Throw-Away Time

‘Tis a very good season to purge the closet. PeaceBang is trying to do that today along with other Horrible Chores, despite the fact that leaf mold allergies are making her miserable.

What’s got to go:

> T-shirts and shells with stains that just won’t go away. It’s depressing and demeaning to know that if your jacket flaps open, someone might see that old grease stain. Tear the shirt up and make it into rags. You deserve clean clothes.

> Pants that are so old and worn that the hems are shreddy and the crotch and butt seams coming apart or the inner thighs all worn away. You know what I mean. I love my old classic Style & Co. black pants like mad, but I just can’t revamp them any more. They’re seven years old. It’s time to retire them to the Goodwill bag.

> Shoes You Never Wear. Give them away or let friends adopt them.

> Hopelessly dated blouses or jackets. Even though everything comes back into style again eventually, it is never exactly the same trend. Choose judiciously from among your Trendy Items which to save. You don’t need a full storage closet of tie-back babydoll tops. Save a few for yourself or your daughter and give the rest away.

> Things that don’t work and never will. Like that wide bronze belt that slips open every time you sit down because it was frankly made like crap. Ditch it.

> Sweaters that are either hopelessly misshapen, so pilled that nothing can help them, or have holes. Give them away. Let them keep someone warm. Save one or two special cozies for your days out of the public eye and send the others off to new homes or to meet new life as a craft project.

> Skirts that Never Fit Right (don’t they just depress you when you try them on? Why do that to youself?). Release them back into the wild and let them fit someone else right.

> Ties or tops with purely sentimental, and not practical, value. Store them if you must, but take them out of your closet lest they give you the false impression that you have enough ties or tops for your actual life.

> Oxford shirts with missing buttons or a burn on the collar. Either replace the buttons or give it someone who will. If the burn is obvious, give the shirt to Goodwill. You aren’t going to wear it on your day off, so don’t save it.

> Anything with a bleach stain on it. You learned your lesson; don’t punish yourself any longer. Get rid of the garment.

> Your sock and pantyhose drawer: dump the mateless socks, and throw out the hose with tears or holes in them.

PeaceBang noticed last night that her socks seemed very small. She removed them and inspected them and found much to her astonishment that they were BABY GAP socks. Since she has no babies in her home, she was totally baffled. The Baby Gap socks will be washed and put in the Salvation Army bag. She is not going to save them for when she loses weight in her feet. Similarly, she advises you not to take up valuable closet real estate with garments that you *wished* fit you. Save them elsewhere if you must, but do not keep them in your working wardrobe.

A working wardrobe is just that: working. This means that when you stand before your closet, everything in it should be something you could –and would like to!!– wear. Not something you would wear if you weighed twenty pounds more or less. Not something you’ll get to wear as soon as it’s mended. Not something you might tolerate wearing if absolutely everything else you own is dirty. Not something you should wear out of a sense of obligation because it was expensive or someone gave it to you or because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Your working wardrobe should work for your life. Do yourself a mondo favor and clear out everything else. Get things mended, take them to the dry cleaner, and make sure that when you reach for a garment, it is ready to work for you.

Ironing for an hour at a time instead of every morning for a harried five minutes is also a good idea. Put on a favorite CD, crank it up and iron your little heart out. You’ll be so glad you did when the week starts and you’re at a dead run.

12 Replies to “Throw-Away Time”

  1. Don’t get rid of those stained clothes until you give Biz a try. I’ve had wine and blood stains that would not come out, but I hung onto the pieces in case something ever turned up. That something was Biz – let it soak for awhile in the solution, then wash. If Biz doesn’t get it out, nothing will, but its worth a try.

    [Really? Wow, okay! Because I thought that Zout was the King of all stain removers. I’ll look for Biz. – PB]

  2. Goodwill doesn’t want the stained t-shirts and pants that are worn to the point of coming apart– but your local weavers might. Cut into strips, they’re great for the first and last inch of weaving projects, and make terrific rag rugs! [Thanks — I wasn’t sure, and it didn’t seem great to send on raggedy-ass stuff, but if I said “throw it away” I knew that wasn’t the message I wanted to send, either. I cut up lots of stuff that I save over the years and give it to quilters or stole-makers or the craft group at church. – PB]

  3. I did a big purge of my closets with the help of a friend who does de-cluttering for a living. She was of enormous help in keeping me on task, off the ditsy “gee maybe I’ll wear this someday” train. She just held things up and said, “How about this?” If I couldn’t tell her that I loved it, it went to the throw-away pile or the give away pile. Her words were: “Bless ’em and send ’em.” Her service included taking things away, too, which is where I often get stalled out when doing this on my own. Stuff sits in bags in the basement forever. Now it’s gone, baby, gone. Purging things often has an emotional impact – (she helped me clear out my church office, too) just like letting go of anything in our lives. Great to have a kind soul with you.

    It does feel good now, to know what clothes I have and see them with fresh eyes. Keeps me from wearing the same thing every day, too.

  4. Oh, I need to print this out and stick it on my forehead or something.Now that fall is here, do you know I have not one thing to wear? Literally.

    I need to replace everything single piece of clothing I own. Shoes, underwear, socks, jacket everything. I have an aversion to shopping, so it all has to be done online. I even have an aversion to online shopping. And of course, shelling out all that cash is not fun.

    Everything I own either stained, ripped, out of style, worn or just plain ugly.

  5. I am doing this exact same thing. Life clutter has been my theme all year–purge, purge, purge! So I couldn’t agree more. Have faith that whatever it is, it will find its way to a new purpose. I sometimes set up a big table in my garage with all the maybes on it, until I get to a place where I can be brave and let it go. This has worked for furniture/decoration type stuff, bad Christmas and b-day gifts, as well as clothes, shoes, purses. I have noticed it usually takes me two weeks of walking by it and then I’m ready. Mostly I have to just go thru the process of forgiving myself for making an impulse buy in the first place…often I’m holding on to guilt and the object or clothing item is just the tangible symbol of it.

  6. Amen to this!

    If you have items that are still in good shape and not more than 2 years old, but for whatever reason you just don’t like them anymore or they are too small/too big, give your local consignment shop a try. I just consigned about 20 pieces this past weekend (including purses and shoes) to an upscale consignment shop nearby. If they sell, great! If not, then they’re still out of my closet – still a bonus!

    And after your purge, be RUTHLESS in your assesments when purchasing new items – if you don’t absolutely love it, don’t buy it, no matter how good the sale.

  7. I give the stained, ripped stuff to the Thrift store. I was on a mission trip once when we toured a thrift center. They throw all the bad stuff in a big bundling machine and sell it to a recycle shop. They made enough money to pay their rent each month. Don’t know if all the thrift shops do this but I figure it can’t hurt.

  8. But what do you do with T-shirts commemorating momentous occasions or brilliant bands, shirts which have beautiful designs on them, surrounded by worn, ripping, stained, nearly-unwearable fabric?

  9. Find someone – or some church lady group – that makes quilts and have a throw or a quilt made out of the designs. And if you wouldn’t want the quilt, then suck it up and throw the shirts away. Don’t send them to Goodwill. They sell them in bundles to third world countries where cheap t-shirts undermine the local garment makers economy. (I saw a doc on this once. Can’t remember the name.)

  10. Really important stuff. I’ve been listening to your posts on this topic, and it helped a lot when I moved recently. I just went into my closet yesterday and started pulling out the faunter stuff. Because I had done such a good job of purging, it was clear within a minute that I need to go shopping for some new staples. I’ve got my Lucky Shopping Manual out … sometime in the next month I’ll get to it.

  11. John, portions of tees can find new life as patches on new tees or denim jackets or tote bags. Or quilt blocks, or wall hangings. Or, in the last resort, as scrapbook entries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *