When Less is More- Getting Rid of Things and Saving Money

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I have said it before and I'll say it again- neatness, being organized, etc... is one of my hardest things. Its probably one of my bigger character flaws, and it sometimes hurts me a lot in the frugal department.

Lately I've been feeling like I had no clothing. And that my kids had no clothing to wear.
I knew intellectually that we probably did have what to wear, but the problem was that our clothing shelves were so stuffed and disorganized and messy that we couldn't actually find the clothes that we did have.

To be honest, my problem was in part that I had too much clothing, most of which I wasn't wearing since it didn't look good on my body shape or the color wasn't flattering, and I have decided that unless it is super comfortable or I have another reason to wear it, not to wear any clothing that I didn't feel good about myself or my body when I wore it. Because there was so much and there was barely any room to store it, lets just say my shelves were a disaster zone, and I could never find anything I wanted to wear. And the boys had so many clothes on their shelves that they'd outgrown that it made it hard to find the things that actually fit.

So, the other day I went and took every last bit of clothing off my shelf. Asked myself "Do I like this? Do I want to wear it? Does it make me feel good when I wear it?" and the clothing to which the answer to my questions was no, went into the giveaway pile.
If there was something that I wasn't sure about, but hadn't worn it in the longest time, it went there as well.
By the time I finished, I had a huge bag (about the size of 2 giant garbage bags) filled with clothes that I simply don't wear and were doing nothing but taking up room in my house.
And in about 2 weeks we're having a clothing swap locally, where I'll hopefully pass on these clothes to people that will love them.

Once that was done, I repeated the same thing with my kids, getting rid of the clothes that no longer fit or that my kids refuse to wear.

Then I organized my clothing so that I can find it easily, and now that the shelves aren't stuffed, I actually am able to keep a semblance of order there.
And despite now only having a fraction of the clothes I did before I started this, I actually feel like I have so much more, since I can actually find what I have.
Same with my kids.

And I passed on my boys' outgrown clothing to a friend with a son a year younger than Ike.

This clothes decluttering really made it hit home that for us, when it comes to clothing, less really is more, because I saved money now that I got rid of a bunch of things, because I no longer feel the need to go shopping so that I have what to wear.

How often do you go through your clothes shelf and get rid of clothes? What makes you get rid of clothes? Just not fitting anymore, or also if you don't like how it looks on you, etc? Do you feel the abundance after you get rid of things, or do you feel a need to shop to re-fill your closets?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I got rid of a bunch of clothes when I had my weight loss surgery in 2009. After losing almost 100lbs, I basically had to buy a whole new wardrobe. I HATE trying on clothes. Most of my wardrobe consists of pull-up shorts, t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, yoga pants. And my scrubs. I'm a nurse and I wear scrubs to work. Unlike the majority of my coworkers who wear street clothes (jeans, tees, hoodies) I feel like I get a little more respect from the clientele I deal with when I'm wearing my professional attire as opposed to wearing regular clothes. Heck, even our Medical Director wears jeans. My one supervisor wears scrubs and the other one wears street clothes and the same shoes that have a hole in them. It's like, hey buddy. You make good money, you're getting an Air Force retirement and currently working full-time with a state retirement on the horizon. GO OUT and spend $40 to buy yourself a new pair of shoes!

    I got rid of a BUNCH of stuff not too long ago. Clothes I no longer wear, craft supplies, junk stuff. old cosmetics. Just threw it all away. While not good for the environment, it felt good to get rid of so much STUFF!

  2. It's very difficult for me going from a size 10 regularly to a size 14 post pregnancy then all the maternity clothes. I've been on this cycle for 7 years and so I have 3 different wardrobes.

    1. Haha I hear ya! I'm Never sure what to save and what to get rid of...

  3. This reminds me of Marie Kondo's method. The Book is called The Life Changing Magic of tidying up. I highly recommend it!

  4. I don't own many clothes. Maybe 4 pairs of pants and 10 shirts per season +undies/socks. It's enough for me, since I'm striving for simplicity. As for my 2 daughters, I pass to the youngest what does not fit the oldest anymore, and I try to only buy (mostly used) what is truly needed. But they definitely have more than me!

  5. Every may I turn around every hanger in my closet. We don't have drawers, so I put shelf paper on top of the neat piles of clothes on my shelves. Over the course of the next year, when I put away clothing I put it on hangers facing the opposite way and place clothes folded on top of the shelf paper. When may comes around again, anything still under the paper or still on backwards facing hangers gets bagged up and sent to charity. Costumes and formal wear are kept in a different closet and are excluded from the purge. For the children, I live in a climate that has four distinct and drastically different seasons, so I purge the girls cold weather clothing when the weather is warm enough to no longer need them and vice versa. The older daughter's clothing that is in sizes smaller than the size I am selecting for are crated up for her little sister. The younger daughter's clothing that is smaller than the size I am selecting for gets donated to charity.

  6. I have been doing exactly this the past few weeks. Fortunately, where I live, three charities are often calling me to see if I have any bags of clothes or household items to put out on my front steps for them to pick up. I've been making clothes that can't be resold by the charities into rags. Some are ending up in the garbage, but not a lot. I do not really sew, but I have two of my favourite clothing items ready and waiting for me to sew up so that I can continue to wear them (around the house). It is feeling great to reduce overstuffed drawers. Once I've completed this pass through, I think I will do it again. I can't really need 20 T-shirts, can I?

  7. I go through my closet every other year or so; this year I discovered something called a "modular closet" where everything in your closet matches everything else, so you can never look bad. I've decided I want this and have made a list of about 20-30 items of clothing that I want to get, and now every time I buy something on that list I take something out of my closet and put it in the "charity" pile. I only have 3 pairs of jeans, 5 skirts (2 for winter, 3 for summer), 2 pairs of formal-ish slacks. I want to get 2 more long-sleeved t-shirts and 1 more sweater dress (so nice and warm!); combined with the sweaters and button-down shirts I already have, it should be enough.

    Something we did recently was we got rid of our wardrobe entirely and replaced it with an open-shelf system. It's been completely transformative--everything has a place. We recently did the same with our pantry, mounting extra shelves in it--the idea being that nothing should be in front of anything else, everything we use daily is easily accessible. The few things that need to be kept bunched together (laundry agents) are kept on a lazy susan.

  8. I never feel the need to buy new clothes because I hate trying stuff on. I never try clothes on at the store after a friend told me that when she worked at Rich's they had 2 way mirrors. Cured for life. Anyway, I do donate anything that doesn't fit anymore or I just hate. I send about 3 bags to goodwill every year because I impulse shop at the thrift store and with a no return policy, I never know if the item will fit just right. Anything not worthy enough for goodwill will become fabric for a project or cleaning rags.

    Less is more for me as well. My husband is a clothes hoarder but once it becomes stained he gets rid of it.

    As I get older I notice I only focus on clothing that is really comfortable with easy care (wash, dry, fold or hang, nothing fancy like 'needs ironing'). I wear a uniform to work so when away, I want comfort.
    Another reason why I like thrift store clothing is that everything is broken in so if the fabric is soft, it's gonna stay soft. And I can find all the cool rayon men's shirts I like to wear for $1.50 each.

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