What I Learned About My Clothes When I Had To Leave Them Behind
What I learned about clothes when I had to leave them behind.
When I left my home back in November of 2014, I knew I didn’t have time to pack up all of my clothes. I only had a half hour to gather belongs for myself and my three young daughters. I did, however, have about an hour to think about what I was going to grab and bring with me. I realized that the best thing to do was pack 8 interchangeable outfits and 2 casual outfits. Keeping them all the same “base color” was my best bet and all I had to do was bring my brown/beige shoes and sneakers.
I brought no spring/summer clothes. I did take one outfit to work out in and one thing to sleep in. All I was worried about for now was getting through the next week or two. My thought was just get through the next ten days and worry about getting more clothes later.
(I will cover my strategy for my kids’ clothes in another blog.)
Fortunately, I was able to move into my dad’s home and I shared a single bedroom with my daughters. It had one small closet and there was a dresser with two empty drawers. It was perfect, because it is not like we brought a lot of clothes with us.
Because I had no plan of how long I would need to stay at my dad’s I decided I would not wear out my welcome and tried to try my best not to be a burden on him or his utility bills.
Although he had a washer and dryer and I was permitted to use it as needed, I chose to recycle several of my clothes before deciding to wash them. I just washed socks and underwear regularly, throwing in a few of the garments after they were worn a couple times. Because of this, I knew when I was done wearing a pair of pants or a shirt, I had to hang it back up.
Before long, I was amazed to realize how chill I was in what should have been one of the most stressful times of my life. I mean, our room was clean. There was no laundry. I had NO issues picking out clothes. In fact, I even found myself evening out the spaces between the hangers on the bar so they were all hanging uniformly, like you only see in magazines. I was like, what is going on here?
It was unbelievable to realize that I had SO many clothes and yet 90% of them I had an issue with. Half of them didn’t fit. A good portion, I had nothing to match with it. There was quite a few that had holes, creases that would never come out and stains. This is why 90% of my wardrobe was rendered USELESS.
90% of my wardrobe was rendered USELESS.
Of course I was worried about having to repeat the same things over and over, but when it came time to repeat an outfit, I realized that I had to ability to plan it out better and it never really happened. For example, I could remember what I wore to church the previous three weeks and was able to rotate to a fourth outfit. Also, because I had corresponding pieces, mixing and matching created FAR more outfits that the original 8 that I had planned. Also, I figured out that by changing out a scarf with a necklace gave me a totally different outfit. It was actually pleasant for the first time in a long time to get dressed.
Some great questions to ask yourself.
~ If I were going to a new place where I didn’t know anyone, what would you wear?
(This will tell you what YOU like to wear that you feel benefits you the most)
~What article of clothing is the most comfortable that you would wear to work?
(This will tell you what you are suffering through to try to look good. e.g. suits.)
Note: I have several I purge my wardrobe, but for now, I think it is important to recognize you feel about your wardrobe.
~ What is the worst thing that would happen if I wore only two different outfits for a month?
~ If I put all my clothes in a pile would I rather fold them or hang them up?
~ What clothes am I wearing all the time, but do not like?
(maybe it is time to replace the black skirt or gray sweater with something that is similar but you LOVE it)
~ Why don’t I wear clothes that are comfortable and bring out the best of me?
(Figure out who you are trying to impress and in exchange wearing something that is not you.)
~ Am I using these excuses to pack out my wardrobe?
- “In case” there is a wedding, ’80s party or I go on a trip to Cancun!
- They were expensive.
- They were a great deal.
- It is a good brand.
- My best friend bought it for me.
- I wore it the day I found out I was pregnant (or whatever).
- When I lose…
~Why am I letting clothes that I don’t wear take up real estate in my closet?
Action Plan for Today
- Remove all torn, stained, damaged and stretched out clothes.
- Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit.
- Up your “Keep” criteria from “Like” to “Love” Pull out your absolute favorite article. (THIS is how all your clothes should feel)
- Don’t panic when there are only 4 things left. That means you needed to do it and you did it well.
- Pack up all that clothes you’re letting go of and put it out of sight.
Some Things the Bible Says About Clothing
1 Timothy 2:9 ESV
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:28-30 ESV
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
Don’t knock it until you try it.