Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are blue capes fashionable again yet?

I mentioned yesterday that we’re in “clean out mode” at my house.  After 15 years of accumulation of “stuff,” it’s time to pare down and de-clutter.

Part of “2011 Operation De-clutter” is the cleaning out of “all” the closets which includes our master bedroom walk-in closet.  I was really dreading that job.

Ok, I'll admit it.  I have trouble throwing out clothes.  I’m probably like most women where I fluctuate between two clothes sizes – my “I'm eating properly and working out regularly" weight and my “oh no, I ate too many cookies and didn't go to the Y" weight.  So, naturally I have wardrobes for both sizes. 

That takes up maybe 1/2 of my side of the closet and then I have those items that I spent a lot of money on and yes, they may be a little dated, but I may wear them someday, right?  Like that off-white suit.  It’s a lovely skirt and matching jacket that I wore, oh, let’s just say a WHILE back when I would go on job interviews.  There’s no way that it can be “in style” so why am I hanging onto it?  I paid big bucks for it, that’s why, and I haven’t worn it “that” much.

I’m constantly freezing so I have quite few jackets too.  All sorts of dressy, professional and casual jackets.  I shudder to think how old some of those may be, but you can always use an extra jacket, right? 

There’s two items in my closet that are just completely useless yet I can’t seem to part with.  One is a royal blue cape.  Yes, I said “cape.”  I bought it…get this….in 1980.  Yep, your read that right, 1980.  I think Madonna might have been popular then and so were capes.  It was really fashionable that year.  I bought it along with a long sleeved sweater dress and matching royal blue shoes with money that I earned at my first job.  I loved clothes and actually worked two summer jobs just to buy the current trends. 

I guess I’ve held onto that cape so long because I worked so hard to get it.  I imagine it may have holes in it by now, but it hangs at the back of my closet to this day.

But don't feel sad for the cape.  The cape isn’t alone.  It has company.  It hangs next to a waist-length mink coat.  It’s really ironic that my grandmother would insist that I take her mink because I’m an animal lover, but she sure did about two years before her death.  She loved that coat, and I felt obligated to take care of it for her when she suggested I needed to take it hangs proudly next to the blue cape.  I think I maybe wore that coat once – over a strappy dress for a high school homecoming dance.  Like I said, I get cold easily.

So, you can imagine from all these clothes that the thought of cleaning out my closet was a bit overwhelming.  And I really was dreading it until I read an article last week that really helped me to put it into perspective.

The article stated some random statistic that we wear only 20 percent of our clothing 80 percent of the time. Although there’s no research to support this statistic, I have to believe it’s close to being true.

The article suggested that in order to validate the statistic, we need to count our clothes.  Sounds reasonable until you start to think about counting “all” of your clothes which means anything folded, all seasonal clothes, sweaters, shorts, t-shirts, jeans, hanging clothes, clothes in that extra closet (including that cape and mink) – you have to count them whether they fit or not and whether or not you haven’t worn them in months or years (aka. my numerous jackets)…it’s sounding more difficult isn’t it?

I was thinking that my total number could be extremely high – maybe several hundred.  And if I would have to determine a percentage of those that I wear regularly, I’d guesstimate it to be in the point-zero something percentile. 

But then I read that whatever clothes you really don’t wear or that no longer fit “and” you put in a bag to give away to charity, you don’t have to count.

That was my “aha” moment.  Now my number may be under a couple hundred ;)

I’m thinking that if the goal is to only keep what I actually wear and if I’m held accountable… to not only count what I keep but also establish a percentage of what I actually wear of what I keep…well, I’ve got a much better chance of getting rid of those pieces that I probably should have thrown out years ago. 

Well, everything except the blue cape and mink coat!  Did someone turn up the AC?  I think I have a chill!


  1. Now, you sounded like a cape isn't fashionable? :) I have a beautiful brown wool cape in my closet...probably bought around 1976.

    Your post might have motivated me to clean out my closets. sorta...

  2. I just can't bring myself to toss the clothes that no longer fit. I'm on a mission to lose weight I gained while writing my travel guidebook and be able to get back inside of those clothes. I know people say you won't ever do that, but I have to believe. Otherwise, it'll cost me a fortune to replace them.