There’s nothing like moving to show you how much crap you really own and make you want to become a minimalist! Just working in our closet, I filled 2 giant trash bags, 1 suitcase, and 2 carry-ons with clothes that we rarely or never wear. And I’m not even done with that category of clothing. I’m like, ashamed to even be typing that, even though I’ve already confessed to you that we have too much junk.
I can’t believe we paid money for all these clothes and, even more, have held on to them for so long. Part of not wanting to get rid of it is an aversion to waste and part is that, for the ones that we’ve never really worn, I’ve been thinking we should sell them to recoup some of the money we spent.
We’ve made two really great steps this weekend toward freeing ourselves of this physical and emotional baggage of owning clothes we never wear.
1) We physically sorted our clothing.
The stuff Kyle never wears had been mixed in with the stuff he does, and there were some shirts he still wore that he probably shouldn’t because they had become so shabby-looking. While I was working on the closet, he asked me to go through his shirts and sort them into “keep,” “donate/sell,” and “trash/recycle.” Of the 70-ish shirts in the closet (there were more in the laundry, but he obviously was wore those recently!), I sorted about 45 in to “keep,” 10 to “donate/sell,” and 15 to “trash/recycle.” Kyle then went through and rescued a few shirts from the “donate/sell” category, insisting that he finds occasion to wear them, but he largely agreed with my assessment. He also picked out underwear and socks that he no longer wears (we recently bought new ones). I shoved all his “trash/recycle” clothes along with a few of my own into a trash bag.
We looked up where we could recycle clothes and decided to take them to our city recycling center this week. We have to take the shoes we want to recycle to the Nike outlet store, which is like 45 minutes away and will be a special trip.
I had previously sorted out my clothes that are in good shape but that I never wear into a separate part of our closet, so I just added that group to Kyle’s “donate/sell” shirts. We resolved to not move these clothes to our next place so they are going to be out of our hands within the week. There is one kind of nice outfit in particular that I have literally never worn and the thought of not reselling it kind of grates on me, but not more than the fact that I bought that outfit 9 years ago and have held on to it this whole time for just that thin reason.
I don’t have time over the next week to try to sell this stuff on ebay or craigslist and frankly I don’t think it’s high enough quality to go to a consignment shop. So it’s going to become a donation and whatever we can’t donate we’ll also recycle! I can’t tell you how good it already feels to have a plan to not bring this stuff to our next house and I’m sure it will feel even more amazing once we actually go through with it.
I really think holding on to the hope of selling that clothing was detrimental to our emotional energy because it held us back from getting rid of it. It doesn’t matter how much something is worth if you never take action toward selling it. (Ugh, I just realized I’m also holding on to a bunch of old pairs of jeans for the pipe dream of making some kind of craftsy quilt or bag or something with them. I should just admit that’s never going to happen!)
Having a lot of clothes doesn’t both me, actually, it’s just having all this stuff that we never wear. I actually really want to do that stereotypically female thing of buying more clothes to fill up the newly vacated space in our closet, but I’m having a hard time finding things I like enough to buy. In going through my clothes I realized I have a ton of shirts from New York and Company. Like, all my most frequently worn tops are from that store. However, in the last year or so I’ve noticed that they have stopped carrying, at least in-store, shirts made of the kind of casual (but not totally cheap/see through) material that I like to wear to work. I recently bought two tops from the store (this one in teal and this one in maroon), but they’re too nice to do lab work in so I’m restricting them to evening/weekend wear for now. I need to find another source for monocolor, thicker-fabric, well-structured T-shirts.
I hope take the inspiration I’ve generated from working on this slice of our possessions to apply it to other zones in our house, because they are in serious need of culling as well!
Have you ever found freedom in getting rid of possessions? Do put the effort into reselling your used stuff? What area of your house is in the most need of downsizing?
photo from Free Digital Photos