Wednesday, April 27, 2011

REDUCE, reuse, recycle

Lately I've been struggling with trying to get rid of stuff. Partly just spring cleaning, partly because my house is becoming a storehouse with less & less room for me & my family. I decided to tackle my overstuffed closet (& dresser & laundry bins) but I've thus far found it impossible to whittle my wardrobe down to what I really need from the ridiculous stash that I have now. I'd like to end up with a closet that has just enough well-chosen & properly fitting, good quality pieces. At the moment I have a bedroom that looks like a rag-trade warehouse, full of a huge number of questionable quality items that I got on sale.

I tried a few years ago to start buying newer things that were better quality, but just ended up with a handful that were too precious to wear... & now I've grown out of them. I fear my post-baby butt will never get back into the lovely trousers I bought at Holt Renfrew & rarely wore. The Calvin Klein blouse I loved would probably still fit me & it's in lovely condition, but it's a little out of style by this point. I know that I'd have a beautiful set of clothes if I'd spent the same amount of money on a quarter as many items.

There's also the added complication that I don't want to expose my nicer clothes to all the drool, snot, spit-up, food, etc that my son gets on me daily. I feel like I need a special mom wardrobe: washable, no choking hazards or anything scratchy for Sprout when I hold him, perhaps stain-hiding. AND whatever I wear has to have convenient breastfeeding access, to boot. I've avoided buying a lot of specifically breastfeeding clothes--besides two tank tops I wear all the time & a few tops that I modified-- just wear the usual shirts & pull them up or aside. That said, I have bought quite a few cheap t-shirts & henley-style tops that work for boob access.

When I try to get rid of anything I just find myself rationalizing why I should keep each item I pick up. I feel like I need some sort of structure or formula to go by when reducing my clothing load. Something that will allow me to be more ruthless, or at least somewhat objective... Perhaps I should try something like what Shai did with her Closet Project. Or maybe I need to get nominated for some reality TV show on reducing clutter or mommy makeovers...

So, my dear readers, perhaps you can help me out. How do you keep the closet clutter down? Have you ever participated in a wholesale purge of your wardrobe? Do you have any rules or tips that helped?


  1. I just did this, and brought my closet down to 1/4 the size, here's how:
    First I asked a friend to help me by coming over and being judge & jury - I had to make a case for everything that stayed. I kept a couple suits and vintage dresses even though I wear them rarely, but managed to part with my corset and spandex skating dress (even though the later I could still technically fit into, it doesn't look good, I'm not sure it ever did). Of the items I still don't fit into I was only allowed a handful (something to work towards). The rest went into 3 piles; 1 to give away, one to consignment, one to throw away - no one wants my tattered leggings, or lanolin stained tank tops.
    So there you are, hope it helps.

  2. I went to a clothing swap a while ago with a large group of women (all mamas in various stages of childrearing) where one very organized friend used the common area of her condo and put up lots of tables with signs for shoes, shirts, etc. When you got there, you put all your clothes in the appropriate spots, and shopped around for things that others had dropped off. Got rid of a few non-fitting things and picked up a few really cute things, had a BLAST because we were all eating and drinking wine! Everything left over went to Dress for Success.

  3. The suggestions the other readers gave you are what I used to do but eventually the closet would expand again.
    What is the psychology behind your attachment to the clothes you can't part with? Bust it.
    I'm glad my clothing project inspired you!


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