August 28, 2005

Closet editing.

Do you ever edit you clothes closet? Just take everything out of it and judge each item: throw out, give away, or put back in the closet?

If you do that, do you have a rules of thumb like: if I haven't worn it in [a particular number of months or years], it cannot go back in the closet? What is the length of time in your rule?

Can you really follow that rule, or do you make exceptions? Is there some length of time that for you signifies vintage, which supersedes the original time-length rule of thumb?

What really old clothing items — jewelry doesn't count — do you have that you would seriously defend as vintage? And of the things you can't call vintage, what has remained unworn in your closet for the longest time (and how long)? My vintage entry: a beautiful (and comfortable) pair of black suede Perry Ellis high heels from 1981. My nonvintage item that I can't wear or part with is a long chartreuse dress made of scarf-like silk, not worn in nearly 15 years.

And yes, I'm trying to clean my closet — trying, in the sense of blogging about it, meaning to do it... sometime.

UPDATE: I'm actually doing it! In the real world! I am going to be so organized.


Susan said...

In 1964 my parents bought me a gorgeous camel-hair polo coat when I left home (Fort Lauderdale) for college in Atlanta. Since then I have returned to Florida and lived there ever since. I have need of a heavy coat maybe 2 times a year and it has always been that classic never-out-of-style vintage polo coat. I have actually gotten compliments on it in recent years which totally makes me LOL.

Slocum said...

Well, clothes aren't my problem, but I have a handy rule of thumb for other accumulating junk that may also work well for bulging closets. The rule is this -- when considering whether or not to get rid of any particular item, ask yourself, "Would I accept this as a gift?" Say, if a friend or neighbor was cleaning out THEIR closet and was going to toss this bit of treasure in the garbage but offered to give it to you instead, would you accept it? If the answer is no -- out it goes.

I find it interesting that frequently when I'm usure whether to toss or keep something and I ask myself the gift question, the answer is completely obvious -- of COURSE it wouldn't accept it. So out it goes.

Paul said...

If I say, how did this get in here, or laugh at something, it has to go.

BeckyJ said...

Moving 3 times in 4 years (long distance moves) has made me clean out my closet pretty thoroughly.

I'm a fan of "What Not to Wear" so now my question is "Would Stacy & Clinton allow me to wear this?" Hey, it works. Now I have a closet that (mostly) consists of clothes that fit and that I actually look good in.

I have kept a couple of things my mom made for me years ago; but my mom made them, I can't just toss them!

Ann Althouse said...

I got through the whole task. Should have devised some rules of thumb along the way. Maybe something like: If you have to stop and think, what kind of a mood would I need to be in to wear that, throw it out. I must say, I have some long sleeved T-shirts that are 15 years old that I still really like and cannot throw out. They would need to have holes in embarrassing places or be so threadbare as to be see-through before I'd give them up. One in particular that I remember wearing for the first time in 1990 is all frayed and thin, and my view of it is, if I could buy the same thing today at a price of $40 apiece, I'd order 10.

perletwo said...

I don't care for Olivia Goldsmith's novels, but she wrote a little book with fashion editor Amy Fine Collins called "Simple Isn't Easy" in which they recommended doing exactly that: taking everything out, evaluating it honestly - are you ever going to hem those or sew on that button or is it a lost cause? - divide them into Keep, Possible and Goodwill piles, and build a signature "look" around the pieces you're keeping.

Me, I never had the intestinal fortitude. Good for you!

purple_kangaroo said...

I have my dad's fringed leather jacket.

Kathy Herrmann said...

I've moved every couple of years, or less, for the last 12 years. Every time I move, the closets get cleaned out and I'm more brutal each time because I think about unpacking. My rule of thumb is get rid of clothing that is more than 1 size too small or that hasn't been worn in at least 18 months. I've a few exceptions, like Ann, of things with sentimental value.

I swear clothing mates and multiples in closets though. It's the only way I can explain throwing out bags and bags of clothes and yet still have almost full closets.

knoxgirl said...

Beckyj--the original, british "What not to Wear" is even better, if you haven't seen it. It's on BBC America several times a week.

somross said...

I am addicted to the BBC "What Not to Wear" with Trinny and Susanna, and the American version seems flabby in comparison. My oldest piece of clothing is the jacket of the suit my mother bought for her honeymoon. She had taught school for ten years before getting married and her mother suggested she wouldn't have money to spend on expensive clothing after she got married and she'd better buy a good suit while she had a chance. I can't fit into it, though. I have a few dresses I wore in college thirty years ago; my daughter wore them as vintage garments in high school. It's fun to prove how shockingly short the skirts were in the late 1960s.