Spending & Giving Challenge - The Great Closet Cleanse

>> Friday, September 11, 2015

Finally -- after 10 days, I finally did it.  I got into my bedroom and began The Great Closet Cleanse.

The chapters in Jen Hatmaker's book, "Seven" about clothes and spending really hit me hard.  I looked into my closet and saw sweatshirts and jeans falling off the top shelf.  Hangars crammed into what little space I had.  Shoes and boots just laying on the floor because I had no place to put them.  And let's not talk about the dresser drawers I couldn't shut.  The laundry basket of clothes I couldn't put away because I had no place for them either.

I had to stop the madness.  The clutter was killing me.

So, I finally did it.  I gathered up large trash bag and laundry baskets.  Anything I was going to keep would go into the laundry baskets - to be rehung and refolded when I was done.  Anything I was going to give away would go into the trash bags......no questions, no debating, no second-guessing myself.  Into the bag.  The end.  I found these guidelines which I used........

I opted to start in the closet because I had the feeling this was going to be the hardest spot for me.  Surprisingly, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be......but it was extremely eye-opening.

*  I had clothes that I bought years ago...that still had tags on them.  Never worn.  I remember buying them because they were on sale.  Into the trash bag they went.  No debate.

*  I had over 20 pairs of jeans.  TWENTY!  In various sizes.  I even had a pair of maternity jeans that I loved and wore when I was at my highest weight because they were "cute and hip".  I also haven't been that size again in two years.  Into the bag they went.....along with about half of the other jeans I had.

*  I discovered that whenever there was a sale on something I liked, I would buy multiples of that item....sometimes in different colors.  But here's the thing.......very rarely do I wear colors.  My clothing color palette tends to run towards black, grey, navy.....neutral colors.  Why in the hell did I have a closet (and drawers) full of pink, yellow, green shirts.....most of the them still had tags on them.  Into the trash bag.

*  Sweaters.....I very rarely wear sweaters.  I'm a sweatshirt, long t-shirt, occasional button-down shirt kind of girl.  I picked a few that I would still wear and tossed the rest into the trash bag.

*  Sweatshirts.....this was a little harder.  Sweatshirts are my wearable scrapbooks.  Every sweatshirt I had has meaning for me.  But there were a few that I let go.....the USMC hoodie with a broken zipper, the Pittsburgh sweatshirt with the perpetual coffee stain.  But where I was stunned the most was the sweatshirts that had no meaning -- the Old Navy, solid color sweatshirts.  I had close to 10 of those.....because I knew they were comfy and once again, I bought multiples.  FIVE black sweatshirts -- they were all the same.  I kept one.  Same with the grey and navy sweatshirts.

As the day went on I purged t-shirts (again multiple numbers, multiple colors), pajamas (flannel pj bottoms are my staple in the fall/winter), work clothes (I haven't worked in 10 years and haven't worn a dress in probably just as long).  Old bras, ratty underwear, socks.......GONE

It went on and I felt more and more guilty.  All those trash bags FULL of wasted money.  FULL of results of shopping trips because I was bored, angry, sad.  Clothes I never wore or wore once and let it hang with the thought, "Well someday......."

Someday will never come for these clothes......at least not for me.

When all was said and done, I had a clean, uncluttered closet and drawers.  I felt good.....no regrets.

At the end of the day, I had SIX FULL trash bags waiting to go to a women's shelter. 

I am being very specific about where I want these clothes to go.  I don't want them to go to Goodwill or ARC.  I want them to go to a place where a woman trying to start over can pick out my work suit and possibly go on her first interview in years.  I want them to go to a woman who can put on those flannel pj pants and Old Navy sweatshirt and snuggle with her kids to read a story.

I want to know that some good can come from my addiction and that, in some small way, I made a difference.


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