How many clothes does one person need?

In this process of “letting go” of things, I have had to purge my closet drastically in order to be able to fit all of my clothes and shoes into a 5th wheel closet.  When we picked the 5th wheel we were going to buy, I had only 2 things I required: closet space and a full-sized shower – there was no way I was living with one of those triangle showers or closets that were 6-inches wide on both sides of the bed.  I wouldn’t even look at ones that had that.  I figured I could be somewhat picky if I was moving full-time into a camper, right?  If Eric and I weren’t going to be working full-time still, I might could have compromised, but I knew we were both going to have to continue our regular morning schedule and continue having a complete work wardrobe, so I knew we needed as much space in those areas as possible.  Not to mention, I have accumulated a ridiculously dumb amount  of clothes and shoes over the years and knew I’d have a hard time letting them go.  I found what I was looking for in the Columbus 320RS that had a full-sized shower and a large (for a camper) closet.

So I am now here, in my closet at home, trying to make the “final purge.”  I have been purging for the last few months periodically because this is not easy!  I started with the things that I absolutely never wore and didn’t fit me – yes, I had tons of this – because this was the easiest to let go of.  I’m a hoarder by nature because I like to think I will need things later, you know…just in in case I lose or gain weight one day.  So every once in a while I’d try to purge more – maybe things that had to be ironed too much or similar items or trendy shoes I was keeping to wear with only one outfit.  Then  one day, I separated my closet to see how many clothes I could really live without.  I literally tied a scarf on the pole to separate clothes I thought I could live without from the clothes I knew  I always wore and went a month or two to see if I was correct.  During t hat time I moved some things from one side to the other, but I learned that I really wear the same things over and over by choice.  I honestly didn’t miss the things I had “blocked” off in my closet.  Now this only works for the clothes in that season so you’d  have to do this for winter and  summer to truly purge, but you get the idea.  Once I went some time without wearing the separated clothes, it didn’t scare me as much to let them go.  I actually liked having fewer choices in the morning when I got dressed….way less stressful.  Plus I realized people don’t even remember what you wear to work every day, unless you wear Hawaiian shirts and plaid pants.  I used to worry about wearing things too often like people were actually keeping track of what I was wearing or something…how egotistical is that?  I mean, does anyone  really care if I wear the  same outfits every week to work as long as they are clean?  My guess is no.  I had to let go of the idea that what I wore to work made  some difference to anyone in life.  It’s not like I’m a fashion designer or famous or something.  I’m not being photographed daily where everyone can look back and compare my outfits.  The brutal truth is that nobody really cares what I wear to work as long as I look professional and  that my clothes are clean, so I kept black, navy and khaki pants/skirts and interchanged different tops and  nobody at work noticed I only wore  6 basic bottoms and maybe 10 basic tops with some additional pieces here and there unless I told them.  Same with shoes…I reduced my 80 shoeboxes (yes, I keep my shoes in their boxes) to about 25.  As much as I loved to buy shoes, I wore the same few pairs to work and the same few pairs during the weekends.  Getting rid of the shoes hurt BAD though.  I love shoes.  I love trying them on. I love buying them.  They just make me happy.  But that happiness doesn’t last long at all.  Most of the time, that happiness went in a box in my closet shortly after I got home and that was it.  So I decided that if it’s not a shoe I wear on a regular basis, I have no business owning it. The shoes I wear often, I am keeping.  I wear flip-flops and Converse all the time, so I have several pairs of each and don’t feel guilty about it. Boots are the same way.  In the winter, it’s almost all I wear, and I don’t feel bad keeping them because I wear them, but 3-inch heels?  Seriously? I  rarely wear them and don’t need the 25 pair I had, that’s for sure.

So over the past 6 months, I’ve sold some of my clothes and shoes, given some to Goodwill, and my mom wears my shoe size so she gets those if she wants them.  Now, it’s depressing to get $10 for a pair of shoes you paid $70 for and wore twice, and it makes me want to keep them sometimes just for the principle of it, but I know once I get rid of all the excess in my life, I will feel lighter, if that makes sense.   I don’t miss what I’ve gotten rid of so far, and I am actually looking forward to seeing how simple a closet I can have.  I still like to shop at times, but I think differently about what I am looking for.  I look for simple things that go with a lot, things that wash easily, and if I don’t need it, I don’t buy it  (well, I try not to…I’m not perfect, yet). 🙂  TJ

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