I had to sit and take a break! I think I overly inspired myself with "The Essential Wardrobe" article, on the tenets of French style. I just filled three tall garbage bags full of my clothes and shoes to donate to charity! I threw in some hats, scarves, and a purse to top off the last bag. I will still have to sort through coats, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves on another day. Incidentally, I pulled all kinds of weirdness out of that purse (gum balls, a white medicine tablet of some sort, diaper ointment, bee pollen, and a broken candy cane, among others things).
My husband was not surprised at all by these items, but he said, "You're giving that away? That's a really nice purse." I said, "Yes, but I don't need it, and someone else will just love it! It's going to be like Christmas for somebody, especially the woman who wears a size 9 shoe." He thought maybe we should have a yard sale. No! Not only do I want this stuff out of my house ASAP, but I explained that you have to give your abundance away for it to come back to you. I went on to tell him about our priest's homily on Saturday, which began with a poem about how when you give of yourself, tenfold comes back to you. "I don't even need tenfold!" I proclaimed. "Threefold would be plenty." Well, the man was silent. He doesn't often go to Mass.
We have stairs, so it was a lot of running down with the heavy bags. I also hauled shoes upstairs to my closet. The whole family's shoes have been thrown into a rustic trunk in the kitchen to try to keep them off the floor. Not only do they still get sprawled all over the floor, but nice shoes get squished, and it's a pain to try to find a pair in the box. It seemed like a good idea. It isn't. Most of the shoes I gave away no longer fit, since I gained half a size after giving birth. Why was I holding onto these? The only too-small pair I kept were souvenir snakeskin heels my mom got me in Italy. I am also holding onto my riding boots for now. Equestrian styles regularly make an appearance. I'll have to try them on and see if they are wearable.
How much lighter I now feel! I was merciless. If it was stained, had lost its shape, was faded, uncomfortable, didn't fit well, didn't make me feel attractive when I wore it, or it just bothered me to look at it for some unfathomable reason, I said good-bye. What kept me from panicking was the fact that I ordered two nice blouses and a dress from Ebay yesterday, so I will have a new item for each of the bags I'm giving away. And most of the stuff was still very nice for whoever gets it for free at the thrift store (you can take up to 20 items at no cost!) Thinking about making other people happy who can't afford nice things takes the sting out of the process.
Do a wardrobe assessment. Are you not wearing something because of one of the reasons I mentioned above, or are you just not having fun getting dressed? Always looking put together and pretty gives me energy and enhances my mood. It makes life seem more interesting and meaningful. I feel more creative and inspired. Maybe you "save" some clothes for church or going out to dinner that you could be wearing for every day life. You may have some formal dresses that you only wear for weddings or really dressy occasions; but otherwise, I give you permission to look nice even if you never leave the house all day. Oh, and just because you bought something once, or someone gave it to you as a gift, doesn't mean you have to keep it. Really.
Now make a list. Once you have purged your closet and dresser drawers, what do you really need to buy this season? Sometimes I don't wear certain things because I just don't have the right shoes or boots, or because I don't have the right top to wear with those pants. I have a very small butt, so sometimes I don't wear things because they droop, and I don't have the right belt! For fall, I really need a brown belt and a black belt. I could really use a new pair of casual walking shoes and low-heeled dress pumps. Honestly, that should do it. As long as my new blouses fit when they arrive this week, I should be set! Only purchase those items that you believe to be beautiful and know to be useful.
Less really can be more--and that too is joie de vivre!