If My Clothes Could Talk: The 3 Things They Would Tell Me

Clothing Donations 2016Last Saturday, it was my turn to do a closet-ectomy. (My husband had done his side a couple of weeks ago, so I was feeling the pressure.) But to be honest, I hadn’t made any “edits” of my clothes since we moved to Atlanta nearly 2 years and 20 pounds ago. It was time.

Over the next 3 hours, I tried on every piece of clothing I hadn’t worn in 2016. Every. Single. Piece.

I started with my suits and dresses, which I rarely wear at all anymore. One silk dress still had a $5 tag on it; I bought it at a yard sale, thinking that for $5, I could surely remove the little stain on the front and wear the dress proudly. Well, that never happened, of course, so it was the first contribution to the donation pile. Then I tried on a black knit St. John dress my mother bought for me during one of our shopping trips to Nordstrom probably 20 years ago. Mom was my best shopping buddy. Oh, how I wished that dress still looked good on me! But alas, the style – and the huge shoulder pads – just made me look dumpy, and who needs that? I said goodbye to it with a hug, a smile, and a wish that someone else will look fabulous wearing it.

Next was the two-piece resort-wear outfit I bought in Ocean City, Maryland with my best friend, Debbie. We were on a shopping trip to celebrate our respective 5 years in business. (That was in 2004.) How fun it was to wear that cute outfit! But now, 12 years later, the elastic in the waistband crackles and the fabric looks a little tired. Next contribution to the pile!

And then, there were a bunch of “What on earth were you thinking?” clothes. I never really liked them, they were awkward to wear, and the dust on the shoulders confirmed the fact that these poor items hadn’t seen the light of day in quite awhile. I wished I had the money I spent for them, but I don’t. We all make mistakes.

For me, the most challenging pieces of clothing to decide on were the ones that still fit OK, but that would fit me if I gained weight again. They were in good condition and were well made. The problem was that they just don’t fit my taste in clothing or my lifestyle today. I simply don’t wear them. I don’t like them anymore. Did I feel a little guilty about giving away perfectly good clothes? Yes, a little bit.

If my clothes could talk, here’s what I think they would have said to me on Saturday:

I (your clothes) am not you. Although you no longer have me in your closet, you will always have the experiences we had together. You will still be you, even without me.

I was a gift, but I’m not the giver. I belong to you, for now. When you’re ready to let me go to someone else, it’s more than OK! You will still have the sentiment of the giver in your heart. You’re not giving the giver away.

I can be replaced if and when you need to replace me. You’re not wearing your baby clothes anymore, are you? Times and styles change, you get older (and so do I). I trust that you will not go naked if you share me with someone else!

If you’re in need of a closet-ectomy, but don’t know where to begin, check out my book, My Journey to an Organized Life: A Creative Road Map for Organizing Your Time, Space, and Finances for step-by-step instructions!

Katherine Trezise, CPO, CPO-CD, is the founder and president of Absolutely Organized. She and her staff specialize in home, paperwork, and financial organization. They love helping people who have recently become disorganized because of a life transition, or who have suffered from the negative effects of clutter and disorganization for many years and are ready for a more organized life.

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