growing up and paring down, part 1: the purge

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I spent a good chunk of Labor Day knee-deep in a closet edit of epic proportions. I sorted through every rack, rod and cubby, pulling the items I couldn’t see myself wearing in 3 years and tossing them in a pile on the bed. After a couple of hours, a mountain of ill-fitting trendy printed denim, flimsy clearance bin tops, and elastic-waist polyester dresses covered the bedspread.

I surveyed the teetering stack of clothing — the spoils of years of bargain shopping and too much style “inspiration” — and thought to myself, You’re doing it wrong. These things don’t look like they belong in the same woman’s closet. 

I’d created a monster, fed by blog trends and Pinterest and deep discounts; and I’d lost my point of view along the way.

Then I made a rash decision: I couldn’t move forward with creating a well-edited wardrobe with all this stuff taking up valuable closet real estate. I bagged it all up neatly (it took three Hefty’s and a good dose of resolve) and drove it to the local women’s resource center the following morning.

For the last two weeks, getting dressed has been so much easier. I’ll tell you more about it in part two.

To be continued! 

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Wearing: 

Cynthia Rowley dolman tee via TJ Maxx (SIMILAR) | American Eagle skinnies | Nine West sandals | Olivia & Joy Dynamo bag

43 Comments

  1. Oby Grace

    Love!

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  2. TB

    Good for you! I also fall victim to the “but it’s cheap” rationale… Settling for things that aren’t quite right. I have to start thinking about cost per wear! Looking forward to seeing your part 2.

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    1. My girlfriends are so good at breaking down CPW when shopping. It’s something I’m really working on implementing in my shopping habits, too!

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  3. Don’t you love all that new space! Can’t wait for part 2

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    1. Yes! It’s awesome!

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  4. This is inspiring! I’ve been meaning to do this to my own closet for months now…maybe I’ll finally buckle down and do it.

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    1. You can do it, Michelle! :)

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  5. So great! I myself am currently working on buying simple and durable pieces I love to build my closet. I have fallen victim to pieces that don’t work with anything else in my closet (Pinterest brainwash) and or cheap clothing that I love that quickly falls apart. As much as I love Target…I have to stay away from that place! My last 5 purchases have shrunk, torn, ripped or had surprise stains after the first wear.
    Time to upgrade to a big girl closet!

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    1. Ugh, Target. I feel ya. I’m taking a break from their clothing department myself, for this exact reason.

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  6. What a great post. I’m knee deep in the monster too. My wardrobe sounds like it must look much the same as yours pre-clean out.

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  7. I am in desperate need of doing this exact same thing!

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  8. Such amazing inspiration! And not the bargin bin/pinterest kind. I love pinning looks that I can recreate, but more for the overall aesthetic than exact item replication. I believe in investing in the things that matter (blazers, great jeans) and move from season to season. The trendy items I’m ok buying at Target or Forever 21 because who knows if you’ll be wearing it in 2 months, much less liking it in 2 years. Can’t wait to see Part Two!
    XO
    Katie
    http://www.charmingcitystyle.com

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    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself, Katie!!

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  9. Cute look! Love your heels. Purging the closet can feel like such a relief sometimes! And it’s funny how some pieces are just timeless…like the plain white or grey tees. It’s a process I should really go through in my own closet!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

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    1. It’s funny, but I feel like my style is becoming alarmingly casual lately. I would be perfectly content with a closet full of good jeans and quality tees! ;)

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  10. I really need to purge too, it will take me a week to get through it all. I’m always afraid I’ll get rid of something and …. Enter- Purgers Remorse.

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    1. Oh man. I know purger’s remorse all too well. I actually had to take a break from cleaning my closet for a while because I was thinning it out every couple of months. This time I made myself wait about a year before really weeding things out. I’ll explain more soon!

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  11. This is great! Getting dressed when you have a closet full of clothes you love is so much easier and more enjoyable!!

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    1. It really is, Natalie! Now when I walk in my closet, it’s filled with stuff I really love that works well together. It took a decade, but I think I’m finally getting it! ;-)

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  12. oh if only I could be as strong as you and do the same!

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    1. You can do it, Victoria! :)

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  13. I love a good wardrobe cleanse! I do it two-three times and year, not as big a haul each time if it do that way and I don’t feel as bad getting ride of stuff.
    http://shesseasonallyinspired.wordpress.com

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    1. I think that’s a really smart way to do it. I used to be guilty of cleaning out my closet TOO often, and then I was always shopping to fill it back up. I’m hoping that this will be the last major clean-out for a while!

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  14. lovelyjandl

    Very cute. Love your bag.

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  15. I love cleaning out my closet and getting a fresh start! It’s like a weight is lifted. Can’t wait to read part 2!

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    1. Totally! I was going to put something just like that in this post. I love a good fresh start :)

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  16. You’re speaking my language. I know I’ve got a big wardrobe edit/revamp coming soon. I’m still not quite pulled together and dressing my age, so while I don’t have a ton of clothes, I’m a little too casual/haphazard for my life, super-casual job or not. First step, editing.

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    1. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a LOT lately. I spent a lot of my 20’s figuring out my style, and I think I’ve finally nailed down the aesthetic I’m most comfortable with. Now I’m just working on editing my closet to reflect that aesthetic.

      Pinterest was helpful for figuring out the looks I really loved!

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  17. Can totally relate! It’s nice to hear someone verbalize it:) looking forward to part 2.
    Abby
    http://Www.withought23.com

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  18. I could definitely see myself doing something similar in the future too… Life is so much more relaxing without the clutter! xx

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    1. Exactly! I just want to simplify everything these days.

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  19. I would do this if I could ever throw anything away.

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    1. It’s definitely tough letting go. Donating it to a local charity makes it a little easier :)

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  20. Well done! i’m doing something similar at the moment – getting rid of clotehs I don’t love – and it feels so good to have space in my wardrobe again! xx

    http://www.jessthetics.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks! It makes me appreciate my favorite pieces so much more! I can actually see them now, instead of wading through lots of filler stuff.

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  21. I love this mentality! I might do the same. I feel so overwhelmed by my closet sometimes. Can’t wait to read part 2!

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  22. I love your bag! You can’t go wrong with a structured black bag with hold accents.

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  23. Ines Coelho

    I have just recently switched to the same philosophy, and it’s totally worth it!!
    Follow my style and travel blog: inescoelho.com

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  24. I find myself doing the same thing! “Oh that looks so cute on her!” Buy it, get it home, wear it once, to the back of the closet it goes!

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  25. […] Every time we manage to get out of town, we swear up and down we’re going to make quality time off a priority. I’m all about a good staycation, but sometimes you just need some beach/mountain/forest/spa air in your lungs and a break from your everyday surroundings to really relax. Plus, I always end up doing something worky when I’m supposed to be unwinding at home; see: The Great Closet Purge of Labor Day 2013. […]

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  26. […] wasn’t until the Labor Day 2013 Purge to End All Purges that I got the moment of clarity I so desperately needed: the trick wasn’t filling a closet […]

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