Life Adventures
Comments 12

Why can’t I part with this? Or this or this?


I am trying to have a clear out and I keep reading about how people are doing it so well, I mean look at Annette from I Give you the Verbs and Tracie at Beets and Birch. Bish bash bosh, cleared out and tidy wardrobe, no 1980’s outfits lurking in these ladies closets.
So, why is it then that when I charge at my clothes with a hard head and a trash bag do I manage to pull out a single scraggy t shirt which is in no state to even send to charity. How do people fill bags? It isn’t like my wardrobe is minimal, I need to get rid of stuff and there is plenty of stuff in there which firmly falls into the ‘haven’t worn in 2 years’ or ‘doesn’t fit’ or ‘I don’t really like it anymore’ categories.

Here are the holdback areas I need to address-
1. I might like it again (yeah, when the 90’s are cool again and I am 60 years old)
2. It might fit again (ahem who am I kidding)
3. It is good quality and I didn’t wear it much. (and….)
4. Memories, it has memories attached. (take a photo and move on)
5. It is a designer piece. (I mean Matthew Williamson for H&M or Jean Paul Gaultier for Target)

So here are two examples of items (pictured above) I can’t/won’t get rid of and the whys.

I bought the Patrick Cox Wannabe loafers in the 90’s when they were a big deal and I was so happy to be owning a pair like one of the cool kids. I am pretty sure I got them on sale but they were still very expensive for just finished college me. I was so excited to own a pair of Patrick Cox shoes,  I was heading to New York City for a few days and these cool babies were coming with me. Distressed Levi’s and these shoes were going to be my look. I am not sure whether I wore them before the trip very much or not, but these shoes were the most uncomfortable things I have ever worn in my life. Ever. They never got better, no wearing in or getting more comfortable, these shoes are solid, not an ounce of stretch or sensible shoe in sight.
First day in New York and I was hobbling about like an old lady (in damn cool shoes)! I still kept them and I still wore them, band aids in my purse at the ready!
So, I still keep them and I don’t even consider getting rid of them, they have memories (mainly of painful blisters) and they are designer (really) and they were a 90’s fashion icon!

The red Levi’s were my Mum’s and I snaffled them as soon as I was allowed. I did borrow them whenever I could when I was a kid, but I always wanted those jeans as my own. As my Mum rocked these beauties, I was in a pair of dungarees which was my first denim at about age 10 or 11. I think she gave them to me while I was at college and I wore them for a 70’s fancy dress party although they are so universal, they looked modern and still do. I would totally wear them now if I could fit my butt into them!
I remember my Mum getting these jeans along with a striped sweatshirt which was also cool, but I didn’t steal! It was a killer outfit in the late 70’s, maybe even very early 80’s.
Another item I am keeping.

Having said all that, there are other items which I think have the magical hold over me that these two pieces do, but I need to toughen up and grab a big trash bag or three.

Are you good at clearing out? Or do you hesitate and then keep every darn thing?

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I live in St Louis, MO, but I am originally from Lincoln, Great Britain. My family and I have lived in the Mid West for over 15 years now. My blog is where I blog and chat about all kinds of creative stuff.


  1. Oh Clare, this did make me chuckle – what we put ourselves through for fashion! I am not a hoarder at all and my family joke about if they leave anything lying around for too long it ends up gone, but I do sympathise. I do have a couple of items of clothing that have sentimental value and probably will never be worn again – one is a black velvet dress which I bought to attend a ball and will never have cause to wear again and one is a skimpy long length dress I bought when I starved myself to lose nearly 30kgs and will never ever get to that size again. They just sit there taunting me but for some reason I just cannot part with them. I have no answers because normally I’m very good at parting with things (my mantra is “they are only things and I can’t take them with me” and “someone else will benefit from them so I’m increasing my karma”) Good luck with it all xx

    • I think I need you to come over and help me clear out Sarah! I think some things we have to keep and the rest is transient.

  2. Yep there’s much in your post I relate to Clare. I’m ok at having a clean-out, but there are a few pieces of clothing that hang around. However, books is my great downfall. I cannot pass them on – and they feel like old friends. Where I read them, who gave them to me, how I felt when I bought them/ read them, where I was travelling at the time etc etc. Slimming down my book collection is one tough call!

    • That is funny Pia, I rarely buy novels but when I do I can easily pass them on because I know I won’t read them again. Non fiction books I always keep though, so that is a book pile right there! Kids books are the worst because they read them so much and I want to keep them with the memories.

  3. I am quite good at clearing things out and then years later I get the regrets. Like why, at 16, did I throw all the crocheted blankets and doilies I made when I was 12 – 14. Why? I say keep em – you never know!

    • I know, this is exactly what I worry about, as soon as something is out the door, I want it back! I gave away all of my 80’s jewelry and have regretted it ever since. I accidentally gave my first camera and walkman to charity and that still makes me sad. I wish I had gone back to the shop and bought them back!

  4. Clare,How happy this has made me, because…so like me! I won’t take over the comments with a long list, but yes it includes clothing that was my Mum’s, jeans from over 20 years ago, shoes that I bought in London (Doc Martins) which were NEVER comfortable but so cool , or at least I thought so. Anyhow, I guess one day I will have to sort this out, but maybe I never will and my grandchildren will inherit a pair of weird old Doc Martins, barely worn 🙂
    p.s if this does inspire a blog post, or a clean out I’ll be linking back to you!

    • Ha! You should write a post and I want to see the DMs! I had a pair when I was a goth teen, didn’t keep them though….

  5. I’m not bad at clearing out, and agree with Sarah that ‘you can’t take it with you’, so why not pass it on if it’s just going to sit in your cupboard or on your bookshelf. However, my Mum has a ruthless ‘take to the op-shop’ mentality that means all our childhood toys, baby clothes, all the clothes and things from her own youth, and basically EVERYTHING get sent to charity. What if I want to pass on a toy from my childhood to my own (hypothetical) child one day? I can’t because it’s gone…thanks Mum! So I say, if you really want it, keep it and don’t be ashamed! Maybe your kids will thank you x

    • That is one of the things that holds me back, keeping toys, which toys to keep. Same with books! Clothes are definitely the easiest thing to get rid of.

  6. hahah for sure no 80’s clothes… not even any 2012 clothes left in my closet!

    but if you only have a few must-keep-forever things i’d say you did a good job!
    i had an outfit that went in and out of the charity bag 4 times. it’s true. i did let it go though.

    • Damn, I would have loved to have seen an 80’s outfit from you!!! I need to go at my whole house with a mountain of trash bags!

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