The Great Big Wardrobe Destuff

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As I said before, I was a bad blogger on the photo front with this. It would have been so dramatic!

“Here,” I would say, flourishing my hands like a game show hostess, “is the before. And now…” *cue dramatic music* “the after!” *audience gasps and then bursts into wild applause*

Sadly, you’re gonna have to take my word for it and put up with the iPhone pictures from the last post as to how crammed in there all the clothing was. However, I will give you lists and talk about how very hard this was to do. And how completely f*cking awesome it is now that I’ve done it.

Things I got rid of:

  • 1 pair of wide leg jeans (2 sizes too big)
  • 1 pair beige capri pants
  • 1 big black waterfall-type cardigan
  • 1 beige jacket (2 sizes too big)
  • first ever handknit scarf (it was looking BAD)
  • 2 super skinny striped scarves
  • 1 ratty hoodie
  • 1 ratty sweatshirt
  • 2 long sleeved shirts – never worn
  • 2 beige cardigans (one sporty, one nice) – never worn
  • 4 ancient tank tops
  • 1 ugly brushed cotton layering tank top
  • 4 ancient, ratty t-shirts
  • 1 yellow, ruffled t-shirt (what was I thinking?)
  • 1 3/4 sleeve white lightweight cotton shirt
  • 1 pair leg warmers
  • 1 pair flannel pjs
  • 1 pair flannel pj pants (holes in them)
  • 1 pair cotton pj pants (ditto)
  • 1 pair OTK cotton socks
  • 1 fascinator, 3 necklaces, several brooches
  • 1 pair chunky heeled sandals
  • 1 pair of black tennis shoes
What I kept:

Cold Bunny

  • 8 t-shirts to wear around the house (various weights)
  • 2 pairs cotton pj pants (about 4 sizes too big but they’ll hold on until next year)
  • 2 pairs cotton shorts for house wear (ditto)
  • 1 pair flannel pjs
  • 2 pj tops (tank tops)
  • 1 pair of leggings (to double as pj bottoms as needed)
  • 3 long sleeve shirts for house wear (various weights)
  • 2 collegiate sweatshirts
  • 1 grey oversized turtleneck sweater from H&M
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • 1 pair flannel pj pants
  • 2 pairs cheap but comfy flip flops (company went out of business and I wear these all summer so I bought 2)
  • all the handknit socks

Big Green Comfy Sweater

  • 2 pairs of jeans (bootleg, skinny)
  • 4 sweaters: handknits – Idlewood, Gamine, Olive. storebought – grey wool sweater from GAP
  • 2 maxi dresses (yellow flowered, black)
  • 3 lightweight cotton scarves
  • 3 basic tank tops (khaki, grey, black)
  • 1 lightweight pale pink brushed cotton tank top for layering (excellent in winter)
  • 2 nicer t-shirts (grey, hot pink)
  • 2 basic long sleeve shirts for layering (burgundy, navy)
  • 1 denim button up shirt
  • 1 grey sporty knit jacket
  • 1 khaki linen jacket
  • 1 long lightweight beige boyfriend style cardigan
  • 1 beige heavy cotton cardigan
  • 1 khaki winter jacket
  • 1 charcoal cashmere cardigan/coat
  • 2 pairs of tennis shoes (one brown/tan sporty trainer type, one cream casual to-be-worn-as-flats type)
  • 1 pair gold leather flip flops
  • 1 pair brown leather Lucchese ankle boots
  • 1 pair brown leather knee high Docs
  • 2 pairs wool knee socks (black, purple)

A New Shoe

Looks like a lot still, right? The top half is stuff I wear around the house. Since I’m mainly housebound, this is what I wear day in and day out. It’s also seasonal. It gets cold here so the giant sweatshirts and layering pieces are necessary. The second half is what would be considered my actual wardrobe. There’s holes in it: I need some plain t-shirts, a stripey t-shirt and some non-jean trousers (all on order). I also need a nice top/dress and as mentioned above, some new pj pants. But! This is it. I have already (and more than once) found myself looking at catalogs/websites/Pinterest thinking “oooh! I want that!” only to stop and remember that I don’t need it. That there’s no room for it, either physically or mentally.

Another bonus? J’s been shocked and pleasantly surprised at how quickly I can get ready to go now. It is no longer a case of trying on 10 different shirts and two different pairs of jeans. Now it’s a matter of figure out the weather, pick a pair of jeans, a shirt, any layers that are needed (and with so few options and the knowledge that almost everything works with everything else, that’s a dawdle), any knitwear that is needed and done. It takes me about 5 minutes now. Whereas it used to take *from* 30 minutes just to do the “what to wear?” thing. This is So. Much. Better.

Flat Pack Boogie

Now, why this was hard. The most annoying side effect was how many trips to Ikea this project has taken. 3 in one week. Mostly for returns. Which. Ugh. Although, we did find a really awesome Starbucks so at least that last trip wasn’t too bad.

But while that was just annoying, this has been actually very difficult. There’s something so…terrifying about only having the basics. Not having a wealth of choice. Never mind that all the books say we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. And there’s also (for me) the ability to always acquire more. Now when I go to a store, it’s boring. I’ll look for whatever it is I came in for (yesterday it was shoes) and that’s it. I don’t dally, I don’t browse, I don’t look at all. This is such a difference from my early adult/teen training of shopping as a hobby. I feel like I’ve lost something only truthfully, I always hated shopping. And the mall. And that whole automatic buying thing. In high school (by far my most clothing happy period) I had 20 pairs of jeans. I’d say 5-8 pairs were for work. The rest were just jeans I’d wanted. Did I wear them all? No. I wore the same 3 pairs of 501s over and over and over and over and over again. And when they fell apart (as Levi’s do), I went and bought more of the exact. same. style. So that was 10 pairs for what? Decoration? Taking up drawer space? My family is big into shopping. It’s just a habit I picked up without really thinking about it.

I think having lots of clothing was like a safety net. And I bought more and more stuff to make it even bigger. I don’t know where the fear came from. Society? Family? I still have enough clothing. But there’s something so frightening about enough. However, (and here’s where I got organized with the picture taking), there is nothing frightening about this:

Destuffing: Result

That’s our closet now. And while I don’t have a before, I can tell you it was packed. Floor, shelf, clothing. Before I couldn’t fit another pair of shoes in there, let alone a big chest of drawers. (And no, that’s not all my clothes. I have a dresser as well. But it’s no longer packed to the absolute brim AND there’s no longer a separate place where we store all our out of season clothing. All of it, seasonal or not, is either in that closet or in my dresser.) All I have to do to calm my mind is open up those doors and marvel. Now I can’t even tell you why I had so much clothing. I don’t miss it. I don’t want it. What was I so scared of? When this is the result, how is that remotely scary?

Now my big problem is knitting. If I can let go of extraneous clothing and feel better for it, can I drastically cut my queue and only knit what I’ll wear? I have a REALLY hard time knitting things I’ll wear. 90% of my knitting thus far has been frogged and destashed or given and swapped away. Let’s say that I figure out what I’ll wear and ONLY knit that. If I have 3 handknit sweaters and another on the needle, do I need to knit more? Obviously not. If I have a Clapotis, 2 giant cowls, 2 big shawls and 2 smaller shawls, do I need to knit any more? I think a laceweight shawl or two for summer evenings would be useful but otherwise, no. So I just don’t knit as much. And that’s a hobby that I will miss. I can’t knit socks which is a shame because sock yarn is beautiful and they’re always useful. I still have puffy hexes to knit and once I get some needles that don’t kill my hands, I suppose that’s going to be the go-to project.

Quince & Co. Osprey

On the other hand, if I really stick to the “only knit what I need/am going to wear” then I’ll have to start actually wearing the stuff I’ve knit. Once they wear out, I can knit something new. Raise your hand if you have knit beautiful things and don’t ever wear them because they’re too nice. Or too expensive or too pretty. There’s another fear about to bite the dust. I’m going to wear gorgeous knitwear all the time now. Because I knit it out of beautiful yarn in lovely colors. It took time and effort. And to borrow the popular catchphrase, yes, damnit. I AM WORTH IT.

9 comments Write a comment

  1. WOOHOO! You inspired me to tackle my closet this weekend. Although I still don’t have the fancy wood hangers. Next Ikea trip, maybe. :)

    I do have a couple of things I only wear for special occasions because they’re too fancy for everyday stuff. But my goal is to knit some lace stuff that I can totally wear with jeans or casual dresses. I’ve been knitting so much for other people I still have hardly anything of my own. Hoping I can change that.
    melissa recently posted..in focusMy Profile

  2. Wow! Great work done there. Yes, it can be terrifying to let go…terrifying. As any destuffer knows though it’s.so.worth.it. I’m impressed with your wardrobe and choices. So we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time? That is probably more accurate than I would want to admit. Favorite pair of jeans…check. Favorite shirts…check. Okay, I may need to re-think the wardrobe AGAIN! Shoes are just down right impressive. That is a challenge. Plus, we have so many different weather conditions….I tell myself. Probably don’t need all the heels from my twenties that just don’t get worn while chasing four children. The knitting dilemma is a tough one. I say absolutely start using that delicious yarn for yourself. You are totally worth it! Maybe a bit less knitting leaves room for more Writing? Reading? Playing? You are inspiring the masses with this Phoe. Just to see that it can be done and know how great you feel about it is amazing! Here’s to my wardrobe de-stuffing!
    Kellen recently posted..Shift::My Profile

  3. i grew up with a mom that seemed to troll the malls for the perfect outfit every weekend and am therefore not much of a shopper. i’m a repeat buyer. fave pair of levis? i’ll buy several pair. fave long sleeve tee from the gap? several in shades of black, white, grey. i don’t own much clothes-wise and if i ever had to dress up i’d be screwed!

    anyhoo…congrats on the great destuffing! i know it can be scary but i find that cleaning, purging, organizing can be quite liberating too :)
    amanda {the habit of being} recently posted..weekendingMy Profile

  4. Awesome! Congratulations on destuffing the clothing and figuring out what you really want. I definitely need to follow suit just as soon as I can actually get to any of my clothes. Bins in the garage just don’t count. Seeing your “kept” clothing list was awesome since it shows you don’t have to pare down to absolutely nothing to have a “functional” wardrobe.
    April recently posted..Walking: Week 4My Profile

    • Yeah, that was my fear too – that a bare bones wardrobe was going to be 3 pieces. It’s sort of what’s usable vs what I *think* is usable.

  5. I hate shopping. I buy the majority of my clothes thrifted. I have been trying to not buy things if they kind of work just so I have enough clothes to get to laundry day. When I do that they tend not to get worn because of how I feel wearing them. My difficulty is when I find something I love about a piece (great fabric or detail) and think I might alter it to fit better. Plus I don’t think any off the rack fits well. I am around 5 foot and have a G or H bra size. (I have never seen one of those sizes in stores). I buy small mens shirts so there won’t be a button gap but then the rest is like a tent….

    • Ugh, yeah. Sizing is a whole other thing. Altering works well if you can do it yourself or be vigilant about getting a tailor to do it. Good luck!