What to Do About Those Clothes

Sorting clothes - no, this isn't meYou remember the story of Goldilocks:  she visited the bears’ house and tried their porridge (is that like oatmeal?), sat in their chairs, slept in their beds.  Things were too big/hot/hard, too small, or just right.  My clothes are like that, too, but they are mostly too small.   From reading a number of other blogs, I can tell that I’m not alone.  And the reality is that even if the clothes do fit, we may not like them anymore.

So what to do?  Step one is to pull everything out and look at it.  Did you wear everything in your “winter clothes” pile this season?  If not, why not?  Where they too small, too big, just not really “you” or need repair?  Deal with this stuff before you look at the rest of it.

If you have clothes that you really love but need some kind of alteration or repair, either make a commitment to getting that done (it’s worth paying someone to do it if you don’t have the skills or the time) or put the clothes into the discard pile.  They’re not doing you any good sitting unworn and damaged in the closet, where they give you a false sense of available things to wear.  Things that you don’t like should be laundered and either donated or sold (I donate almost everything because it’s easier and faster).

Clothes that are too big should be also donated, but be realistic and don’t get rid of every single thing because there may be “fat days” when you’re feeling a bit bloated and could use something more comfy.  But keeping too many of them around makes it easy to not pay attention to the slow creep of weight gain that moves you into a bigger size almost without noticing.  Play this one carefully.

The clothes that don’t fit present a particular problem.  Do you keep them in hopes of wearing them again when you lose weight, or do you get rid of them?  Think carefully about this and be realistic.  Keeping sweaters or pants one size down can be motivating — getting back into them is achievable.

But clothes that are several sizes too small can be, for some of us, depressing to have around because getting back into them seems so remote.   There they sit, in the back of the closet or in a plastic bin or big garbage bag, taking up space in your house and in your head.  “You spent good money on these things and you’re too fat to wear them,” is what most of us hear.  Not all, to be sure, but I know that’s what I get.

Donating things that are too way small frees the mind and the closet of that crap, and someone else will be happy to get them, especially in this economic climate.  As the pounds start to come off again and you need to fit a smaller body, you can go shopping for new stuff – even if that shopping is at the thrift store.  People like us donate good stuff, which means it’s available to people like us, too.

Once you’ve gone through the winter clothes, do the same exercise for the things that are coming out of storage for the next season.  They usually look different when they are unboxed and spread out on the bed than they did when we put them away months before.  Something you thought was great might look too tired or not fit as well.  Take the time to sort them all out even if  you did it when they were packed away.

I have one of these exercises to do in the next few weeks; some things I know without trying on I can just put in the “donate” pile.  I hate trying on everything and think of the money I spent on things that didn’t turn out as I’d hoped or don’t fit well or at all.  But once I’ve done it, and put things in piles and given them away, I know what my clothes options actually are so it makes getting dressed faster and the closet feels airy and spacious.  That’s a Good Thing.