The Great Closet Purge Project

March 28, 2013

I aspire to have a Laura uniform: a closet with just a few basic pieces of clothing that all go together, that feel like me (I style I also aspire to that I like to call 'badass-business-comfort-with-pops--of-loud-color' style), and that have enough quality to last for a while.

When I realized that we were moving (last August), I took it as an opportunity to get rid of piles of things in our house: duplicate dishes, books we hadn't looked at since acting technique class in college, CD's we no longer listened to. It was great! And, inspired by Liz and her minimalist tendencies, I accomplished the first round of hacking into my closet.

I'm not a big shopper. But, I've gone through significant periods of thrift store madness, which had led to quite a collection of skirts that don't quite fit, polyester skorts from my age 24-28 retro 'just-pair-it-with-some-fake-pearls' phase, and stretched out, pilling shirts that I bought because they were just so cheap. Also: I had a considerable amount of gifted clothing that either was something I would never wear, or was that special array of colors that make my skin tone look vomit-y. Main point: all of this extra stuff made finding things to wear a chore, and made me feel cluttered.

So, in round 1, I weeded out anything that I knew I was never going to mend, never going to fit into, and that I hadn't worn in 6 months. I haven't missed anything I got rid of.

Disclaimer: there were 8-10 things in the laundry. And I think that this looks like fewer clothes than it actually is.

Donated: round 2

Then, a couple weeks ago, I tackled round 2. I got rid of wildly stretched out work-out t-shirts from musicals I've choreographed (sorry Guys & Dolls), saggy butted jeans, a totally not-my-style skirt, and 'but-it's-just-$10!' purses from even more thrifting adventures. There are a few things that I kept (professional-looking pants, layering t-shirts, the one dress I serve in) that I don't love, but which I don't have replacements for. Which brings me to another detail: I made a list of clothing that I'm in the market to buy-- right down to specific items and colors. I'm hoping that this prevents impulse thrift store and Target purchases. I find myself buying sweaters and t-shirts that either fall apart quickly, or don't fit quite right. Which is basically money down the toilet. I'd rather spent more money on something locally made or just of higher quality.

So, do I feel lighter having less shit? Yes. But, I'm still struck by the fact that I really always wear the same 15 things in various combinations. So-- in another month or two, I'll do another round. The Goodwill has a lot of donations coming their way. Or, maybe I'll host a clothing swap. The problem with clothing swaps, though, is the same problem I have with thrift stores: everything is cheap (or free), so it's tempting to take on things you don't actually need or completely want.

I'm aiming for this:

"If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." 
--William Morris

You can read about what's left in Liz's closet over here.
And Kathleen's thoughts on having fewer things in her closet over here.

What's your rule for buying and getting rid of your things?

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