Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Cleaning


Yesterday I took a bag of clothes to Crossroads to sell (they only wanted two items, which I am trying not to take personally) and three bags to Goodwill to donate.

Goodwill was flooded with donations, it being the beginning of the month. There were piles and piles of what looked like absolute junk all over the parking lot. The guy asked me if I wanted my bags back, and when I said "Sure, if it's easy..." he dumped my clothes into a nearby fish tank. A Splendid wrap that I had paid full price for, and fully intended to LOVE, fell on the pavement and he didn't bother to pick it up. All I could think was "What a waste." So much crap that I bought and never did love.

Money is tight around here (money is always tight around here, but especially now that we are desperately trying to buy a house….) and I need to make a new resolution to be thoughtful about the clothes I buy.

Better to invest in a couple of terrific, well-made things each season than to end up with bags and bags of crap. And..... Better to pay full price for the perfect pair of jeans than to order five different pairs on eBay that never fit properly?

I still like the criterion I set for myself when I was cleaning out my closet four years ago: "If we were suddenly offered jobs in Barcelona, what would I want to bring with me?"

Photo: Ashley Smith is All Natural for Russh #47 by Cara Stricker via Fashion Gone Rogue

41 comments:

  1. i REALLY like your criteria. i also keep a few fashion idols in my head and ask, would X wear this?

    the problem i have with spending more on well made things vs less on crap, well, it is hard to know! when i started my office job a few years ago, i bought one pair of slacks from calvin klein and one from h and m at the same time. the h and m ones outlasted the ck.

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    1. *jamie.

      i am too lazy/busy to delete sign in and redo.

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    2. it's true, sometimes the better item is not the most expensive.

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    3. Yes, this is where it gets tricky. My $$$$ jeans are not nearly as well loved as my $ jeans. Weird.

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  2. It's especially depressing when you realize what probably happens to the clothes you donate:
    The afterlife of cheap clothes

    My sister has really good luck with clothing swaps with friends as a way to feed the desire for new clothes. I bet fashion-y bloggers would have the best stuff to trade!

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    1. I was going to link to this article as well! Also read this quote recently that resonated with me:

      “Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes.” ― E.M. Forster

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  3. At this age, I know why I keep each and every piece of clothing in my possession. Either I wear it, or I am reminded of something important. Or, I'm lazy about drawers full of old tees. But there's no other reason.

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    1. uuggghhh i need to purge the old tee drawer so bad.

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    2. but here is another issue: if she purged all of her tees every so often, SHE WOULD NO LONGER HAVE HER ORIGINAL VINTAGE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN TEE.

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    3. Jamie's right. It even has that no-sleeves-not-a-tank Jersey look.

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  4. A friend of mine recently hosted a clothing swap at her house. It was a great time- we drank beer and ate finger food and stripped down to our skivvies and played dress up. I came home with a new top that I love (brought it along on my trip to Italy) and a pair of insulated Carhart coveralls that will be perfect for working around the homestead this fall. And I got rid of a bunch of clothes that were "too nice" to donate. It's fun to go out to the bar and see my friends wearing my things.

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  5. I still have a whole drawer of my dresser full (and I mean FULL) of old t-shirts (dating back to sixth grade) that I refuse to purge, even though I only wear a few of them for pajamas or lazing around the house. I don't know why I have a sentimental attachment to the Mall of America t-shirt I got on our family vacation in 1996, but there it sits.

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    1. I do have a *select* pile of old t-shirts that I whittle down every time I make a trip to Goodwill.


      Still regret letting go of the Jane's Addiction tee I bought at a show when I was 17.

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    2. ouch. i feel for your jane's addiction tee regret. my condolences.

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    3. Yeah, you have to get rid of the old tee shirts unless they fit well (so rare in a commemorative tee).

      And for the love of god, DON'T make a tee shirt quilt out of them. That's even worse than a drawer of shirts.

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  6. they will pry my weird ebay purchases from my cold, dead hands.

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  7. Speaking as someone who struggled to buy a house in a super-competitive market and ended up buying a strange (but lovable) fixer-upper because no normal houses were or ever would become available in our price range... SAVE YOUR MONEY. When you do get that house, you will suddenly become obsessed with purchasing incredibly boring things like flush-mount lighting, backsplash tile, and marmoluem. YOU WILL NEED SO MUCH MONEY. You will look at every weird expensive sweater you bought last year and think "that could have been 6 new high-end drawer pulls in the kitchen."

    (Also, loving the real-life bloggings!)

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  8. Yes! I get sucked in by sales, so my rule is that if I wouldn't buy it full price, I won't buy it on sale (my adherence is better in theory than in practice).

    My current goal is to get all my clothes in my one standing wardrobe, plus dresses in our closet. I am *this* close.

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    1. also: don't buy the WRONG SIZE just because it is on sale and/or awesome. i have trouble with that one.

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    2. I read that women tend to buy the size they wish they were (i.e. too small) rather than the size they are. Not cool. But I find myself doing it post-pregnancy...

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  9. we have officially entered strange (but lovable) fixer-upper territory....!

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    1. Welcome to flavor country.

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  10. Maybe ESB readers would be interested in the October Dress Project? http://octoberdressproject.blogspot.ca/p/about-and-faqs.html
    It's a yearly project where, for the month of October, you reduce your base outfit to one dress. It makes it astonishingly clear how little clothing you actually need...

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  11. I feel ya, ESB! I also have trouble purging the denim drawer. Each pair of jeans promises to serve such a specific purpose!

    Too bad "specific purpose" translates to "never gets worn." Versatility should be king!

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  12. right? i told myself quality over quantity at least 3 years straight after every closet purge- but when i *actually* followed my own advice and bought things i really loved that fit well, regardless of high or low price, god DAMN did i save some $$, space, buyers remorse, etc.

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    1. going 1 year strong, btw. i have faith in you.

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  13. God, crossroads, buffalo exchange, wasteland... all of them are so hard to take rejection from. I'm sometimes tempted to walk through their aisles after all my clothes have been rejected and hold up some Mossimo top and yell, "THIS?" before I throw it to the ground.

    I gotta work on not taking it personally.

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    1. I didn't mean to add God to the list of those rejecting me. I was just using his name in vain.

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  14. hahahaha, that was seriously existential for a minute there!

    LOVE THIS!

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    1. ^ (This was supposed to be in response to K's amazing comment!)

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  15. This time last year I was hugely pregnant, and my hormones told me it was a good idea to schlep 4 massive bags of clothes to Beacon's Closet. (a place that's probably similar to your Crossroads -- the nexus of judgement, bedbugs, and hipster style)

    Anywho, it was insanely hot out, and the journey there was excruciating & probably took several years off my life. They only wanted, like, 5 things. I ALMOST RIPPED THEIR FACES OFF WITH MY TEETH.

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    1. Also, thank you for this post. I've been getting lazy about cleaning things out ... and I've been LOOKING LAZY as a result.

      L
      A
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  16. I try to go through and purge every two months or so... But I always donate. I went to one of those places one time and they did not want ONE THING of mine, but there were some Forever 21 pieces on the hanger. Jerks.

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  17. I've gone through the same thing every time I moved (on my 5th country, and 7th city, yikes) It's so much more valuable to pair back and concentrate on things that have staying power. If I desperately want something on-trend I buy it second hand or from H&M and then goodwill it when I get sick of it.

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