Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleaning out closets

Today was one of those days that I decided to attack a closet.  Not just any closet mind you, but MY clothes closet.  That is a hard thing to do.  After all, if I only lose a little weight I'll still fit into that.  Never mind that it's 20 years old and the style is not coming back, or if it does at least I can say I'm too old for that style and will never wear it again! 

I really haven't changed weight in quite a few years so most of the stuff in the closet fits.  It's more of a matter of why is it in there if I never wear it?  A couple of years ago I got rid of a lot of clothes.  How?  For the new year I turned all the hangers the opposite direction.  Normally I hang the clothes straight in with the hook of the hanger facing the back.  I changed every single hanger so the hook of the hanger faced the front.  When I wore something I would replace it back into the closet with the hanger facing toward the back.  That way I didn't have to remember if I wore something or not.  The hanger told the real truth. 

The next new year, after going through a summer and winter, I removed the clothes that I hadn't worn.  Almost...  After all, the fancy stuff rarely gets worn.  If I was only invited to one formal occasion then of course only one of the four or five fancy things was worn.  No, have to keep those.  What about a sweater that I'm sure I'll wear next time.  Must have just run out of cold winter days.  OK, I'll save that one too.

The problem is it's now coming upon the third new year.  There were still a few things that had the hanger facing the wrong direction.  It's time to take them out of the closet.  I know.  I can give it to a grand kid.  Yes, that's what they all want, the clothing from a 50+ grandparent.  Sure.  Why didn't I think of that when my grandparents were going through their things?  Why?  Because I wouldn't be caught dead in most of their stuff. 

Now there are some things that the kids do like.  They all clamor over my work t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I pass those out as gifts.  Funny, used t-shirts are cherished.  And besides, they look really cool in them and all their friends want my work shirts too.  Sorry.  I have 11 grand kids, that's enough to pass my clothes to.  I buy new uniform clothes each year.  I get paid a uniform allowance, and unlike others I don't pocket the money and wear crappy looking clothes.  I actually buy new t-shirts and pants each year.  Keeps Americans working, you know.

Back to the closet.  There are some clothes in there that are really fun looking clothes...if I was 20!  Some probably are from when I was 20.  There are tank tops, t-shirts both short and long sleeve, pull over shirts, button up shirts, sweaters, and other tops that don't even fit into a category.  Funny thing is, during the weekend I'll wear old uniform t-shirts so I don't wreck my good ones.  How many good ones do I need? 

Also, I've been thinking a lot about the colors of my clothing.  Do I want to go for the bright, loud clothes?  Do I want to go for the non-camo but still fade into the background clothes?  I remember my CCW instructor reminding us that the more we look like we are ready for a fight the higher on the list of "strike that person first" if the bad guy really wants to start a fight.  Better to not stand out.  No camo (unless you are actually going hunting), no political sayings, no "my guns are bigger than your guns", or anything else that will let you stand out. 

When I packed for my trip to Hawaii, I took a bunch of clothes and wore only a few.  I washed my clothes and hung them up to dry.  When we went back east during the summer it was the same.  Only a few select pieces, other than the fancy stuff for the wedding, but guess what?  They were generally the same pieces that I had packed for Hawaii.  This should be telling me something. 

My clothing stash is getting pared down.  Sort of.  I still want to be able to make sure that I don't run out for myself and the grand kids.  What if today was the day?  No more shopping trips to Target, Sears, or Penney's to pick up new, non-stained clothing for us to wear.  If today was the day I don't think it would matter if the clothes were new and non-stained.  After all, it wouldn't be like we'd be going anywhere that would need fancy clothes, now would we?  Besides, I can sew and I do have a supply of fabric and notions.

I know.  I will take out half.  That's right.  Half (work clothes not included).  Not half my jeans.  Half my pants.  I have four pairs of blue jeans.  They all stay.  What about the 5 or 6 or 10 pairs of woolen pants?  What about the 5 or 6 or 10 pairs of other pants?  All I wear are jeans.  I only have jeans for my pants in the trailer for my backup, bug-out clothes.  I certainly don't need fancy pants if I'm bugging out, do I? 

Sweaters?  I love sweaters.  I hate being cold.  But even though I wore all but two of my sweaters when I had the hangers switched around, some of them I picked solely because the hangers were switched around and I wanted to make sure that I wore everything.  If I was just choosing, I would not have picked "that" one.  Some of those can go too.  Some can be put away for the grand kids...but not too many.  Unless I want to wait until they are in their 40s or 50s to give it to them. 

T-shirts?  I have some hanging up in the closet but I have a drawer filled with t-shirts.  I have to keep three or four or five of the red ones.  You never know how many grand kids I'm going to take to a football game.  Red t-shirts, red sweatshirts.  Show school spirit even if I didn't go to FS.   Other than red, do I really need two or three of each color?  I have some friends who make blankets out of their old t-shirts.  They cut out the front design and use it as a quilt square.  That's a great idea if the t-shirts were really that important.  They aren't.  I can tell you a story behind each of my t-shirts that has some fun picture or design but is it worth giving up my nice wool blanket or my real hand pieced quilt for a t-shirt blanket.  No. Then the t-shirts need to go. 

The pile of clothes is large enough to completely clothe one or two other people.  It will all go to charity. 


  1. It's always hard to let clothes go, I pared down a lot when we moved to the apartment. Funny thing though, after I got rid of stuff I got a lot of barely used hand-me-downs from a relative who gained weight and wanted to pare down. Now my closet if full again! You've inspired me to pared down yet again.

  2. Funny, we're going through the same thoughts to make room in our small closet. I have a set of uniforms going back to the 60's collecting dust. I like your turn the coat hanger around idea.

    For me it's the discipline to get rid of the clothes and stuff that I don't use after I figure out what needs to go.

  3. I cleaned out two closets after reading your post, we still have more than enough clothes. Thanks for the nudge. Tricia