Reflections on One Year of Editing

It’s been a year and a bit since I started this blog, and I wanted to write a little bit about the editing process I’ve undergone in my wardrobe. Some of it was easy–removing things that didn’t fit any longer, things I had never used, or things that truly didn’t suit my lifestyle any more (the one “going out” top I owned, which I wore once to a Brandi Carlile concert at Wolf Trap, and once to a Birdy concert at the 9:30 Club. I was not a prolific “going-out” person at any point in my life.)

So, that was the easy part. But what about other things–clothes of my mother’s that either didn’t suit me (Lululemon leggings from the part of her life when she was bedridden); dresses that I had liked when I was in my twenties but didn’t feel right for me now and probably won’t again; the truly absurd number of sweaters I have, some of which I don’t need–what about those?

Well, that’s what’s been occupying a good deal of time and attention these past years. I’ve donated most things that don’t suit, and sold a few really good pieces that I don’t need any longer, but I still have more to go. Right now I’m on the train, typing this post (though I’ll post it the week after I write this piece), and this morning I was trying to decide what to wear to work for a meeting with a board member. I had three navy dresses, and two of them were ones that I used to wear regularly to work in my brief stint in corporate America (an academic publishing company, but still the only time I have worked out of the nonprofit sector). Neither of them worked well any more for the place I am in my life–a woman in her thirties, a mother, a director of a nonprofit. So, I need to figure out what to do with them. Do I donate these dresses, both of which I like? One works for going around town, but the other really doesn’t work at all any more–it’s too short and too tight. (By “too short,” I mean about two inches above my knee, but as I grow more into my style I find that knee-length skirts and dresses work better for me.)

This is the part of the process that’s hard. There’s a chance I could wear these dresses again. I have good memories attached to them. But if I am honest with myself, I won’t really wear one of them again, and the other I might wear on occasion, but probably not.

So, I’ll probably donate them.

As I start to get ready to switch my clothes over for the fall, I’m taking every single warm-weather thing out of my closet and setting it aside to donate, keep, or toss (in a few rare instances.) And then I’ll follow my own guidelines for packing my clothes away for the season and get ready to do the same thing as I take fall and winter clothes out of storage. Do I donate this? Keep this? Toss this? I did this to a lesser extent this past year, but I have been taking notes throughout the year on what I actually wear, what I love to wear, and what I’ve worn once or twice but not often. The things I’ve worn infrequently will be donated if there’s a reason I wore them infrequently that was dependent on the item of clothing itself (too short, too tight, doesn’t fit), but kept if they were worn infrequently for another reason (we only went to a handful of outings while waiting for the under-five vaccine, etc.)

So that’s what I’m working on as this season draws to a close and the next one begins!

4 thoughts on “Reflections on One Year of Editing

  1. I also find it difficult to sort through the “maybe” or “what if…” items in my closet. I so admire those women who really take the plunge and edit their wardrobes down to the pieces they truly love and wear!

    1. I admire them, too! I have to say that now my little one has started school and I’m doing the school drop-off/pickup, I’ve found it SO much easier to just get dressed in the morning because so much has been edited down. I’m not second-guessing my choices (are my jeans right? Does this top look okay?) and it’s just freed up so much mental space. Highly recommend!

  2. This blog and its ethos often serve as helpful reminders to me that I have never actually needed the sheer number of clothes I’ve owned. I recently donated a mountain of clothing that no longer fits me (and probably never will again). It was hard to let go of it all, especially some of my once-favorite sport coats and trousers, but it felt so very relieving to have that breathing room back in my closet. An edited wardrobe, to me, feels full of potential, whereas an extensive (and honestly only half-useable) wardrobe feels overwhelming. I feel daunted and a little fatigued even just thinking about it.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, I have enjoyed donating clothes as well, after the initial pang. It is so nice to not have to worry about what I’m going to wear because 1) what remains is what I like and 2) I can see everything!

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