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May 18, 2011 / Danielle

The Great Purge (Part 2)

This previous Saturday night, I got home from rehearsal early. There’s so much to do  – I have nothing to eat, the bath is grimy, and my bedroom is an absolute pit – but I opted, instead, to begin some of the streamlining of my closet. Yes, y’all, I started sorting through the “it’s gonna go” pile – and – gulp – adding to it.

I started with some of the things in my drawer that, ahem, still had tags on. Gone. Yes, it was a wrench – yes, I made the mistake of trying one on and got instantly uncertain – but as soon as I’d tracked down the receipts and folded them all in a bag to return, I felt just as quickly better. Y’all? That’s fifty dollars. No. joke. That’s a week’s worth of groceries that I gained back just by returning things that I’m already not wearing*.

Next, I started with the things I constantly put on and take right back off – these shoes, for example. I love how I look in them, but I’ll be damned if I’m ever able to make it out of the house in them. I put them on again, just to wear about as I worked through my clothing, and wouldn’t you know it – off, again, inside of ten minutes. That’s officially a game foul; three strikes, and you’re out.

All in all, I gathered about twenty, thirty pieces of clothing to move on. A few of them you’ve seen (two of them appear in this very outfit), and some you haven’t – which is precisely why I’m nixing them. If I don’t like them enough to wear in the last 120-odd days, why am I keeping them at all?

So what am I going to do with this new little stash of unloved goodies?

An excellent question. To be honest, I’d considered having a blog sale – but nothing that I’m selling feels wildly exciting enough to offer the internet. It’s a motley crew of skirts, dresses, odds and ends. And truthfully? It feels somewhat awkward asking you all if you’d like to buy any of the things I’d deemed not workable for my closet.  Something about that just feels off. (Not to mention the questionable integrity of my profiting from the promoting of your buying clothes . . . on my ‘not-shopping’ blog.)

So, I’m turning to the Buffalo Exchanges, Plato’s Closets, and Crossroads of Chicago; hopefully, they’ll trade me a little cash for some of my goodies. I’m also offering up odds and ends to my friends. (You’ll be happy to know that my roommate was delighted with the little green dress I had sorted for giveaway in the last post). (Does it make me a dork that I’m happy to know that? That I’m secretly very delighted that my formerly loved but sadly unworkable little dress has someone to love it?)(If loving clothes and wanting them to find a good home is wrong . . . then I am as wrong as wrong can be.)

And of course, anything unwanted by friends or resale is going to Village Discount or Goodwill. Once decided?  I am brutal in my rejection.

All of this said? Yes, I’m aching. I want to say that it just feels amazing and like a breath of fresh air – but it doesn’t. (Rather, it doesn’t just feel that way.) I’ve always been bad about hoarding, and the longer I shop my closet, the more astounded I am by just how much is goddamn in it. And how little of it, therefore, I even wear.

Even so, it is an absolute wrench to get rid of even the things I clearly am not wearing, and do not need. Because I loved acquiring them, or because I loved the ideas and lifestyle I associated them with, I am definitely feeling anxiety and pangs about moving on. But – but but but. I am also feeling the following: joy about my movement towards a workable, wearable closet, exhilaration in the zen idea of needing less and less, and pride in myself for being able to see the big picture and keep the most useful perspective.

This ain’t gonna kill me. (It’s gonna make moving to sunny California? Minimum, one box lighter.)

(Let’s keep working on more boxes.)

(Deep breaths. Away we go.)

*Sadly, my fedora may be among them. Y’all, I would totally keep it – I got it for such a good deal – but I just can’t ever see myself actually wearing it. That’s where Jenny Lewis and I part ways.**

**If I lose 30 pounds and develop a penchant for eyeliner? I’ll buy another next year.


Leave a Comment
  1. jesspgh / May 18 2011 8:45 pm

    Your no nonsense approach is really encouraging because once I decide to part with stuff, unless I take it to the resale or donation place right away I toil. And then I start to “shop” the bags slated for weeding. 😦 Embarrassing but true! Only when I make the trip to donate and sell right away do I resist the temptation to look back.

    I love Jenny Lewis, btw! Loved her as a child actress. Love her as a modern songstress.

    • Danielle / May 19 2011 1:33 pm

      Jess – it is definitely proving harder than it was when I wrote that, ugh Why do we get so attached to clothes? they’re just clothes!
      But I do exactly the same thing with my bags of slated give-aways – though, in some ways, that helps, since if I’m craving it, that’s usually a sign I’m still wearing it. Being this ruthless is relatively new, and it may require building up some reserves of bravery . . . again, why do I get so attached? ridiculous!
      I’ve been trying to steal my style wholesale from Jenny Lewis ever since I cut my bangs . . . .

  2. Rachel / May 19 2011 1:24 pm

    Congratulations on getting rid of those items from your closet. Would you consider hiring a stylilst or image consultant to help you with your closet editing? Or if that’s too expensive maybe just ask a friend with a good eye for fashion to help you purge and edit? A “second set of eyes” might be very helpful.

    • Danielle / May 19 2011 1:37 pm

      Rachel, that’s a great idea! But you’re right, probably too pricey at this juncture (with the move and all). I find, too, that since I seem to attach so much emotional feeling to clothes (memories, mostly) that I’m not sure I’d be able to be reasonable about it? Right now I’m fascinated by how much I cling to certain things because I loved where I went in them, or they were such good deals, or they’re associated with an important event. I seem to be incapable of seeing them just as the practical objects they are – have you experienced this?

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