As far as I am concerned, spring has sprung. Boing!


 (A blog post that is going to bore the hell out of 49% of my readers)


 It may have been the insane weather yesterday; temps in the fifties, sun out, windows open with me feeling a little disoriented (and it looks like today is more of the same…whee!). Also could have been the fact that after a crazy busy week and turning the corner on this stupid cold, I’m getting my energy back. OK, that might be a little bit of an understatement. Also, I decided that while the nation is focused on being smarter than a fifth grader, I am smarter than a groundhog. It’s spring; I decided. If not for everyone, it’s spring for me.


One of my season changing rituals is purging the closet. When you feel the weather start to change (and yeah, I know that it’s probably going to change back for a while), you can look at your couture (haha) and evaluate the relative likelihood of ever wearing it again against the fact that it is clogging up your closet. I love the ruthlessness. “I might wear it again” isn’t the same as “I’ve worn it recently”. If a sweater made it through winter without a wearing, it’s toast. I used to have such a hard time with this. When I was younger, I always wanted clothes I couldn’t have, mostly because I was responsible for buying my own clothes. As a young adult, this resulted in the more is more philosophy of shopping which works well at Old Navy. I remember having to buy more hangers to contain all my affordable fashions. Today, All those hangers are in a closet, filling up one full hanging bar and also lining shelves. It’s really kind of ridiculous. Who says that the things that happen to you in your younger life don’t have an impact on you as an adult. I ended up with so many things that I would buy and decide I didn’t like because at low prices, why not? Anyway, that doesn’t work anymore.


Right now, I am kind of into having a few nice signature pieces (this year, I am into the 3/4 length sleeve jackets over long-sleeve Ts and I’ve expanded my collection of Chuck Taylors…I refuse to grow up!). And I would rather spend the money on nicer things and have fewer of them. It feels kind of European…why is that?


So yesterday, aside from spring cleaning, I did a major (major!) closet purge.Seven garbage bags full. There were a few things that made it easier. One is that a local charity does curbside pick-up and that is happening today. One is that my size has changed; all that stuff they say about your weight shifting when you work out is true. I spent the first half of the day with a cup of coffee trying on pretty much everything and doing a little bit of a “What Not to Wear” analysis; capris not good for shorties like me, no pockets with big flaps, just because a shirt is your size doesn’t mean the sleeves are the right length. Didn’t wear it this year…that color doesn’t look good on you…the tag is still on and you bought it 2 years ago…that was in impulse buy…you only wear baseball hats when you garden…just because a relative bought it for you doesn’t mean you have to keep it. I even totally flashdanced one of those gray college alumni sweatshirts (that I end up with every Christmas) in an effort to make it wearable (we don’t do waistbands in this household….wristbands either). We’ll see how that turns out.


So before I put all this stuff out on the curb, I thought I would invite some of my younger girlfriends over for a little shopping expedition. We joke about the idea of going shopping in my garage. I’ve done some redecorating over the past few years (like totally changing my color scheme) and that resulted in me  furnishing a significant portion of my friends house (couch, TV, hutch, rug, framed art, etcetera). They have a gaggle of young kids and this kind of stuff works for them. And it makes me happy to give it to them (because they are my friends and because I don’t have to worry about getting rid of the stuff). We all acknowledge that I have a shopping issue. I also cleaned out my handbag collection earlier in the year and gave them away out of the back of my car. So last night was just an extension of what has been going on for a while.


I pulled a full-length mirror into the living room, closed the drapes and opened a bottle of wine. We all kind of laughed as I pulled each garbage bag out of the guest bedroom (“there’s more?”) and the gals tried on stuff and said things like “I can rock this!” (whew, that makes me feel old…I can only say that with some sarcasm). Where I used to have a hard time parting with fashion, knowing who is going to be wearing it makes it much easier to say goodbye to. They were doing me a huge favor taking this stuff off my hands. My closet looks amazing. I told Cheryl’s husband that he can thank me later after he sees what Cheryl went home with (she’s a little sporty spice and let’s just say that I’m not). So it may have been a little inelegant for the fashion to leave the house in garbage bags (seven garbage bags minus three on the curb this morning means lot of recycled, gently used couture…yay!).


This beat the hell out of a Pampered Chef party and I woke up with a purged household. Next up: my inbox. Because when the tiniest suggestion of springtime presents itself and you have the urge to purge, the best thing to do is acquiesce. Gawd, it feels so good,.


 

Comments (16)

  1. Liz says:

    Way to purge!  This makes me think of my friend Perri’s business, http://www.neat-freak.com.  Check out her blog entry about this too: http://neatfreak.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/your-trashed-clothes-another-persons-treasure/

    Bring on Spring!

  2. Pat says:

    I feel the same way about Spring right now.  Your post has motivated me to go on a purge binge with my RSS feeds to delete all those that don’t fit anymore, seemed like a good idea at the time, was a gift from a friend, etc.

    Good luck with the inbox!  

  3. Karrie says:

    When purging, freecycle is my favorite resource!  I love the folks coming to the door and all (they hit my house today too!) but freecycle so fits the "giving it to someone who will need and appreciate it" necessity in me.  And, when my friends who normallhy need stuff can’t use my stuff…well, someone can, and they come get it…and take it away.  And then I don’t have to wait for the truck, or drag it around in my car till i get to the goodwill.  I hope you like it!

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Liz – I can’t even tell you how much stuff I have taken to Goodwill. In fact, I have to dig out all of my receipts from last year for my taxes. My clothing never (never!) goes into the trash!

    Pat – haha….have fun with your RSs feeds. Be ruthless!

    Karrie – I like the idea of freecycle (though I couldn’t get anyone to pick up a box spring that is still in my garage), but when I have garbage bags full of clothes, I’m not listing all of them and then having people come pick up individual pieces! I think I’ll use freecycle for larger things (that my friends don’t want).  Hmmm, maybe another garage purge is in order….especially since the weather is so nice!

  5. Karrie says:

    oh, you’re far too generous Heather.  When I have a bag of clothes to give away – I just list it as: Bag of clothes – sizes x – x.  

    I try to keep like together, but have had no problem at all getting folks to pick up a whole 2 or 3 bags.  Kids clothes, my clothes, grandma clothes, husbands clothes, doesn’t seem to mattter.  

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    OMG! I can’t believe people pick that up! OK, that makes more sense.

  7. Kim says:

    Love the idea of purging the closet, but it’s still a personal struggle. I can’t help but relish in the memories that a piece of clothing brings back.  Will I forget if I toss it out?  Quite a deliberation for me 🙂  

    I have a quilt my grandma made with remnants of fabric she used to wear.  My husband says it looks tacky (I prefer kitschy) but still love to look at the  squares of fabric and  remember her wearing the frock it came from.  Yes, even the red polyester pant suit with white polka dots:0.  Hey, it looked good on her at the time 🙂

    I’ve entertained the idea of doing my own quilt, but can’t justify the idea of clipping a small piece of fabric and tossing the rest of what could otherwise be a perfectly useful item to someone else.  And, yeah, I just might not be that ambitious either.    

    That said, I’ve done some major purging over the last 3 years.  For some reason, it’s much easier to throw out the relatively ‘new’ stuff.  

    Still, I’ve got a few select items that I just can’t bring myself to toss:  High school graduation dress (JH Collectibles – high couture in Wyo in 1986! and still fits);  First interview suit (still fits, waiting for shoulder pads to come back in style);  Sorority sweatshirt(s) (wouldn’t be caught dead wearing in public);  and a few other selects that I won’t detail here 🙂  

    So, applaud your purging efforts Heather, but is there anything that you just can’t let go of?  Will you hang on to it forever or find a clever way to ‘keep the memory alive’?

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh Kim, I have been there. The sorority sweatshirts are all gone though; guess my memories aren’t as fond as some ther peoples (though it was fun). I have a couple t-shirts from some fraternity parties that I am just waiting to give away to the right person (oh gawd, they are almost vintage) and I will admit that I had trouble getting rid of my ponchos. I still love them and they keep coming back into style. So I ditched one and kept 5. But those were really the only things. I got rid of some stuff that I had been holding on to for 15 years (some goofy dress that I felt fabulous in at the time).

    I know how you feel though. Maybe the sentimental stuff goes into the attic?

  9. Patblue says:

    How Funny.

    I have this picture of you in my head, at RTC with the back of the FJ open whispering to shoppers ‘you want a good deal on a handbag’ as they walk to Macys…very funny thought.

  10. Patblue says:

    I do the purge every year, if it hasn’t been on my body in a year – it goes.  Keeps the closet nice and tidy.

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    haha…I would rather just give stuff away. Selling stuff is too much work. So have the crocs been on your body in a year? Just wondering 🙂 How was the root canal? I was thinking about you.

  12. mrscrooge says:

    If you’ve got business wear you don’t need any longer, Dress for Success is a great program to donate to

    http://www.dressforsuccess.org/

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh yeah, that is a good place. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don’t really own much business attire anymore. I do have a suit in the back of my closet that is a few sizes too big, but it was expensive enough that I am going to have it altered. Because it’s good to have a suit, even if it’s not the type of thing you wear regularly.

  14. patblue says:

    I believe in keeping one nice suite, I call it my funeral suit.

    Also – I am actually a root canal evangelist now.  I cannot believe how great a painfree mouth feels!

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh good, Pat. I am glad your teefs are feling better 🙂

    I’ve become a neti pot evangelist. How could snorting water feel so good?

  16. ARC says:

    Ooh, I could have written this post.  I just did a HUGE closet purge last weekend and I felt physically lighter after that.  I LOVE looking in my closet and seeing everything that fits right and looks good.  I got rid of things that don’t fit anymore, things I hoped would fit again sometime, and things that are just too "young" for my 32 year old self.  🙂

    And having left Microsoft about a year ago, I get much less email so my work inbox hovers around 20 or less all the time.  It’s nirvana for me ;D