Americans have too many clothes.
Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I have too many clothes, and my children have too many clothes. That’s fact.
As I hang clothing on the line to dry each morning, I have time to consider the clothing we own as I shake it out and determine how many clothespins it will take to keep it from flying off into the wind that whips up the hill from the hollow. Jeans require four, shirts two and underwear requires anywhere from one to four depending on who it belongs to. My daughter would be none to happy if her panties went sailing into the grass to be discovered by her little brother’s friends. (Three clothes pins minimum even though the panties are barely bigger than a tissue.)
Back to the subject at hand, we all have too many clothes. Our drawers are stuffed to overflowing (note picture) and our closets crammed. No one could possibly wear all of it. Or could they? I’ve devised a clothing challenge for myself and everyone who thinks they have too many clothes but are unable to reduce their surplus. It’s also for you smug people who are reading this and thinking, “I wear everything I own otherwise I wouldn’t own it!”
This challenge is called Wear It or Toss It. Or Use Ir or Lose It. Or Don It or Donate It. The name isn’t important, but the purpose is.
1. Commit. Pick a month long period. I’m choosing May 15-June 15.
3. Don It. Over the course of your designated month, you must wear everything in your closets/drawers. You may designate a “safe area” for your slinky black dress or your just-in-case-we-get-invited-to-a-wedding or a funeral wear. Everything else is fair game.
4. Donate It. After the month is over, pull all the unworn clothing out and box it up for Goodwill. Or if you’re too chicken to do that, put all of it in a “holding” box it in your basement with the date written on the box. If you don’t go desperately looking for anything in that box by next spring, give it away without opening it.
How do I keep track of what I’ve worn and what I haven’t worn?
You’ll need to devise your own system for this. My closet has a neat divider (see pic), so I plan to move everything to one side at the start and as I’ve worn something I’ll move it to the other side. For the clothing in my drawers, I’ll empty one or two drawers and after I’ve worn and washed an article I’ll put it in the safe drawer. This has the added bonus of forcing me to clean out all the flotsam that has accumulated in the bottom of my sock and undie drawers (what to do with all those baby teeth??).
What about out of season stuff?
That’s simple. When you are in the preparation phase, box up the out of season stuff. That’ll give you more room and safeguard things that you still love but it’s getting too hot to wear. You’ll need to do this experiment one more time in the winter to truly clear things out. This is a great New Year’s project!
What if I really, really, really love something but I never wear it?
This is your call, but if you really, really, really love something you should be wearing it every week. Your other option is to put it in your “holding box.”
|I have enough shorts |
for a small army,
but which ones to get rid of?
I’m going to pose this challenge to my kids too. I’m not holding my breath that they’ll jump on board. If any of them are game, I’ll help them devise their own system for sorting. And I’ll promise a reward at the end. The logical reward is new clothes, but then that just perpetuates the problem. So I’ll have to think of something else.
Cobbling together a number on what the average American spends on clothing was not a simple task. But the best I can figure is we spend an average of $1200-1500 per person on clothes. That seems astronomical to me. I can’t help but think of how many impoverished countries we could clothe with only the stuff in our closets we don’t wear. I’d like to spend less than I do on clothing, but the first step for me is to wear what I have.
I don’t know about you, but in the mornings when I’m faced with a bulging closet of clothes I’m overwhelmed by the options and almost always go for the same few outfits. I’ve tried culling the herd on other occasions but I always say to myself, “but I might where that….” Well here’s my chance to prove it.
How about you? Are you brave enough to face down your closet?
It’s time to Don It or Donate It!