Decluttered and recluttered

PF bloggers hither, thither, and yon offer as a current gem of instant wisdom that when you buy a new clothing item, you should rid your closet of one, too. :-D

Did them one better today, I did. Actually, I did ‘em 6.14 better.

This is the time of year when I like to make a run on Talbot’s, one of the very few clothing stores that sells pants that fit around my capacious rear end without leaving six extra inches of fabric around the waist. Talbot’s actually has two major sales each year, one after Christmas and one in the dog days of the summer. The summer sale, however is N.A., because their buyers’ taste in warm-weather togs is incomprehensible: runs to polka-dots and pastels. But their fall and winter clothes are always classic, handsomely tailored, well made, and fully worth whatever price you pay for them.

Because Talbot’s has moved out of the central city, the choice for the likes of moi was to journey to Scottsdale or to the far northwest valley. Decided to head to the north and west, because SDXB agreed to meet me at the nearby fancy grocery store for a cuppa. After leaving him, I dropped by Chico’s and B’Gauze before hitting Talbot’s (all in the same strip shopping center). Found nothing en route.

Talbot’s was having a 40% sale off already marked-down merchandise, plus an additional 40% off the cheapest item you purchased (“cheap” is a relative term in a joint like this). So, this brought the prices down to almost within reason. w00t! I got TWO blouses, TWO pairs of pants (one washable wool, one washable velour) that look like they were tailored for my bizarre figure, two knit pullovers, and a nifty knit vest: SEVEN highly serviceable and reasonably good-looking items. The bill was bracing, but only about half as bracing as it would have been had I purchased the stuff at presale prices.

Well, my New Year’s resolution is to start looking less like a slob and more like a normal human being.

I’ve fallen into the habit of wearing dungarees to the office…and just about anyplace else I happen to wander. This is partly because our office is isolated and inhabited solely by graduate students, and so there’s really no need to wear anything other than blue jeans, and partly because of my general depression: there’s no one in my life to care what I look like, so why should I care?

Gotta quit that.

All my jeans and easy-wash no-iron tops have resided in the master bedroom closet. Dressier clothing has been stashed in the closet of a bedroom that serves as the TV room, with the result that when I’m racing to get out the door, I grab whatever comes to hand from my bedroom closet: generally unironed jeans and a top that grows shabbier with each laundering. Occasionally I show up on campus in my decrepit gardening shoes, having forgotten to change to newer Danskos, a circumstance that I suppose ought to embarrass me.

So this afternoon when I staggered in the door bearing the weighty haul of the afternoon’s hunt, I went straight to work: dragged every piece of clothing out of the bedroom closet and threw out every stitch that was tired, ugly, or didn’t fit. Then I headed for the TV room and emptied that closet, too: tossed out another mound of old, dusty, tired, unsightly, and ill-fitting costumes from that cache. Then I transferred the jeans, the gardening clothes, and the swimming coverups to the TV room closet and filed the grown-up clothes in the bedroom closet!

And resolved that henceforth the jeans will be worn only around the house and maybe to Costco or the grocery store. Socially acceptable outfits will be worn to the university, to meetings, and to upscale malls where shopgirls won’t wait on you if you look like you’re one of the Clampitts.

I kept track of the ejected stuff: four pairs of jeans, three pairs of better slacks, two knit tops, eleven better tops, eight dresses or skirt/top separates, one sweatshirt, three better skirts, eight miscellaneous items, one sweater, and one pair of shoes, for a total of 43 items. Figuring according to the late successful yard-sale prices, that’s a potential $344 worth of resale clothing: about $20 more than I paid for today’s finds.

Hm. Should I try to yard-sale all this junk? Craig’s List, maybe? Naaahhhh…. Come Monday, off it all goes to St. Vincent de Paul.

But consider that: 43 is to 7 as 6.14 is to 1. (I think.) For every one new item I dragged into the house, I’m dragging more than six off to the charity. The used-clothing value of the outgoing stuff exceeds the retail price of the spiffy new loot.
Decluttering on steroids!

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Chance December 28, 2008 at 5:09 am

Great post! I always try to spiff up when depressed as well (and Marshall’s is my catnip) — reminds me of the old SNL saying “Looking good is the same as feeling good”. True in my case. Don’t forget to get a receipt from St. Vincents when you donate the clothes. Most thrift stores won’t enumerate what you donate (they’ll write something like “3 bags women’s clothes” on the receipt) so *before* you go, list every item and its general condition something like: new, so good you think its new, good used condition, a rag, etc. Staple the receipt to your list. If you do this, the items in the good to new range can be deducted on taxes and you get more value for your used clothes. You can also deduct your mileage for driving to St. Vincents to donate the stuff. Disclaimer: I’m not a tax professional, you should check this tip with your tax professional.

Catherine December 28, 2008 at 11:00 am

Great job! I try to ‘purge’ when I feel I’m starting to look frumpy. I also do a good try-on session and reorganize the closet as well. Does wonders!

Mary Rex January 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I just recently did this same thing, including the Talbots sale… and ended up with a blouse that actually fits, even though I was dismayed that it was a size 16. I went home and promptly got rid of every thing that did not fit and filled a separate bin with all of my mending, instead of hanging those things back up. Now I will not grab something to wear and realize the hem is out.

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