I tend to put things in a holding zone (a rack in my closet) and then forget about them, sometimes for years. Which can be nice -- I'll suddenly remember the rack and find an old friend -- but doesn't really help with wardrobe management!!

I realized today as I was getting dressed that there's a drawer on my dresser I haven't opened in months -- it holds most of my nicer knit tops, but I have worn only my button-ups and tshirts for a long time. Will I go back on those once I'm out and about more? I have no idea!

I'm impressed by folks like Synne, Angie, notsaf and bella, who know exactly what to get rid of and when to get rid of it! I am far too indecisive and too much of an overthinker. I don't feel a strong emotional attachment to most of clothes, and easily risk overdoing it with closet cleanouts (especially because I'm in a four-season climate, where a lot of things are only useful 3 months out of 12).

Sal and JAileen, the bretons are tricky! They're in the HZ because there is a good chance that I'll want them again. But what I've noticed over the past year is that the one breton I really reach for is one with long sleeves and a crewneck. I don't feel like actively shopping for them right now, but wouldn't say no to replacements if they turned up.

Fashintern -- I can't wait until my son is only outgrowing a few things here and there! Right now it's an endless cycle. I think hanging onto things 'til you've settled into a new place is smart. I've gotten rid of *a lot* every time I've moved, and I kind of wish I hadn't.

lisap, Rachylou, and sloper -- I think having a small pared-down "office-y" section makes a lot of sense. I got rid of a lot of office-y stuff last year. One thing I noticed last year when I started WFH a year ago is that that 99% of my "nice" pants were magnets for dog hair. Why is that?! Out the door they went.

nemosmom, your HZ approach does sound very similar to mine. "Fallen out of favor" is a good way to put it. I don't think I'd have the bandwidth to put all my unworn clothes in a holding zone and try to shop from it. I'd probably end up wearing the same outfit every day out of laziness.

Runcarla, your thought process sounds so similar to mine! Tired outerwear and not-quite-right shoes are things I'm very familiar with.

Bonnie, I agree that outerwear is difficult because it takes up a lot of space yet retains its utility even if it's not perfect. Harder and more expensive to replace than jeans, tops, etc.

suntiger, Janet and Mary Beth, size fluctuations seems like a good reason to hang onto a few pieces at the edges of your size range. I often run into having pieces that still fit the way they used to, but it's no longer the way I want things to fit. I tend to hang onto these, because the pendulum almost always swings back eventually. Every slouchy phase will be followed by a tailored phase, and vice versa...

Style Fan -- oh no, the Kamm pants don't fit anymore! I hope you find a good home for them. I totally understand keeping sentimental pieces and souvenirs, and if you have the space, why not?

Karie -- Pandemic plus retirement seems like a good time to let go of dressy things if you have a lot of them. My dressy options are minimal, so I tend to hang onto them for the rare occasion.

N -- a go-bag sounds like a smart way to use rarely-worn clothing. The recent seismic activity in Japan must be stressful. Hugs to you.

Shevia -- your method sounds like the most fun!

Vildy -- your ongoing style swap sounds wonderful. Great way to keep things fresh without feeling wasteful.

Joy -- luckily our thrift/consignment stores are open here. I take a few bags several times a year, as 7yo DS is constantly outgrowing things these days! He is smaller/younger than most of our friends' kids, so I don't have anyone to hand them down to at the moment.

Irina -- even your mistakes sound so very stylish!

Jenn, I try to evaluate during seasonal switches too, but it can be so tricky. We're in that weird part of spring where it's *almost* warm enough some days for bare wrists and ankles, but not quite. There's still snow on the ground, it's too muddy for anything but boots, and stepping into the shade is like stepping into a walk-in cooler. It makes it very hard to figure out what to wear, because warm weather clothes feel too bare and cold weather clothes feel like too much.

Cardiff girl, I'll be curious to see where your style evolution takes you. I fully agree with you here: l think spending some time contemplating why things are not being worn is a good thing and hopefully helps minimise waste and erroneous purchases. This is exactly why I hang onto things for a bit; I always want to see if the reason I'm not wearing them has an easy solution. It can also be a good way to find out if you can do without certain things you'd thought were essential.

I think I have a really high tolerance for wear and tear and may be a bit of an outlier in this regard. I'd feel a bit extravagant getting rid of things with barely-visible pinholes, and am generally happier if those pieces can have a second act, even if it's only a summer of hanging out on the beach. I also feel quite self-conscious if I'm the only person at a gathering wearing like-new clothes, and pretty much always pair newer with older. The merino dresses, for instance, have little holes at the neckline and sleeves, but most of the time I layer a pullover on top of them anyway; I'm putting them away for S/S, but there's a good chance that I'll be happy to wear them again in the fall, with layers that make the wear and tear irrelevant. Large stains, real holes, fabric that's stretched out or pilled to the point of discomfort is another story, and those things go straight to the rag bag or textile recycling.

Helena -- I hear you on getting rid of things just when they might be useful again! I'm going to give the breton tops a few more months/half a year and see if I reach for them. I'd thought I'd be excited to pair them with the dusty blush jeans, but I keep reaching for this oversized unisex one instead. Trying to suss out whether the issue is fit, seasonality, or more to do with colour/contrast. In any case, it's worth hanging onto them in case my mood changes (it probably will!).

I'll try to remember to post a before/after whenever I get around to dealing with the denim jacket.

Jaquez -- it's totally two sides of the same coin isn't it? So fun to see old pieces in a new light, but so frustrating to have things fall into neglect. It's all such a balancing act.

Where do you recycle textiles?
I think you’re the first person I’ve seen on here say they have my same feeling about stepping out in obviously all-new duds I’m not one for intentionally distressed items (and am SO not into brand-spankin’ new stuff that was bought distressed) and would not intentionally rub dirt on a new item, but I feel so much better once things are a little broken in. That’s when they start to feel like mine.

FI, there's a regional company here: https://ecosmithrecyclers.com/. Their backstory is interesting... the family used to run a town transfer station and couldn't believe the amount of clothing/shoes being tossed in the trash. So they decided to figure out what to do about it and started a business. None of their bins are super convenient to where I live, but I keep a bag in the car and drop it off if I'm heading in that direction anyway.

Several of the local town transfer stations have tried to do textile recycling, but have found the costs of running such a program too high to keep it up. Low population density problems!

I have a lot of clothes that are smaller than my current size, but realistically can see wearing again, in my holding zone. Clothing that is too big is waiting for donation. I also have sentimental clothing in a separate place.

LaPed, wow! That is great. And they’ve been at it for 30 years! I need to find someplace like that here. We intended to use H&M’s, but that hasn’t been available during lockdown (most of the past year).
About kids growing & growing—I hope mine is done! His 6’2”+ makes his mama look like a shrimp!

This post has 1 photo. Photos uploaded by this member are only visible to other logged in members.

If you aren't a member, but would like to participate, please consider signing up. It only takes a minute and we'd love to have you.

La Ped, living in a true four season climate is a real challenge! Because, let's be honest, every single day in New England is different: it's like a 365 season climate, or even more, since mornings and middays and nights are so different.

I'm lucky to have a closet that is the right size for my wardrobe, so I don't do seasonal switches except in terms of where things hang for ease of access. Being able to have everything in one place makes a real difference. For the time being I am hanging on to and hanging plenty of things that don't get worn very often (dressy things; party things; etc.), but they are in their own "sections" of the closet (i.e. hung or boxed together) rather than in a holding zone. When it comes time to get dressed up again, if I pull any of that out and find it doesn't fit or flatter or suit me, I'll pass it along. Same for seasonal items. I definitely still think of all of those things as part of my wardrobe.

feel comforted to hear Shevia say, "

I also hold on to jeans and trousers in a range of sizes because fit can change weekly on my small, short frame." I have exactly this issue. Even five pounds makes a difference and ten pounds is dramatic.

I have a couple levels of holding zone:

  • Stuff I’m selling on Poshmark. I only sell relatively unworn priced items from recognizable brands because I’ve found the work isn’t worth it otherwise.
  • Stuff I’m giving away to friends and family - anything in good condition but not right to resell for whatever reason. In non-pandemic times I wouldn’t bother trying to sell so much and would just bring bags of everything to clothing swaps, but we haven’t been able to swap for a year.
  • Stuff that needs to be repaired or repurposed.
  • Stuff I might use as a backup wardrobe at one of my partners’ homes when they move to a nearby city, but I can’t decide whether I really will want to wear non faves over there.

Hmm, I have two giant baskets, one for donations and one for rags. Before I put things away after laundry, I check to make sure they don’t belong in one of the baskets! I also cull through everything once a year when I am switching for the seasons. I keep everything in good shape and within a size in the out of season closet with my event wear. My out of season closet also holds the pieces that need to be mended or hemmed. My in season closet has only in season pieces that fit.

I ain’t got nuthin’ in my holding zone!

I’ve just been wearing everything, and those things are mostly sweats! Gotta say, my favourite sweats are Roots. I share with my teenage daughter.

Looking to branch out to some “real” clothes this spring though.