Memories, the glue that holds your closet together!

closet by clipartmojo

Clipart by clipartmojo

It’s spring closet cleaning time! The beloved husband and I both cleaned out more clothes. Men don’t make attachements to clothes! For him, it was simple. If he didn’t wear it, out it went. For me there are stories.

Every time I do this I get more brutal and less sentimental. This round I vowed to get rid of more business suits. I don’t wear them for gardening and even if I get dressed up, I want something new and spiffy.

Each garment has powerful memories. I will not get rid of my Ralph Lauren double-breasted navy blue blazer. It was my power blazer. I could put that on and feel the power. I would make decisions without batting an eyelash. Logic flowed when I wore that jacket. I could easily wear it again. You never know when you need the power. Besides, the design is classic.

There is my wedding dress. No, it’s not one of those white frilly things. I was older and it wasn’t my first marriage so I chose something normal I could wear for other things. It’s a deep rose jacket dress that is ever so slightly big. I wore it to work afterward but now it falls in the category of “don’t wear for gardening and not spiffy for new dress-up occasions.” This one I will hold as a keepsake.

I have a sweater with colorful cats on it. (Actually I have three but the other two aren’t going anywhere!) It was supposed to be hand knit but I am not sure. It is oversized and short – not a good combination on my flawed figure. It’s so pretty and colorful though. Someone would love it, doncha think?

One outfit going on the pile for sure is my seersucker suit. I love seersucker especially for the summer. This suit is in the too big category so I wouldn’t wear it.

I could go on and on. Beautiful dresses with shoulder pads. No snickering please. I loved shoulder pads. Yes, I know they have been out of style for decades! They made my hips look tiny, especially the pads that you could use as an I-beam in building construction! These are getting trashed.

There are two piles to go. One is for a thrift store. Poor fitting jeans and pants, sweatshirts, tops – all casual clothes some slightly worn — are on this pile. The other pile is things that I think has value. The value is most likely in my head because of the memories but I decided to contact a consignment shop anyway.

I love the idea that someone else would love these things. It reeks of recycling.

First off, I was told that I needed at least 10 items to get an appointment.

Business suits don’t sell because no one dresses up anymore. Dang, I would think these would be the best buys. Afterall, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a funeral outfit!

Nothing can be out of season. I get that. They don’t want to store your winter coats. What about my cat sweater? I wouldn’t wear it in the winter because it’s not warm enough. It was always a spring and fall thing.

Nothing can be more than two years old. The cat sweater, which is really a great novelty, is 3 or 4 years old but the design is ageless. What about that?

At the end of the conversation, I didn’t get a very good feeling about it. Since I didn’t intend to take junk, I won’t be able to meet the ten-piece minimum.

Another oddity is that when I Googled our local consignment shops, I saw the worst reviews. Most complained of rude owners. Some said that they were never notified when their clothes were sold. One person swore that the owner sold her two Coach handbags then told her they didn’t sell and were donated.

I am going to take a field trip and visit the three shops to see what they carry. Maybe I can get a handle on what sells. If it doesn’t work out, you will find some very nice designer clothes at our local thrift shop.

door with green thing, wordclipart

21 thoughts on “Memories, the glue that holds your closet together!

  1. I recently cleaned out my closet and had the same idea you did about calling a consignment shop. I thought it was a great way to recycle and for someone to get a bargain. I encountered similiar rules and attitudes that you did. I had to make an appointment to bring in my items for them to inspect. It was difficult to get a convenient time and often they would give back items, but never explained what it was that made the clothes unsellable. The clothes I did bring didn’t earn me very much money so I decided to donate the next batch to a local charity.


    • I came to that conclusion and ended up donating it all. I have one friend who had the weight loss surgery and the consignment shop worked for her because she got credits on other clothes during the period when her weight was dropping fast. For me it just sounded like too much work for so little benefit.


  2. OMG – reading this was like reading my own thoughts! The only time I ever actually managed to throw out some clothes was when I moved to my present apartment and my stepmother “helped” me to weed out my wardrobe. Even now – I really miss that off-white maxi-dress with bell sleeves (despite the tiny brown stain on the front, from where – I know not), and the grey wool pinafore dress that would have been great to wear in court with a white blouse and a really nice navy a-line dress with white polka dots and…


  3. Kate, I understand your indecision on what to keep, discard or donate. I wish I’d held on to my Ralph Lauren navy blue pinstripe pants suit. It did make me feel – and look – invincible. After I lost weight, I donated it. Dang! I should have had it altered. It looked beautiful and didn’t wrinkle.

    My gently worn, but still loved clothes go to a charitable organization. I make sure they are in good shape. But I’ve seen some donated clothes on the racks that are stained. Who would want those?


  4. I’ve never worked in environments where I needed to dress for the public or needed a dedicated professional wardrobe and although I’ve always admired the way my “more professional” friends dressed, I think you’ve hit upon why I should be grateful I didn’t need to invest too heavily in work attire. I have never heard the rules of a consignment shop, but I would probably be uncomfortable with the idea of them inspecting things with their noses in the air. I love that you find your cat sweater “timeless.” That’s a keeper! 🙂


    • Basic sweater styles don’t change much. My Lands End drifter sweaters from 10 years ago look pretty much like the ones they are selling now. We all know that cat owners are nuts so I think it would be a big hit!


  5. Congratulations kate on the closet culling. My problem is all the different sizes I have cycled through in the last 20 years. Afraid to throw this out because I might lose weight. Afraid to discard this because I might gain. Add those dilemmas to all the usual memories attached to clothing and the result is semi paralysis. 🙂 Great post. Made me think I need to get serious! 🙂


    • I had some of that too. I lost about 10 pounds five years ago and dropped a size. For a long time I kept all the old stuff just in case but I never did put it back on. At this point most of it was out of style so it was easier to get rid of.


  6. I said it before……you always tell a good story.
    I didn’t have to wear power clothes as a teacher. When I retired I emptied a lot of closets and vowed no more dresses, no makeup and no uplifting under garments. Bought a dress for my son’s wedding and haven’t worn it since. If we go somewhere folks just expect to see me in jeans and baggy sweatshirt.


    • Isn’t it wonderful? I am going out to dinner with the “besties” tonight. They will wear business clothes and I have my jeans and a lovely sweater with boots. Comfy and warm! I do have a hard time separating myself from some of my old clothes though. BTW teachers have a LOT of power. You just didn’t need a jacket to help!


  7. It’s the time of year to fold up the cold weather stuff and pull out the warm weather stuff. So wardrobe usually gets thinned out the end/beginning of the season here.
    Odd about the suits – here, suits do sell well. Good advice to double check consignment shops (some more reliable than others, some do a better job selling because of their location and type of customers.)
    If the consignment thing doesn’t work out, do you have a “Dress for Success” group there who works with women’s shelters? They need suits for job interviews.
    In any case, if you aren’t wearing it, maybe it will brighten someone else’s life.
    (I should stop here and clean the closet out…but it’s sooo hard)


  8. I have never formed sentimental attachments to my clothes, which you’d think would make it easy for me to throw them out. But it doesn’t. All I can ever think of is if I throw this out I’ll have to go shopping again, and I hate shopping for clothes. So I keep way too many out-of-date clothes hoping that somehow I’ll never have to go shopping again. Weird, I know.


  9. I would never get rid of my first football jersey. Or that t-shirt I got when I was on vacation. Or the cowboy boots I bought out west. Or…….. well, you get the message. Everything has a memory. Closets are bursting with stuff I don’t wear.
    As for the power blazer, wear it with jeans. As a jacket. I say “when in doubt, never throw it out”. I don’t think that’s the way the saying goes but that’s my motto.


  10. All I can say is thank heavens it’s autumn here so I don’t have to do spring cleaning. I’m terrible at throwing stuff out. Surprisingly, hubby is even worse (including with clothes). However, here, due to so many people being out of work, it is always very easy to find someone who is truly delighted to be handed second hand clothing.


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