes… Ouch, ok, I’ve convinced me

    • hi Snosie,
      you misunderstand me when I say “Too much of one thing and not enough of another makes for a dysfunctional wardrobe”. We actually agree entirely, I also believe that you need a lot less pants than you do tops for the same reason. Too much is relative to the item of course, twenty pairs of pants and five tops would not work at all.

      As for your colour choice, it sound fine to me. I have been wearing much the sale except with a splash of red here and there instead of the blue. Stay neutral at the bottom and mix the top up a bit.

      It is funny how people keep their orphaned socks in the hope the the stray sock will return home some day. I keep the orphaned ones in the laundry because the stray usually does turn up in a subsequent wash load soon after.

      I don’t know if I mentioned it in my post that I have only bought three items of clothing for the last twelve months. I only shop when I think I need something and stay on target when doing that. This winter I could have done with a few nicer things but couldn’t find anything I like so I persevered with what I had aside from those three new items I mentioned above.

      As for shoes I am letting natural progression decluttering work on any excess. That is when they die they aren’t replaced. Although I think there are a few pair of evening shoes that really could go. You made me laugh with this ~ Ouch, ok, I’ve convinced me. 😆

  9. I was reading the posts and thought of something else I”ve been doing. I’m trying to decide whether to keep my bathing suit and water shoes. I haven’t gone in the pool at the clubhouse in over a year because it is getting harder and harder for me to get out of the pool because the stairs are too steep. I end up making my pain worse just trying to get out. A friend is house hunting and they plan to get a pool. She says then I can come over and swim and they will make sure the pool has shallow steps. I’m trying to decide if I will even take the time to get everything together and go over there.

    I am a not quite 5 feet tall. I have the dickens of a time to find clothes that look good on me. Everything has to be altered. So when I find something that feels good on me I want to get several of them. I am making myself not do that. It would be just like me to do that and then either lose out of them or gain. I don’t need more than one pair at a time. So I am making myself be good. 🙂

    • Hi Deb J,
      your friend in very kind and it sounds like a better option for you.

      Being short can cause issues when it comes to buying clothes thats for sure. I suppose the solution with the swim suit is to just bide your time until you find the right one. My daughter is 5-1 and I’ll tell you a funny story. Last year she was all excited that she finally found a maxi dress the right length for her then she realised it was meant to be 3/4 length. She didn’t care though it worked for her and that was all that mattered. She and I had a good laugh about it though. She has trouble getting shoes small enough as well sometimes. She manages a shoe store now though so she has solved that problem (too much so).

      • I have the same problem with shoes. Plus I am diabetic so I need to make sure there are no pressure points on my feet from my shoes. It’s a real pain.

        I understand the maxi dress story. I do the same with capri’s. I buy them and they become regular length slacks for me. 🙂

  10. Enjoyed reading about a different way to consider my wardrobe. If I follow the ten points, I’m sure I will downsize (my wardrobe) by half! Have been intimidated by the “how to make the decision of what to keep” and now I have the answers. It’s easy really, isn’t it?
    Yes….I’m also interested in the shower…..for a woman that struggles with a “non-handy” husband, I am always appreciative of advise of “how-to” anything!

  11. I see we have another amy! So I guess I’ll be amy in NY. Just checking in while clearing out our flood damaged items from the basement. The hurricane hit our area very hard. Some people still have no power or phone and many have a total loss on their homes. It’ll take me a bit to catch up on all the posts and comments but just wanted to check in and let people know I’m still here and will be back commenting and de cluttering soon-with some thoughts I have on being “forced” to de clutter on nature’s schedule and not mine!

    • Hi Amy in NY,
      glad to hear you are still doing OK. It is sad about the others less fortunate than you. We had really bad floors in Queensland Australia earlier this year that affected nearly every area of the state. Some of it was flash flooding that killed quite a number of people which was really sad. The floods affected not only homes and lives but the agricultural industry. We are still paying over $12 a kilo for bananas (I’m not because I am just not buying them). Things always return to their new normal though and life goes on. I hope you find your new normal soon and life gets back on an even keel.

      • I expect certain food prices to go up also. Entire crops have been washed away. We have many vineyards, farms and orchards in this area of the state. That is nothing though compared to the people who lost their lives in this hurricane/flood.

        There are also many little towns that are still cut off from any help.
        So many roads and bridges have been washed away. No one expected this kind of flooding after the hurricane, so many people had no time to prepare and had to grab what they could when forced to leave their homes.

        After watching news reports of people gathering up what they could to take with them, I wonder what they chose to save and if they had the time to grab what was most important to them. Many people lost sentimental items like wedding photos and treasured baby pictures.

        I think most of what people would grab (if they could) would be things that are either practical, valuable or sentimental. I have been thinking of my own tub of photos that I have to go through and I am going to pick out my favorites and put them in a little tin box that is easy to grab/carry. No one can carry their entire stash of photos (unless you’ve put them all on CD’s) but our treasured favorites can be put in a safe place until we’ve had a chance to decide how best to preserve them.

        • amy in NY, the flooding has been far worse than the hurricane, it seems, from the news reports we are seeing. Very scary. I hope things improve soon.

          • Thanks, Jo. Little by little things will hopefully get back to the
            “new normal”. Many people are in worse shape than we are so I mustn’t complain.

        • Hi Amy in NY,
          it is all too tragic really. Loss of life being the worst of it. Stuff can’t always be replaced but in the end it is just stuff. Best to be prepared for these situation.

  12. I just put a shirt into the donation bag because even though I like the shirt it has embroidery on it that itches my skin on the inside and I don’t like wearing layers. I have accepted that I wear the same things all the time, so for winter I have 2 pairs of jeans that I wear with my summer tops and a cardigan (fashionista I am not). I do have a few more items for summer because it depends on my mood if I want to wear shorts, a skirt or a dress. It’s funny because I tease my hubby that he has more clothes than me, but after doing the backwards hanger trick it turns out he does wear all of his so I may stop teasing him. I did this over winter and found I did not wear two 3/4 sleeve tops, so one is definately going but the other is one I love and wore a lot last year and I am not sure why I didn’t this year so I think I will hold onto that one for now.

    • Hi Debra F,
      comfort does seem to be playing a big factor in future choices for most people. I know it is high on my list (I am no fashionista either). Summer does give a person more variety in clothing styles and I am hoping that there are a couple of nice summer everyday dressing on the racks this season. That is pretty much all that is lacking in my summer wardrobe except mayby some basic white Ts. My backwards hanger experiment revealed only a pair of beige long pants and a smock style dress/top that on reflection makes me look like I am expecting. It will be interesting to see if you get use out the the 3/4 sleeve top you kept next year. See if you can figure our why you didn’t use it this year and let me know.

  13. This is a wonderfully timely post for me. I’ve been really getting into the idea of eventually buying a very small house (well, under 600sf, anyway), and because of that I’ve begun to think more critically about how much clothing I really need. Comfort level is one of the most important things for me. I tend to either 1) buy the same thing over and over again, like 3/4 sleeve stretchy tees in solid colors, or 2) buy something quite different because I think my wardrobe is boring. At last I’ve realized that I almost never wear anything that falls into the latter! I don’t like the way synthetic fibers feel, I feel conspicuous in bright colors or prints, and so rarely get around to ironing that I shouldn’t bother with anything that needs it. I buy mostly used clothing, so I haven’t wasted a lot of money, but I certainly have wasted a lot of time shopping for clothes that I didn’t end up enjoying.

    This week I’ve parted with a red dress shirt that has never really fit that well, a dress that I had for a year and never wore, a skirt that bunches around the waist, a scoop neck shirt that (and I never realized this until I saw a photo) you could see the outlines of my ribs beneath my collarbone. Yikes! I guess I really am that flat!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      it sounds like you have done a good job of working out your likes and dislikes and what you find acceptable when it comes to comfort and ease of maintenance. Using this as a guide you should be able to invent for yourself a very useable wardrobe. Good luck. I can be like you when it comes to your second category of buying something quite different because I think my wardrobe is boring I have felt this way all Winter but I was saved from bad buys due to the fact that I couldn’t find anything I liked anyway.

  14. Hi Colleen
    This post is timely for me too. Yesterday I tackled my hanging space and have packed a zillion pairs of of horrible stretchy nylon pants that I used to wear a lot about ten years ago. I lost count after I got to the third bin bag. Off they go to the thrift shop. Maybe SOMEONE will want them! Also a tan faux suede jacket the I would love if the sleeves weren’t a bit too short. No wonder it was on sale. This is just the first pass. Everything in that cupboard fits me but not all of it is geared to my current lifestyle as I just recently retired from the corporate world.
    Your blog is so inspiring and I love your slogan.

    • Hi Shirls,
      You must have loved those stretchy pants for some reason 10 years ago. What changed? I am glad that you have found it within yourself to let them go. That must have made oa big difference to the space in your wardrobe.
      Don’t you hate it when you overlook a flaw in something you buy because everything else about it was just right. In the end the fault always wins out.
      Well done on your first pass. Give yourself a little time to adjust to your lifestyle changes and then when you are ready have another sweep through.

  15. Now I only buy clothes at the thrift store.
    I used to have a hard time finding clothes. I am short 1m50 (5 feet) and was very thin 36 kg (85 lbs), so I could find my size in the kids section (12 year old), but nothing would fit quite properly at the hips. After my pregnancies, which left me with bigger hips and a few more pounds, I could finally fit into a size 0 !!! There are tons of size 0 and XS shirts in my local thrift stores. And because it is so cheap, I have no problem donating them back. It’s a little bit like if I was renting them 🙂
    But the clothes I still have from before my kids, I still hold on to them. They are high quality, expensive, clothes for work and I just cannot let them go. Not yet, I am working on it. For instance, I have a leather jacket, classic style, it still fits me but I don’t wear it. I dress much more casual now at 40 than at 25…
    I think the price is the problem for me. If I buy something cheap, I have no problem letting it go, otherwise I feel wasteful.

    • Hi NatalieinCA,
      I have found, at least in Australia where the selection is much more limited than in the US, that the smaller sizes are designed for women younger than me. While at the same time the more open age stores seem to be selling mainly items that hide your figure altogether. So I am left with the choice of buying clothes that make me look like mutton dressed up as lamb or dressing like a a curtain rod with tatted curtains. Probably if I was prepared to pay a fortune for each item I would have a larger choice but this isn’t going to happen.
      It is just as well you are now shopping at the thrift store, you won’t have any new expensive clothes causing guilt clutter. With that in mind if the ones you have don’t suit you needs any more it is probably time to let them go. Just keep a skeleton selection just in case if that makes you feel better.

      • Colleen, “dressing like a curtain rod with tattered curtains” OH you crack me up!!! You got me thinking of an American actress named Carol Burnett. On her comedy show (MANY moons ago) where she does a skit imitating “GONE WITH THE WIND” and makes a dress out of curtains, but leaves the curtain rod in the dress (sits on her shoulders just at her neck and extends WAY out beyond each side). LOL!!!!!! Does anyone else remember that??? I think that is probably one of the most hysterical moments in a TV comedy series that I’ve ever seen!!!

        • Annabelle, I remember Carol Burnett very well (I live in Canada and we used to have a huge amount of American TV content here) – she was a brilliant comedic artist, wasn’t she? I don’t remember specific skits, although your description rings a faint bell, but they were all funny, and all clean – good for family watching.

          I agree, Colleen cracks me up 🙂

        • Hi Annabelle,
          I googled that scene and had to laugh when Ret says the gown is gorgeous and Scartlet answers “I saw it in the window and I just couldn’t resist it.” 😆 The YouTube clips were very short though so I didn’t get to see the whole skit.

          • Here is the full version in two parts, if anyone is interested:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH6TBEbP77Q
            and
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=2Nt0yi4wbro

            The curtain/dress scene is in the second part.

            • Hi Jo,
              I watched and had a good laugh. You know, it was only last year that I watched Gone With the Wind for the first time. Talk about wind, it was the most long winded movie I think I have ever seen and then it ends with the miserable ending. I am glad I have seen it but I sure wouldn’t watch it again.

              • My mum queued for 4+ hrs to see that movie when it came out! Talked passionately about it for years. By the time it was on TV in the early 80’s I found it fairly uninspiring too.
                I guess it was one of those movies that was amazing for its time but didn’t age well.

                • Hi Katharine,
                  did you know that the original author Margaret Mitchell refused to write a sequel. I guess it was meant to be a lesson about being a selfish spoiled brat. Maybe she had issues from her past. It wasn’t until after her death that her estate authorised Alexandra Ripley write the sequel Scarlet.

  16. I can relate to the “I feel bored with my clothes” sometimes. The winter here is long and I wear the same two pairs of pants and handful of tops soooo much. I like my clothes very comfortable too, so I almost always wear a jersey top. I found a great quality brand that makes solid colored cotton-linen mix jersey tunic dresses and long sleeve tops for winter. There’s always a small design detail to keep them more interesting, which I like! These age and fade beautifully too despite many many wearings and washings.

    I also keep a few pieces with a little more flare, for the days I just don’t feel like the same thing again. I was just questioning whether to keep or declutter some of these as I wear them less than my fave jersey pieces, but then I thought that I was going to have those “I’m bored with my wardrobe” days again and then I’m always glad to wear one of these and won’t be tempted to buy something new.

    Buying less I now always go for ethical, fair trade, organic. Or handmade – I have started sewing again and I plan to sew my daughter’s clothes as much as I can, using vintage and ecological/fair trade fabrics, and knitting her woollies and such.
    It was just beautiful seeing her in my hand sewn dress today (before she got it soaked..) 😀

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      it is always nice to have those few things that you only wear occasionally that make you feel a little special. I have a couple of those myself for the days where I just feel frumpy in my other everyday clothes. It is nice to make cloths for your children. Both my mum and my mother-in-law used to make clothes for my children when they were little. I used to make things for them too so they had a lot of handmade items. I have to confess I still have a few of them of the knitted items I made for them stashed away.

  17. Two dresses got put into the give-away pile. The color/fit/comfort just wasn’t all that great for me.

    I am not going to go shopping or even think about replacing them. I’ve got a couple of other dresses that I love to wear and I’ll wear those until they fall apart. And for everything else, there’s my basic one pair of LEVI’S and fitted white t-shirts (my standard uniform).

    • Hi Annabelle,
      comfort reigns supreme I think. Many of the other responses talk of getting rid of items that just were comfortable enough. Don’t you just love those items that a so right that you just want to wear them until the fall apart. Great value for money pieces ar the best!

  18. Hurray for those of us who will only shop at thrift stores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Funny story, actually, (now that Colleen has me on a bit of humor), I remember shopping at my favorite thrift store (one which I regularly donate too, also), and finding a darling top, trying it on, buying it, only to realize when I got home that it probably was a top I gave away many weeks prior to that shopping experience!!! DAH! After wearing it once, I realized WHY I initially gave it away to begin with, and BACK IT WENT to the thrift store. Oh the silly things we do! (or at least I do).

    That just goes to show that I’ve got to take MORE time when shopping (at thrift stores, if I need an item) to make sure it is PERFEKT, otherwise I’ve got to slap the back of my own hand and tell myself to PUT IT BACK ON THE RACK!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or just stay out of the store altogether, ahh, hello silly me!

    • Annabelle, you are such a clown. I vote for the stay out of the thrift store altogether option. You may only go there to drop things off. 😉

  19. I have two items that don’t fit my needs. One is a black cocktail dress bought for a formal wedding over 2 years ago. It fits and looks nice but I haven’t had occasion to wear it since. Keep or let it go – hard decision. The other is a dark denim jeans jacket. The color near my face is not attractive. I have held onto it because I like the look on other people. I think I’ll let it go this fall. Great questions!

    • Hi Juhli,
      I am surprised you haven’t had the occasion to wear that cocktail dress. I suppose it depends on the cut as to how versatile it would be. I have a black dress that is just right. It is a synthetic knit fabric that is cut nicely and can be dressed up and down depending on the occasion. I wear it often.
      Denim jackets can be a bit hit or miss. I had a cute one once but it drove me crazy because it was just that bit too tight on the shoulders. Double denim (denim jacket with denim jeans) is a fashion no no too which limits the use.

      • You are right – it is the style of the dress. I was recovering from surgery when I had to shop for it, had little time to find something to wear and latched on to this one for a good price. I also just don’t wear dresses now and think a dressy top with black slacks would work better.

  20. Haha, Annabelle,
    you’re spending too much time in Germany! But the thrift store example is a great experience and perfekt 😉 to show that we are not really making that many mistakes in decluttering as we later on think. I have been “shopping” in my fleamarket boxes before (the place clothes usually go first because I find the attempt to sell every now and then not only rewarding moneywise but also when it comes to emotional attachment. Through the fleamarket the clothes somehow stop being “my clothes” so much and I can let them go.) Nearly every item I took back did not make it in the end. Except a wollen jacket but that is due to having become slightly less sensitive to wool than I used to be so now it’s not that itchy anymore …

    Colleen, since the wardrobe in one of the few areas that I feel quite successful in when it comes to decluttering I’ll get back later with a few “secrets” (well, maybe not secrets, I guess you listed pretty much everything already, little miss perfect … so: just my take on it then ;-))
    But now I have to head off, enjoy myself.

    • Hi Ideealistin,
      how cheeky you are. You mission now is to come up with something that I missed on the list. I am expecting great things from you! No pressure of course. 😉

  21. Juhli,
    if the jacket otherwise is great, have you thought about bleaching or dying it?

    • No I hadn’t thought of that – I’ll have to try it on when it gets cooler and see if the cut and fit make it worth doing that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  22. I love this discussion and the stories that other folks have shared. One odd thing that I deal with is my sentimental clothing. I have a hard time letting go of things that signify an important era in my life. A high school prom Lana, a hippie Lana, Lana when she lived in a different country and dated this one guy, etc, etc… I still have some old clothing from all these periods of my life, and dumping it seems like throwing part of my identity away. So I give myself time and space to overcome the attachment, and when the time is right, I naturally and easily let go and donate stuff to charity. I only keep a few keepsakes for each important era.

    • Lana B.,
      Oh what wonderful memories…ok, here I go on my soap box again…can you cut up the clothing items into shapes and make a quilt? Or add them to a canvas to hang onto the wall??? Or frame??? Can you make them into pillow covers?….etc…get creative!!!( that is if you can bear to cut them up!!!).

      Lots of options, and since they mean so much to your life, do something more than just let them hang in your closet (or folded on a shelf).

    • Hi Lana B,
      if you have photos of yourself in these outfits maybe you should frame them in a collage frame and put them on the wall so you can see them all the time and let the clothing items go.

  23. I had way more trouble with this than I should have, considering how many things in my closet I don’t wear. I NEED to lose weight, it’s becoming a burning necessity, and I have always found it so hard to find clothing that fits (I am very short with an even shorter waist and a definite pear shape) so I am too frugal to discard things which I am one or two sizes away from wearing again.

    However, I did pick two blouses to donate. One was an animal print and I’m not really an animal print person. What can I say – it fit at the time, that was rare, and I bought it. The other blouse is just the wrong shape for me. Like I said, I am a pear and it was meant for an apple. I love the colours. I like the material. But it doesn’t fit correctly, and continually creeps up my body and then I’m yanking it down.

    While I was rooting around in the back of the closet I also found a non-clothing item to get rid of – a brand new purse that was given to me long ago. I have never used it, and I never will. Enough said 🙂

    • Hi Jo,
      bodies aren’t they just a pain in the a*%$ ! It doesn’t matter how much weight you gain of lose there is not changing your actual shape, apple, pear, hourglass, we are stuck with what we were born with. My family tend to have long bodies, broad shoulders and short legs. It is interesting to see how your own children emerge from the gene pool. My daughter has her greatgrandmas height and legs, is flat chested like her mother and definitely a pear shape with tiny feet and hands with short little toes. Her bother is skinny as a bean pole, shortish like the males on his dad’s side and has toes like fingers (the exact oposite to his sister).

      I have noticed that animal prints seem to be the fashion for this Summer. I have noticed them in the shops already. I have never been an animal print girl so maybe I can look forward to another season of little clothing temptation. I do hope there are some nice everyday cotton dresses around though.

  24. I tend to avoid black and neutral colours as they really affect my personality and energy negatively- I know that sounds weird, but they just do.
    I have found it just as easy to make a workable capsule wardrobe with vibrant toning colours – lots of rich blues – teal, turquiose, petrol and denim (colour, not the cloth, I haven’t owned jeans for years). Throw in a warm orange cardie against those blues and I’m happy. I also have a purple and reds combo too.
    For my wedding, I have opted not to go for a long white dress – white drains the colour out of my face and I just can’t bring myself to buy an expensive dress I will only wear once. I am also not a spring chicken:)
    I havebought a lovely coloured dress for that 3 hrs of my life that I love and I really suits me. And I can’t wait to be able to wear it again.

    • Hi Katharine,
      good for you. You know what you like and what works for you and you stick with it. That is the best way to have a wardrobe that is efficient. Good choice for the wedding dress as well. You do know you have to send me a photo.

      • LOL, yes it is on the list Colleeen. You may be a bit too far away for a piece of wedding cake though…

        • Hi Katharine,
          I’ll only accept that ruling if you aren’t having a fruit cake. Otherwise I will be expecting my little tin in the mail. 😆 Actually do you remember those little wedding cake time. Maybe they didn’t have them in the UK but here they were about 3.5 x 2 x 1 inch with a cardboard wrapper where you wrote the wedding details. I remember selling them in the news-agency (paper shop) where I worked when I was a teenager.

          • Ha! We are too having fruit cake. I need to work out the technicalities of sendingcake by email,lol.
            I am sending out cake to relatives we couldn’t ask to the wedding and need to source some little boxes – when you say wedidng cake ‘time’ did you mean tins? Can’t recall seeing them over here but I need to look on ebay to find something.
            It’s already baked (by my oldest friend) andis maturing as we speak…

            • Hi Katharine,
              yes I did mean tins. Those silly dyslexic fingers of mine. I am sure that if you went to a shop the sold cake icing equipment you would also find these tins. You could also check out one of those storage container store.

  25. I passed along a pair of white trousers that I had been keeping because I was convinced they were a summer staple. Two things convinced me to let them go: 1) the pockets were fiddly and 2) I took up running a few years ago and am becoming fond of my legs, so I rarely like to cover them in the summer time, so my desire for trousers has greatly diminished.

    I also started a household inventory (inspired by the hurricane) and realized I had a few duplicates, so a nice tan top and a pink flowered top went out, since I had another nice tan top and another pink flowered top already. They just weren’t different enough to stay.

    • Hi Annie and welcome to 365 Less Things. I just ducked over to take a look at your blog which made me look at another and another. Half an hour later I am finally back here still trying to get to the end of my comment responses. I am looking forward to checking out your blog a little further when I have time.

      Thank you for adding your voice to this conversation. Good for you taking up jogging and wanting to show those legs off. Those white trousers seem to have more going against them then for them so you were most likely right to declutter them.

      I should start a household inventory and keep it up to date simply because we have to have one every time we move. They are also handy for insurance purposes especially in situation like you have just been through. I am glad you and yours were OK.

  26. I have already gotten rid of at least 500 items of clothing, my wardrobe is still full and so much so I am being photographed and interviewed for Grazia magazine about it all. I don’t know if I should run for the hills or be happy…I do know I feel embarrassed.

    • Hi Tasmanian Minimalist,
      what is it they say, any publicity is good publicity. Not sure Julia Gillard would agree with that though. I don’t think I could fit that many items of clothing in, ever if I used every closet in my house. You must have a big house.

  27. Sure have been enjoying all the responses on this subject. I’m motivated.

    • Hi Deb J
      Me too. I might just go up and give my wardrobe a once over and then post some photos for a Simple Saturday soon. Maybe tomorrow if I haven’t already got something in the pipeline. About time I checked on that.

      • Yes, it is for me too Deb & Colleen- I want to go over mywardrove again too. I think there are one or two piecs I need to pass on.

        And last Satudays conversation really motivated me to – I took a trolly load of stuff that has been hanging around for 2+ months to various chaity shops yesterday, including the vintage one with the old gifts I was hanging on too but didn’t want.
        Feels good. There was one piece I panicked about and went and asked for it back – they were lovely and gave it back. It’s an old curtain that hung in our old family home. The material is very vintage but I don’t find it attractive but the panic was horrible. Next plan is to take it to family next week and ask them kindly to donate it for me (I know they won’t have a problem with that) So hopefully, that is another way round this entimental attachment thing.

        • Hi Katharine,
          I am a little confused as to what difference it makes how you donate the curtain. Parting with it is parting with it either way you don’t have it any more. As a matter of research please explain this to me. There is obviously something I am missing here.

          By the way, I am not making fun of you I am just curious about the difference.

          • Yes I can see why you might be confused,lol.
            I think the panic and how I am choosing to over come it was not logical what so ever. But there seemed to be some issue around checking for definitely that no one else in the family would want the material. Even though intellectually I knew this would not be so.
            Rather than have to live through the anxiety, I just suddenly inately knew that triple checking that the family gave its consensous to its going I would feel ok, and that it would feel much easier to give it to family to take it to it’s final destination than me.
            Emotions and attachments are not always logical but that final hand over to the shop is sometimes the most difficult bit for me.

            • Hi Katharine,
              that makes a whole lot more sense to me now and was what I thought you meant. I can understand your anxiety and the choice to retrieve the item and run it by your family first. I am sure you will feel a whole lot better following this revised path. Good luck!

  28. Hi Colleen,
    here my two cents (from a person who did the scared-of-being-boring-mistake-buys too often) on clothing:
    – “the purse that matches everything is the purse that matches nothing” (I quote that from somewhere put can’t remember the source, sorry). That not only works for purses, it works for about everything. Don’t be too conservative in your choices but go with what you like. I once knew a girl who only wore red shoes. I thought she must have lots of shoes to afford red ones (which I saw not as staples but as extras) – she didn’t. Lesson learned from that: Don’t shy away from something extravagant you like just because you aim at a minimal wardrobe. People who don’t know you will think you must have a lot of clothes because of the luxury of indulging in something like red shoes. For those you see you more often you will be the girl with the red shoes (the silver jacket etc.). Both is good, I suppose. So: everything can be a staple if you want to wear it a lot.
    – don’t be set too fast on the opinion that certain things don’t go together. Wear a combination for a couple of times before you make up your mind. Things can grow on you. We tend to stick to the safe options but sometimes if we get over ourselves we can come up with much more combinations of the things we own than we think. Try everything with everything. What is lost if in the end you decide the combination of x with y won’t grow on you? Right! Nothing! You can only win here.
    – The two biggest weapons in fighting the potential boredoms of the wardrobe (I think) are colour and silhoutte. Little outbreaks from your pattern can have the highest impact here. I agree that going for different silhouttes sometimes makes for tops and bottoms that don’t go together (I sport both, tight and baggy bottoms so some of the wider/longer tops really cant be worn with the baggys ) but practicing what I preach in the point mentioned above: careful purchases and brave trying out lead to astonishing examples like a short dress that works just fine as a shirt tucked into the harem pants instead of worn on top like over tight jeans or leggings)
    -layering! (though Colleen seems to dislike it) perfect for wearing things all year.
    – Never buy anything that does not look good on its own/feels uncomfortable on it’s own. (no t-shirts that can only be worn underneath or woollen sweaters that can only be worn with a turtleneck underneath because they are so scratchy). It sometimes is okay to save a dress taht you feel a bit too chubby for (at the moment) by always wearing it with a jacket on top etc. but try to keep things simple. Too many musts make dressing too complicated. (Make shopping complicated (because you are so picky) and getting dressed easy!)
    -Know which accessories you really like and limit yourself to those. I for example love shoes and scarfs but don’t care at all for belts, handbags or jewelry. Be a minimalist in the areas taht you don’t care for anyway.
    – Forget to have-tos in dressing. You don’t need sandals even if most people do if you never wear them. You don’t need a summer jacket if you prefer sweater then.
    -Dresses are better than skirts – at least for those who mainly wear pants and would (due to the preferred silhoutte) not have many or any tops to match the skirts. And: dresses can look like skirts easily with something worn on top, but without a top a skirt would look … 😉

    • Good points, Ideealistin – enjoyed reading your comment and thinking about it as it relates to me. I can never get too much advice about clothing or actually decluttering in general, it seems.

  29. Thanks to Colleen I also do the hanger backwards thing now. I have a few tshirts to go at the end of the summer season (I’m in the UK). Particularly a sheer black number that I bought when heavily pregnant with #3 and thought it would make me less lumpy! But actually it doesn’t fit properly – I didn’t care then – and I don’t actually like the material. I took it on holiday last week and still didn’t wear it, not even as a pull over my swimsuit.

    Also a purple tshirt that I bought because it was long in the body – I’m big chested and so things that are cut too short just cut me off in the wrong place. I love the colour, it’s my favourite, but actually I think it is too clingy and every time I get it out I put it back in favour of something else.

    A pair of very old linen cut off trouser/culotte type things. I wore them to death and then they developed some tear/wear on the back. Finally got around to trying to mend them but it didn’t work and so they have to go, having not worn them because I needed to fix them! I shall look for a replacement next year as have had them for aeons and they were fabulous.

    I really also ought to get shot of a pair of brown linen trousers that I’ve never worn but I still hang onto the idea that I might lose the last few pounds that I need to in order to get into them. I lost a lot of weight two years ago and bought a blue pair in the size I was and so, inspired, bought the brown pair a size down (my ideal size) but never quite got there. Am going to have one more go and see if I can get there and if I don’t, I’ll accept (at 41) that my ideal size is possibly beyond me and my love of food & wine 🙂 Then they can go!

    • Hi LJayne,
      it sounds like you have made fair assessments fo the clothing that you should get rid of and are about ready to do just that. It does sound like you got your money’s worth out of those trouser/culottes and that reminded me of a pair I almost disposed of the other day. Like yours though mine have been favourites for a long time and they are comfortable so I will see what happen once the summer begins. I have so many other pairs thought so maybe I will come to my senses. As you can see from Saturdays post I don’t have a huge supply of clothes so I don’t mind holding on for a little longer.

      I hope you managed to lose that last little bit of weight so you can use your brown linen trousers. It seems you did pretty well with the original weight loss so if it doesn’t happen be happy with yourself and just let them go.

  30. Great information Colleen! I’m just beginning to get rid of my “stuff” and I recently cleared out a lot of my clothes.

    In the past five years I made some really poor lifestyle choices (excessive eating, drinking, continued smoking). I gained enough fat that my pants no longer fit, yet I stayed in denial (or hope) that I’d quickly return to my old sizes. This left me with no pants that fit, and spending days very uncomfortable because I was too proud to buy a few sizes up.

    So I changed all my bad habits and gave most of my ill-fitting clothes to thrift stores, and replaced them (from thrift stores) with about 3 pants that fit.

    My advice is to keep your wardrobe simple, and wear things that actually fit! Especially for men (our pride gets in the way).

    • Hi Brian,
      welcome to 365 Less Things and may I say how pleased I am you shared your story with us. I am even more pleased that you have turned your life around by changing those bad habits. And how thoughtful of you to chose to buy secondhand rather than new while you are in transition to a smaller size again, which I feel sure you will be in soon enough. I wish you good luck for a happy and healthy future and please join us here on a regular basis and let us know how you are getting on. My husband had also gained a little weight over several years but last year he turned that around by reducing carbohydrates in his diet. He feels so much better about himself now. We know first hand how expensive it can be to fluctuate in size so best to look after yourself get the weight to where you are happy and do what is needed to keep it that way. It is not only good for your health but also for your bank balance.