The Clothing Rules


My focus for Week 5 of The Great Unclutter is on clothing and shoes. I’m always shocked at how much clothing I have, given I never think I have anything to wear! I’ve come to realise recently that the problem isn’t that I have nothing to wear, it’s that all my good things are mixed among things that don’t fit or need repairs. Similarly, it’s hard to tell what I have to wear if it’s all on the bedroom floor.

With this cull of clothes and shoes, I’m hoping to figure out just what I do have to wear, and what key things might be missing. I’m also hoping to cull enough items that everything will fit in my dresser and closet easily again. That should break or slow the cycle of needing to replace things because of wear – I won’t over-wear the same 3-5 tops every week, and things will get the storage and washing care they deserve and need.

I decided that I needed some rules to help me decide what will stay and what will go. I tried to create rules that are built around what I want to accomplish, as well as being strict enough not to let sentimentality or “well maaaybe I’ll wear it sometime” get in the way. I also didn’t want too many rules – they need to be easy to remember and put to use.

  1. If it’s broken, stained, or torn, and will take more than 10 minutes or $10 to fix, it gets trashed or cut into dishrags.
  2. If it doesn’t fit, it goes.
  3. If it is uncomfortable, it goes.
  4. If it gets worn less than three times a year, it goes. (Exception is seasonal items, like snow gear.)
  5. There’s a Developmental Disabilities Association clothing donation box nearby, so whatever doesn’t get thrown out goes down there on Monday morning at the latest.

I think these rules will make it possible for me to make quick decisions about items. There isn’t much room for dithering or complication! Anything that hasn’t been worn recently will get a try-on to make sure it fits. I already know a few things that will DEFINITELY be moved along, and it’s a relief. Obligation and hope aren’t great reasons to hold on to a piece of clothing, especially when it can get moved along to someone else’s benefit.


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