the stuff series | if the shoe doesn’t fit

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Organizing53 Comments

If you’re just joining us for The Stuff Series, welcome!  This is a series all about our stuff, how we relate to it, and what we should do with it.  I say “we”, because it’s been a great dialogue between myself and my readers.  Just go back and read the comments for suggestions, insights, and some inspiring stories.

We’ve already covered The Purpose of Stuff, Stuff with Strings, and had a heart to heart with those who are “The Keeper of the Stuff“.

In this post, let’s chat about our wardrobes.  Those who have purse habits and entire shoe rooms are sweating right now.

Don’t worry, though!  The purpose of this series isn’t to encourage you to purge everything and live a minimal lifestyle.  The purpose is to encourage you to really think about your stuff and why you have it.

How does your stuff make you feel?  Do you love it?  Does it serve you is some way?

Or does it make you feel overwhelmed?  Is it a burden?  Are you surrounded by things in your home, in your sanctuary, that draw out negative emotions like failure and sorrow?

That’s why we’re talking about stuff.  And, since I’m in the process of moving, I am hip-deep in making decisions about stuff, and it helps me to write about it!

Now, I thought talking about our wardrobes would be pretty simple, but I realized that there are a lot of emotions even when sorting through jeans and socks.  Well, maybe not socks…

But, what I found as I was sorting through my closet, is that I am holding onto a lot of clothes that, quite honestly, make me feel like a failure.  They are folded monuments to weight-loss ventures that didn’t stick long-term.  It’s nice to have “goal jeans”, but a stack of “goal jeans”?  An entire group of clothes that are off limits until I “get my act together”?

And what if I have that one pair of goal jeans that I never get back into?  Should that be the only measuring stick for success? Let’s say I exercise and I eat sensibly and I feel strong and amazing and I never fit into those goal jeans.  Is that failure?

Then, there are the clothes that we love, but they don’t fit properly.  It’s not that they are too small, but maybe they are too big, the shoulders pull, the neck gapes, or they are just unflattering.  We keep them hanging in the wardrobe, because we are sure that they will look amazing the sixth time we try them on!

And what about those cute strappy shoes that you can wear for 30 minutes max before a blister starts to form?  Or the boots that were an impulse purchase, but the heel is too high for you to walk without looking like one foot just bumbled into a pothole?

All of the clothes and shoes that fit in those categories just suck joy and contentment out of our lives.

I could wear that shirt if my shoulders weren’t so broad.  I could wear those jeans if my hips were slimmer.  I could wear those shoes if I didn’t have bunions.  

These clothes can stuff us into the box of wishing and wanting.  Wishing we were thinner, taller, shorter, younger, etc…

And our stuff, that is there for us and we voluntarily bring into our homes, shouldn’t make us feel that way.

Think about your favorite outfit.  The one you wear when you want to conquer the world.  Imagine if all, well, let’s say even 80%, of your clothes made you feel that way.  And that becomes your deciding factor when you’re staring at a frock in the dressing room mirror.

Can I conquer the world in this?

Imagine how much better at clothes shopping we would be and how much more we would love getting dressed in the morning if the answer to that question was “yes”.

Since I’m moving, I started sorting through my wardrobe a few weeks ago.  I pulled out all of the things that I don’t wear regularly…anything that wasn’t a “go-to”.  Some went to the yard sale and some went in boxes.  Once my wardrobe was thinned out to just what I wear regularly, I realized how much more I enjoyed it!  It was almost alarmingly sparse compared to a typical American female’s wardrobe, but it was more than ample.  I didn’t have to dig through shirts to pick out my favorite.  There wasn’t angst as I was selecting an outfit for church.  I could reach in, almost without looking, and pluck out something that I could slip on without a second thought.  It was refreshing.

So, let’s comb through our wardrobes with a new goal in mind.  Your clothes are there for you and they should make you feel confident and beautiful and amazing.  And if they don’t, they are no longer there for you.

If getting rid of clothes is hard for you, just remember that dress, blouse, or skirt in question just might be the article that will help another woman feel like she can conquer the world.

And you wouldn’t want to deprive her of that, now, would you?

Disclaimer: The definition of “conquer the world” as used in this post simply means you feel good about yourself and how God made you.  I have no intentions to actually conquer the world and I hope you don’t either.

the stuff series | if the shoe doesn’t fit

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53 Comments on “the stuff series | if the shoe doesn’t fit”

  1. Thanks for keeping this series going, Marion. Sometimes a subject gets brought up randomly, but never thought completely through. I love how you’re covering all the areas of this issue. I think I will put all my “maybe???” clothes in boxes and live with what’s left for a week, and if that feels OK I’ll let the boxes go where they will do some good.

  2. Love the meaning behind this and said it so well and beautifully, you’ve made me now go through everything again and really choose what I want. Guess what i’ll be doing next week 🙂

  3. I have been in a weight loss journey since November. I am 45 pounds down and looking to lose about 30 more.

    There is great joy in punting something on and realising I’ve shrunk out of it! Luckily, I have a friend willing to take all of my favourite clothes and give them a new home, which makes it much easier to let them go.

    So as I am losing weight, I am not investing in a wardrobe, but buying things to see me through. And in the meantime, it is my goal to do exactly as you said… Choose a wardrobe that makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I am already trying to learn who this new version of ‘me’ ia, so I don’t buy anything I won’t love and wear with pure joy.

    You’re so right: goal clothing can be failure clothing and we deserve better! And it’s also okay to part with pieces we love that just don’t love is back. 😉

  4. This is a fascinating series and what’s really killing me is that I know right in each and every aspect. I have all kinds of “stuff” in my closet that I haven’t worn for one reason or another but keep holding on to because “I might want to” someday. I know that will never happen so I’m going to be ruthless and get in there and get my hands dirty. Thanks for shedding the light….in more ways than one 🙂

  5. Dress for Success, women’s shelters and similar will welcome good quality clothing that can help other women feel great about themselves, pick themselves up, get a job.

    I put a few dresses aside for charity last weekend. They were pieces that had been hard to give up. I had been complimented when wearing them or they had some special meaning. But they no longer suited me or fit my style. I’ve been keeping them for a long time and not wearing them. I know some people think Marie Kondo is hokey, but recognising the worth of these clothes to me (out loud) and thanking them for the way they used to make me feel, really helped me let go.

    If the clothes are not serving you, you are serving them, even if they cost a fortune originally!

  6. Thank-you for your inspirational posts. I plan to start the clothes project VERY shortly. I have 4 movable canvas storage closets in the basement and they are first on the list! Not to mention the plastic bins and bags down there and then I can start closet and dresser upstairs! My motto is “Would Jackie Kennedy have worn this?”. (Yes, I admire her sense of style.) Pictures for IRS file and then take surplus to my charity of choice. Marion, prayers for you and the family in the opportunities that lay ahead. (I hope y’all will transfer to my area…. and I will be a little “green eyed” if it’s elsewhere (LOL), but they will be so fortunate!)

  7. You are so right about our relationship with our clothes! Why, oh WHY do I feel the need to hang on to a dress that I wore and loved 6 years ago but haven’t worn since? I finally got the urge to purge, and discovered that a cell phone camera is a beautiful thing. I took pictures of my favorites, thanked them for being a part of my life and finally let them go. What an emancipation! And I still have a picture I can moon over and eventually delete. Thank you for inspiring us all to re-evaluate our stuff!

  8. Such a wonderfull post! I started this ´cleaning out´ a few years ago….every season I have to get rid of the things I didn´t wear that year. As I live in the countryside and have no job….what should I do with ´officedresses´? Everyone tells me jeans are looking great….but I don´t like to wear trousers!!! So (almost) all of my jeans went out.
    It works wonderfull!
    By the way…LOVE your dress and boots! They would fit in my closet 😉

  9. Well, this is one area where I don’t really have too much stuff, because I do not have a lot of clothing needs being at home all the time. One pair of jeans, a few shirts, one skirt, two pairs of shoes. I don’t spend much time shopping for clothes either. But what I DO have is a whole bunch of old t-shirts, going back to the early ’90s even, that I wear all the time for gardening work (which is pretty much every single day from April to November). It amazes me that these shirts have stood the test of time vs. newer ones that have bitten the dust already. The “old t-shirts for gardening” is the biggest mainstay of my wardrobe! Which of course means that I look pretty mangy most days. 🙂 And no need for anything fancy, I wear a skirt maybe once or twice a year. Any money that would normally go to someone’s wardrobe I probably spent on plants, dirt, seeds, or mulch.

    1. Kim, I am exactly the same as you! I could have written your post. It seems like I have a million Relay for Life t-shirts that I wear for gardening and any other grimy work. Yet I do need to tackle my closet and get rid of a bunch of stuff that I don’t need since I retired in February.

    2. Oh Kim….we are family. I just realized that when hubby complains about the mulch, plants, trees, yard trash that I love, tend, baby and get immense joy from I can immediately counter with the fact that I could care less about spending money on clothes. Give me a uniform of pants and shirts that are mix and match and I’m thrilled.

  10. How did you know that this weekend I am cleaning out my closet??!! Perfect timing! So much more will go to charity! Thanks for this little nudge.

  11. I’ve been purging my clothes, and building basically a capsule wardrobe that works for me. I like to know that the items I have will work together, and are in my colors and style I like.

    I really love the outfit you’re wearing in these photos!

    Good thoughts and encouragement today!

  12. Oh my goodness! You are so totally right! I am clearing out my closet tomorrow!! Perfect post ! Loved it❤❤❤

  13. We recently moved – and moved EVERYTHING. I thought I got rid of a lot of stuff, but looking at it is overwhelming and embarrassing. The stuff I thought I loved has become such a burden to me and I don’t even know where to start! Thanks for this series. We all know we can’t take it with us and we all know our kids don’t want it!

  14. Good series! Although a friend did that “KonMari” thing this past winter and culled so much she now has nothing to wear this summer!
    Get a vicarious wardrobe thrill and see “Beguiled.” The period clothing, and, gulp, Colin Farelll, were drool worthy. The plot and directing not so much!

  15. I would literally have to throw out everything I own – I have nothing that makes me feel confident and beautiful and amazing!

    1. Kim,

      Your reply broke my heart! Maybe it’s time to find the absolute perfect scarf or other accessory- one in colors that make you glow! – to wear with what you have until you get to a better place in your confidence. I pray that you will realize your beauty, no matter what size or shape you may be. You are priceless and beautiful because you were created by a loving, creative God in His image. May you be blessed.

    2. I’ve been there before! Every Sunday, I felt like crying, because I didn’t have anything to wear that I felt good in. I realized that I needed to invest a little in myself and find a few things that made me feel good, even if I wasn’t at my goal weight or even with my insecurities. Clothes can be superficial, but they can also be an important part of self-care. I hope you have a sweet friend who can go with you and help you pick out at least one outfit that you love.

  16. As I was losing weight six years ago I would take the clothes I could no longer wear to my local Salvation Army and then turn around and find things to “get me through”. It worked well and I ended up trying styles that I never would have tried on in a department store.

  17. I have, very fortunately, been the same size since HS, many moons ago. I have been through wardrobe purges to outfit my daughters, a niece and one of their friends to each start their own career wardrobes (from my working days). And now I purge regularly to outfit women of domestic abuse and homelessness get ready for venturing into the work world. It’s a very good feeling to give away and then be able to open the closet and drawers and see it thinned out. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but am still guilty of buying for just an occasion (and holding onto certain things over 40 yrs old!). My go to clothes are functional travel vests and shorts/pants for everything from fleas to gardening to running errands.

  18. Then, Kim, it’s time to go shopping! Take a trusted friend or one who is loads of fun if you need another opinion. Try everything and anything on. If budget is an issue, go to thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. I like TJ Maxx and Marshalls because there are a variety of styles and I can try outside of my comfort zone (successful or not). Even if you only find a scarf or piece of jewelry, I hope you do find a life changing piece!

  19. Thank you for writing this inspiring series. I have already purged through my closet, drawers, and shoes. Now I am looking at my jewelry box. I will keep pieces which I love and wear often. Then I will let my daughters and granddaughter select items they would like. Anything left over will be donated to charity. Then on to my cosmetics, recipe file, and books.

  20. Yep, have the blistery shoes and returned the impulse boots! I just helped a friend purge her wardrobe, and have been doing mine for the past year. I need to find specific replacements before I get rid of items, so it is taking a while. Like undergarments, I can’t just toss out everything at once, or I wouldn’t be able to go out in public:-) I am doing the same with other items in my home, too, so there are only so many hours in the day to cull my belongings. But, every time I do, it feels like I’m “breathing fresh air”!
    Thanks for another great post.

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  22. Love this topic. We are moving too and I’m making all those same decisions. Just did the closet on Thursday and I LOVE opening that closet door now! I did keep the skinny skirt that I fit into after my second baby… when I thought I was fat. Wish it fit now!
    Since we are moving from a farm with barns, sheds and a walk out basement that is our workshop, there are tons of decisions to be made. To lessen the stress (especially on my art/craft/barnwood items), I have boxes that I put things in that I just couldn’t decide about right then. Now that the obvious extras are gone, I think it will be easier to look at the “can’t decide” items with more clarity.

  23. Great series and perfect timing! My husband will be retiring from the fire dept in a couple years with 30 yrs service, we will move to Texas to be closer to kids/grandkids. It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time….
    I’ve started going thru closets already because I have collected way too much stuff🙃 This post will help me today as I go back thru my closets upstairs, time to move onward and upwards🙂
    Thanks for your encouraging realistic viewpoints and may God Bless you on your journey to your new home🌹

  24. Hear! Hear! That was the motivation I needed to get rid of the last round of clothing in my closet. You are so clever!

  25. I needed to read this today. I did Whole 30 last year and lost ten pounds. I bought some new pants, gained back the weight, and now they do not fit. They DO make me feel like a failure and I need to get rid of them. I keep telling myself I will do it again and get back to that weight, but that may not happen. So, I need to remember what you said, “they are no longer there for you,” get rid of those pants, celebrate all the successes I have had in the last year, and remember I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

  26. What a fabulous way to look at our wardrobes! I’ve have some purging to do!

    Thanks Marian!

  27. Thank you so much for this blog post. I have a lot of purging to do – funny how the physical purging lends itself to the purging of your emotions and your heart. I’ve got some work in front of me! It was wonderful seeing you at Luckett’s! I’m the Lisa who left my coat at your studio and I lived in Bayreuth, Germany. Thanks Marian for touching so many hearts.

  28. I recently did this and it was so amazing! Really! I moved to a different climate, retired from my career, and launched myself into a new lifestyle very different from the academic world I had inhabited. My clothes didn’t fit the lifestyle or me. I was holding on to old t-shirts, grungy weekend clothes that had been my go to weekend at home, cleaning the house style! It wasn’t me! I dumped it all. If I didn’t love it on me it went to someone else. The hangers were bare as those OK things were tossed and I took a big breath and went shopping for “me” things. I didn’t spend a fortune and I didn’t fill up my closet either. Now I can grab a top and match some bottoms and go. I no longer have the old t-shirt uniform but some edgy clothes suited to my new, artsy senior status. If you are hesitating don’t. If you aren’t wearing it well, it is holding you back and taking up room in your closet and your life that you could fill with fresh clean air!!! (or something wearable)!

  29. This is spot on. We should only be wearing things that fit well and make us feel good. I re-evaluate and purge my closet at least once a year. I love having empty space in my closet and making do with less rather than more after learning about Project 333. Getting dressed is so much easier, I buy less clothing and whatever I do buy I make sure that it coordinates with what I already have.

  30. Perfect timing- I’ve been TRYING to muster the courage to purge my HUGE closet. My family laughs that I’m an organized hoarder and that I have an emotional attachment to every item in my closet. In reality it is true and a huge burden. I have clothes that I haven’t worn in 15 years (when I was just 30 years old) and clothes that I have NEVER worn because they didn’t fit right or look right or were the wrong size to begin with. I’ve kept clothes for when I’m skinny, kept clothes just in case I GAIN weight…. I have bins and boxes. All organized by color and size. The problem is… I only wear 10% of these clothes and care more for comfort most days. I’m always wearing my “paint clothes” and track pants and comfy clothes to work in. I work from home, so I can get away with comfy clothes Once or twice a week I wear REAL CLOTHES. I too need to accept that I may never be as thin as I dream of and that my style has changed and will change. I will muster the courage to get rid of 50%-75% of my wardrobe and give it to those who actually DO need the clothes and feel good about it. SIMPLIFY my life. ♥

  31. You’ve been watching me, haven’t you? 🙂 I gave my closet a good purge some time back, then again recently. Now as I wear an item, if there is something I don’t like about it, it is going away. I figure I would rather have a few well fitting clothes than a closet full of ill fitting attire. I’m loving this series by the way.

  32. Awesome!!
    I go through my closet at the end of each season and if I didn’t wear something it goes in the donate bad. That said I’ve still held onto some pieces for years because I love them but they fall into the ‘one day this will fit’ scenario. They will be gone in the fall purge.
    Thanks Marion

  33. Oh how I couldn’t agree more with all of this. Just in the past year have I started to really narrow my clothes down, and my home decor too! Thank you for the inspiration.

  34. I don’t have exactly a minimalist type wardrobe but I have decided that I will love everything in my closet or I won’t keep it. When I used to shop or order online I would think, “eh, it’s good enough, not worth returning so I’ll keep it”. Now, I am ruthless. I will spend $5.95 to mail back a t-shirt I don’t LOVE that only cost $10. It’s not just the waste of money, it’s because I don’t want it if it doesn’t make me happy when I look at it. This has made a huge difference in how I look when I get dressed I think for the better.

  35. Yes! I went through this process when I got tired of looking at 2 closets full of clothes, yet never seemed to have anything to wear. Now all of my hanging clothes easily fit in one closet and I have 5 empty dresser drawers. What is even more amazing is that I often find that I still own too many clothes! If something doesn’t fit exactly the way I want it to – off it goes in the donation box. Now, if only I could muster the strength to purge the rest of my house the same way…

  36. Great things to keep in mind when cleaning your closet! Have you ever had an outfit that although it checked all the boxes of fit for you there was something about it that you didn’t like? Check out Carol Tuttle and Dressing Your Truth. It makes it so much easier to get rid of stuff when you know it doesn’t support your energy!

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