Help me wear my clothing (not R rated, no nudity involved)
December 5, 2014 2:28 AM   Subscribe

I have this … thing. I have a lot of clothing in my closet, way too much jammed in there, but I'm reluctant to wear it. Instead I "save" it for some unknown possible event down the road and stick to a black-on-black type uniform which I can get away with, because I'm in NYC, but something tells me that ... there is something deeper going on here. Details below the fold.

So, I have all this clothing, but it's as if I'm choosing to "save" it for a more important occasion than daily life – but all I have is daily life. These are not formal clothes, its nice clothing but casual. A mix of upscale jewel-tone t's (short and long sleeve), blouses, scarves, black and khaki slacks. I'm kinda plus-sized again, after losing a lot of weight, and regaining some of it (!@#$!)

When it comes time to get dressed in the AM – to go out to start the day or run errands or go to appointments – I look at my clothing, choose a top or blouse and my brain says: "No, I might need to wear this later in the week." Then I put it back, and end up wearing my usual go-to stuff, which is black slacks and a nice black fitted t-shirt (I have many), with earrings and a watch. Maybe a scarf. Dull. Uniform-y.

And, yes, I had this issue even when I was thinner. So it's not the weight.

Now I live in NYC where everyone wears black most of the time, but … why am I refusing to wear clothing that I like and that fits and generally looks well on me? What am I saving it for? Nothing special happens in my life, I could wear any of my stuff on any day … but I don't. I am most definitely saving it. For I-don't-know-what.

I don't have unlimited funds, but I get by. As a teenager the story was very different, I think I wore the same pair of jeans all thru high school. The funds just weren't there. This is no longer an issue. But now my thought process seems to be: "Oh, I'll need that later, better not wear it today."

I do hate to do laundry, I hate ironing, so … things tend to get dry-cleaned and turnaround time is an issue. So there is the thought that the item will not be there if I need it.

I'm also not good at quickly pulling together an outfit that really all goes together well. If I'm going out somewhere, say to meet friends, or out to dinner with my SO, I'll frequently change outfits several times till I get it right.

So I guess my questions are:

1) why do you think I am "saving" my clothes as some sort of precious commodity instead of wearing them and enjoying them; and

2) how do I break this mindset which is, I think, really odd and peculiar?

Would it help to pull together some outfits and hang them together in my closet so that I'm not frantically trying to say "oh, this goes well with that" on the way out the door?

And, in general, how do you pull disparate items of clothing together into an actual snazzy outfit that makes you happy to open the closet, reach in and pull something out to wear without angst? Or does everybody struggle with this?

(Mods: if you need to move this, feel free, although I do think it's a grab bag question as much as a fashion question, but I'll leave it to you)

Any and all thoughts appreciated.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff to Grab Bag (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It's not really odd at all. I used to do the same thing, really. A closet filled with pretty decent outfits and I'd usually end up wearing the same uniform. It's a comfort thing. A safety thing. Also, an overwhelming thing with all those clothes and too many choices and I just want to get going in the morning. I get it.

Would it help to pull together some outfits and hang them together in my closet so that I'm not frantically trying to say "oh, this goes well with that" on the way out the door?

YES. I started doing this a few years ago. Years ago, one of my fashionista kids took all my clothes and made outfits and printed out pictures of everything so things made more sense to me, because left to my own devices, I go with black sweater layered over white tank and black skirt. (And this horrified my kid because she was like, "You have all these awesome clothes and if you don't wear them I'm going to steal them and I've got my eye on your pink cashmere sweater." My family responds well to threats.)

On Sunday nights I stand in front of the closet and pick five outfits for the week using the pictures as reference, grab appropriate accessories and put them all on hangers in the center of the closet. Sometimes I'll change my mind but it's helped a lot.
posted by kinetic at 3:23 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm also not good at quickly pulling together an outfit that really all goes together well. If I'm going out somewhere, say to meet friends, or out to dinner with my SO, I'll frequently change outfits several times till I get it right.

Plan your outfit the day before-- including trying on if necessary-- and try to stick to that.

Also, organize your closet into work clothes, going out clothes and whatever other categories, and give away/throw out stuff you are not wearing. (It may be sobering to get rid of some things you have rarely or never worn.) Or resolve to wear those things, and then do it. Go closet shopping like kinetic suggested. The washing/dry cleaning stuff really is a pain so maybe just resolve to go to the dry cleaner more often and create a place to put stuff that needs to go there.

For what it's worth, I don't think this behavior is abnormal, at least not some level of it. People get new stuff and save it for "best" or for when the old stuff wears out or gets damaged. It's a security thing. Having some backup keeps you from having to run out and buy something you don't really like, for too much money. But if there is a whole category of stuff-- i.e. colored shirts as opposed to black and white-- you are not wearing, maybe you need to make a rule that you don't buy any more until you have worn or gotten rid of some of it.

Also for what it is worth, I empathize totally with the black and white thing. It is almost a uniform with me too. My partner got me a lot of colored scarves and I have less trouble wearing those, if only because I don't want him to think I don't like his gifts.
posted by BibiRose at 4:20 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a girlfriend in high school who would buy something, but wait to wear it. I asked her why and she said, "Because I don't want people to think I'm wearing it right after I buy it." I said, "they don't know when you bought it. For all they know you ARE wearing it right after you bought it. Just enjoy it!"

Try this. Organize outfits for every day of the week and commit to wearing them. Put them all in there, matched up, with shoes, scarves, etc. Then, wear them.

Also, if you hate laundry, rather than dry clean, do fluff and fold. Plan to take everything to fluff and fold once a week. It's not that expensive and if you drop off on Monday and pick up on Wednesday, you know you'll only be out of pocket for a day or so.

Force yourself, it'll feel weird at first, but you'll get used to it.

Says the person who likes to wear her new outfits right away.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:25 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your post reminded me of some things that Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, has written about 'saving' nice things for a future time. She says that not wearing clothes because you're saving them is just as wasteful as throwing them away. You might enjoy the book, as she talks about her struggles with a number of related tendencies.

I'm not a particularly fashiony person, but I put off wearing things if I'm not sure how to wear them. In the morning when I'm in a hurry to get to work is the worst time for figuring out how to make clothes into an outfit, so if I want to wear something new I have to make a plan for how things will go together the night before. If I'm really uncertain about a new outfit I also sometimes put a backup shirt or whatever in my bag just in case, but as soon as I leave the house I forget about my uncertainty and just have a day.

It might also be helpful if you can figure out what kind of future event or situation you're saving the clothes for - do you feel like you need to wear them on a special occasion? Can you decide that an ordinary trip to the cinema, or Friday at work, is special enough for debuting your new clothes? Or can you arrange an event that is 'special' enough that you feel like it qualifies?
posted by escapepod at 5:10 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I used to save nice things because "I paid so much for it!" Then I realized I could wear it once a year and have it cost $50/wearing or I could wear it once a week and pay $1/wearing. For me, it became a mental game to get the most value/wear.

I also used to save expensive art supplies. Then I moved and found a box full of dried-up markers, solidified paint tubes, and wrinkled paper. I had to throw it all away. Such a waste.

Last month I went to my mom's funeral and then spent the next week helping my dad sort through her stuff. She had drawers and drawers of pretty Christmas ornaments, beautiful souvenirs from her travels, & other things she'd bought, both for herself and others, that had never been enjoyed. All this money and love, left to languish unappreciated in a dresser. It made me really sad.
posted by belladonna at 5:13 AM on December 5, 2014 [23 favorites]

Sounds like you may have been brought up to conserve since you didn't have lots of funds. This is a great attribute! Now you want to have a little fun but don't know how because your mindset is to squirrel away the good stuff for the future. I would officially make Friday a special day that deserves a nice outfit. Or Saturday, when perhaps you can have lunch with a friend or go to a museum, movie, estate sales. One day a week is all I'm suggesting here. I love my one day a week and make the most of it, then go back to normal tomorrow.
posted by waving at 5:33 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do all the clothes fit comfortably? I find myself avoiding wearing things when they require a belt, or a cami, or something else I hate putting on. Can you go through and try everything on and then sell/donate what you don't/won't wear? I've been using Vinted to sell stuff and it's way easier than eBay. If you're at least a size 10 you could sign up for Gwynnie Bee and try a bunch of stuff out with no commitment, which is frivolous but doesn't result in a full closet of "someday"s. Also, I'm fat and used to hate dresses and now I wear ONLY dresses. For a while I felt like" if people see me in a dress they'll think I think I'm hot shit but really I'm like a pig with lipstick on". This is patently false. I feel great in dresses, and get compliments every day. If you feel like maybe these jewel tones are too flashy, don't! No one else will be like "why is she on colors? Who does she think she is?" They'll actually be thinking and saying "wow, you look awesome!" Also, dresses are comfy as hell and are just one piece that doesn't require a lot of accessorizing (I am living in dresses, leggings, boots, and earrings right now), so maybe try some of those when you're having outfit - anxiety!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 6:24 AM on December 5, 2014 [9 favorites]

I do this, with both food and clothes. Like you, I didn't always have the funds for what I needed, and so I started...I don't want to say hoarding, because that implies a bigger problem than it is, but I saved it. This thing is a treat, and I don't know if I'll be able to get one in the future, so I should save this, just in case.

The end result, of course, is that the cheese tasted of ammonia when I finally went to eat it; the artichoke became a puddle of goop in the bottom of the fridge. With clothing it's a little less obvious, but clothes will go bad, too--even with so-called classic styles, the detailing, fit, etc changes over the years, and your (or my, at least) body changes. The shirt that looks gorgeous and on point this year will, in five years, still probably look attractive, if slightly dated, and if it still fits in ten years it'll no longer be A Gorgeous Shirt, but just a shirt, because what people are looking for in clothing will have changed.

I'm slowly convincing myself that it's ok to eat the cheese, ok to wear the shirt--not because I'll be able to get more (because really, who knows?) but because it's better to use things than it is to see them pass out of their prime, never really used or admired. In ten years, the shirt you didn't wear isn't going to be special anymore, one way or the other. But you can choose why--not special because you loved it and wore it out, or not special because you left it in the closet until it wasn't special anymore.

Getting past the knee-jerk of but what if I need this later!? is really hard, and it's something I've not totally succeeded at yet. It's gotten easier, though, with the realisation that not using things will make them unavailable to future me just as surely as using them will.
posted by MeghanC at 6:24 AM on December 5, 2014 [11 favorites]

Lots of great advice here, but also consider that you don't actually want to wear this stuff or buy it and maybe it's okay to have a uniform and minimize the amount of time/money you spend on things like clothes. I do, and I don't lose any sleep over it. Women especially are expected to do an enormous amount of work in terms of clothes, trends, outfits...if what you wear works for you, wear it. Donate the rest of your clothes that you never wear to an organization that helps women escape poverty and abuse, and be at peace that someone who needs it will wear it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:46 AM on December 5, 2014 [11 favorites]

Maybe you're just not as into clothes as you would like to be? Maybe you would *like* to be the kind of person who always has fun, interesting outfits, but you're actually not interested in devoting the time to making that happen? Kind of the way I might like to be able to play the guitar, so I buy a guitar and a bunch of guitar accessories and books but then I don't actually use them because I don't actually want it badly enough.

Wearing non-uniform clothes takes work. There's the deciding on outfits part, there's the laundry part... maybe that's just more work than you want to do.

By all means try putting together outfits (and it sounds like you have plenty of clothes, such that you could have *something* to wear even if you had to send a piece to the dry cleaners), but also consider just getting rid of most of it. Like you would get rid of stuff you bought for a hobby that never really took. At an absolute minimum, institute a one-in-one-out policy for clothes. Don't keep accumulating clothes you're going to "save."
posted by mskyle at 7:07 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I didn't always have the funds for what I needed, and so I started...I don't want to say hoarding, because that implies a bigger problem than it is, but I saved it. This thing is a treat, and I don't know if I'll be able to get one in the future, so I should save this, just in case.

This was exactly my problem. In my case, it was exacerbated by my mom's mentality of "save it for best!" She was born in the middle of the Depression and was poor growing up; it made her super-conscious of keeping one's things nice and like new because you never know when you might be able to replace them, and she passed this mentality down to me. After she died, I cleaned out her closets, and, like Belladonna's mom, my own mom had saved and never used SO much stuff. And she had something like five practically identical blue sweatshirts so that she could rotate through them and never wear them out (or something)! I put out enough boxes and bags of never-or-little-worn items for the charity pick-up truck to cover the whole front lawn. (And Dad was even poorer growing up, and had this mentality as well, but being a guy, he didn't have as much influence over my shopping habits! It was always a struggle to get him to throw out his worn clothing/shoes and replace them, though.)

Then, at times when I was an adult and didn't have much money, I pretty much had to wear my good clothes and shoes as little as possible and save them for when I needed them, because dry cleaning is expensive and I couldn't afford to replace an item if it got shabby or permanently stained. If you know that this is the only good work outfit (for instance) that you have, and you won't be able to replace it if it is ruined or worn out, that encourages you to hoard, and it can be difficult to get over this mentality.

Getting over this mentality is helping me a lot. I've also taken a good look at my lifestyle and only bought clothes that will suit it. I don't go to a lot of swanky evening 'dos, so I have only a few really dressy items. Ditto for business formal - I have one or two outfits just in case I need them, or for interviewing, but since I mostly wear business casual to work, that is what I buy.

I had my colors done so I know what colors suit me best, so I don't waste money buying clothes in unflattering shades. Getting my colors done has given me the confidence to branch out from neutrals into (flattering) colors.

Finally, it helps me to take some time out on a weekend - like a Sunday afternoon - to try on different outfits and combinations and see what works. This way I can see what combinations look best at a time when I'm not trying to hurry up and pull together an outfit a half hour before I have to leave for work. It's so tempting to go for a "uniform" when you're in a huge hurry. So I plan ahead, try on outfits when I have some spare time, and make notes in my iPhone ("brown cords, cream-colored shirt, brown boots, gold jewelry") so I can look at them and pull together an outfit on short notice. And, I try to put together an outfit the night before I wear it and have it out where I can see it - this saves me so much time in the morning.

From a fellow "save it for best-er" - I think this is a very common mentality, especially for those of us who spent time poor or had parents who did. It's also very liberating to realize that you don't have to keep your good stuff under wraps just in case!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:09 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

And one more thing about weight and clothes: "Dress for the body you have now" is a cliche but it helps. Many women fluctuate in their weight and dress size, so "the body you have now" might change. My rule is "dress for the body you are most likely to keep" and have a skeleton wardrobe for different sizes if you fluctuate. It is so very common for women to buy clothes in "aspirational" sizes and never wear them, or only wear them briefly. Don't buy a lot of clothes in a smaller size if you find you have to work like a dog to stay at that size, and the minute you slip up, boom! the outfit is too tight. (If you find yourself staying at that smaller size, then buy your clothes to fit that body!) If wearing a size 8 takes a full-time, constant-vigilance effort, you're more likely to find those clothes sitting in your closet unworn than if you buy for the size 12 your body is most comfortable being.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:18 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have a similar issue, where I only wear about 20% of my clothes, which turn out to be the most casual items. I think it could just be a comfort issue. It takes the least amount of effort to wear clothes that are tried and true.

What I've been planning to do is go through my closet and play dress-up like I was 10. If I decide something just doesn't feel right, it goes in the giveaway pile. With each outfit, I'll snap a photo of myself, so I can keep a record of what everything looks like on me. Later, when I'm deciding what to wear, I can consult the photos.
posted by oxisos at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2014

I have similar tendencies that for me stemmed from being uncomfortable with the idea of being someone who cared about 'frivolous' things like clothes. Fashionable clothing was also not a priority on our house growing up. The frivolity idea gradually dropped away but it took a while to get up the nerve to actually wear nicer/more interesting clothes. It didn't help that whenever I wore anything fancier than jeans, someone would inevitably make a comment of the "ooh, hot date tonight ehh??" nature.

What did help was moving to New York for grad school and getting a blank slate fashionwise, and realizing people don't care the way I thought they did. Also the nice thing about NYC is that yes, a lot of people do wear a lot of black, BUT you can wear whatever the fuck you want and still never be the Most Outrageously Dressed Person on the sidewalk. (Seriously stroll through Soho or Williamsburg, some days it seems like there's a championship title match going on.) That gave me a lot of freedom to try new things.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Limit the clothes in your rotation. Keep like 2 uniform outfits, 6 slight upgrade outfits, and 2 "look your best" outfits in your closet and drawers and pack the rest away in totes. When an item in rotation gets worn out or you get tired of it, toss or donate it, then go shopping in your totes to replace it.

Limiting your selection will force you to wear clothes you would otherwise skip over due to having an abumdance of uniform pieces.

Also wearing more frequently will use the clothes so they will actually wear out. Do feel bad about using clothes, that's what they are meant for! If in the back of your head you find yourself afraid to wear out something - just look at the totes to remember you've got ample backup.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:59 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I used to do this too. Also grew up poor, also plus sized (lost the weight, thyroid broke... gained it again). But for me, there was more to it than the vague idea of it not being available "later" but also the idea of: What if I ruined the clothes if I wore them for everyday wear? What if I wore that really swanky blouse I just bought (on sale of course) and spilled coffee on it? What if I wore that nice skirt to work and ripped it? That happens to me all the time! >_< I wear long skirts, ankle length exclusively...

It's like the "good" dishes. One doesn't eat off of "good" dishes every day because that's what we're taught. What if they chip? What if I drop one and it breaks? No one makes these anymore! Keep them safe in the cabinets for company, right? It's the same idea... keep those "nice" clothes for... whatever special occasion is in the back of our minds. Maybe lunch with a friend, maybe the company is having sponsors come over, maybe I just want to feel pretty. Whatever, but keep them safe in the closet because I don't want to ruin them by... you know... wearing them.

Then I had an epiphany that, as several people above pointed out, both of these ideas are simply wasteful. Why not eat off of the good dishes? That's what dishes are for! To hold food while one eats. Why keep them hidden away in the cabinets for who knows how long? I don't think so. I see thrift stores shelves piled high with so called good dishes that no one wants anymore. And since I buy most, if not all, of my clothes on sale, then even if I do ruin them, it's not a major financial disaster, besides, I know how to mend clothing. Clothes are meant to be worn! Not hung on a hanger! And so I wear them, patches and all.

I guess what I'm saying is that maybe if you remind yourself that this is the main function of clothes -- to be worn, that might help you. You say you wear black slacks most days? Start with putting on one of your blouses instead of your black top. No putting together an outfit necessary. Black goes with nearly everything, especially jewel tones. Boom, first step taken.
posted by patheral at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I used to do this - keep two wardrobes full of "nice clothes" I never wore, which I had accumulated mainly by thinking: i might need an outfit like this one day, and it is my size and on sale, and then I put it in the closet. When I was a teenager I had no money to spend on clothes so I compensated. But I never wore them to work, instead I wear a daily black uniform to work which is fine for my job.

Then one day, in a fit of frustration with lack of space in our bedroom last year I donated about 80% of the accumulated nice clothes, and otherwise I only kept my large collection of black fitted t-shirts and longsleeves, and trousers (all non-iron and machine washable as I cannot be bothered with either ironing or dry cleaning), and nice jackets. I have a similar "uniform" of jeans and shirts for weekend. Plus 2 outfits incl. matching shoes for weddings or similar, and 3 nice pant suits and matching shirts for conferences. Everyting else is gone and I don't miss it because I realised I am no longer without money for clothes ( I only ever wore hand me downs, incl underwear until about 30). The I started to earn and spent a huge amount each mont h on clothes I nver wore...

I used to trouble myself with daily outfits put together, skirts, dresses, etc, but honestly I fare much better with my 5 almost identical black outfits, one for each day, washed on the weekend. I just make sure they are set on Sunday night, ready for each day. I find that as long as I wear a jacket it is fine. I don't miss my two wardrobes full of clothes in the least.
posted by 15L06 at 12:07 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've been through a few of these ruts. I've found that my style goes in cycles which are affected by a couple of factors.

1) My job (different clothing for different environments)
2) The number of years that it takes for basics to look outdated or just to wear out

The second one is something I've just begun to get a sort-of handle on. You'd think a stretchy little t-shirt would be timeless, but they're not. Subtle differences in sleeve length, shirt length, neckline, fabric type color and graphics can add up to big differences in whether or not something looks "cool" or not.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:33 PM on December 5, 2014

I do hate to do laundry, I hate ironing, so … things tend to get dry-cleaned and turnaround time is an issue. So there is the thought that the item will not be there if I need it.

Changing how you deal with clothing management and laundering might reduce the barrier. I do a load maybe every other day or so. I never run out of things to wear, because there's always something in the wash! Doesn't take long using the short or delicate cycle - I pop things in while I'm getting dinner ready and use timers to remind me to attend to them. Because I do this so often, it's not a big deal, just part of the routine. It's about 75% less annoying (to me, anyway) than spending all Sunday glued to the machine or remembering to pick things up from the dry-cleaner. My tips:

Sorting: This sounds complicated, but it actually makes things so much easier. I have multiple laundry bags - delicates (includes sweaters), dark and light; black clothes; light "doesn't matter", and coloured "doesn't matter". I use those $1 plastic shopping totes and have them on hooks in a closet. I throw things into them as I wear them, so I don't have to sort later. When enough things fill up to do a small load - doesn't have to be a lot, sometimes it's 4 or 5 things - I wash them, using the appropriate load setting on the washer. (You can wash silks and wools (most things, really) in the washing machine - use a gentle cycle, cold water, lay flat on a towel to dry.)

Detergents: I have detergents to handle different kinds of laundry - Woolite for delicates, Cheer Dark for darks, Tide with some kind of colour protection and stain removing booster for "doesn't matter".

Drying, folding, ironing: I rarely fold or iron. Only underwear, socks and sleepwear don't go on hangers. I take things out of the dryer as soon as the cycle's done, and hang them immediately, no wrinkles, no ironing. For clothes made of natural fibres: I sometimes buy things ever so slightly big to accommodate for shrinkage, because although you're supposed to hang dry everything, I find it's a massive annoyance. You can tumble dry most things on a low heat setting. I smooth delicates out when I lie them flat, also no ironing required. I do have a steam iron that blasts things smooth in about 6 seconds, so it's less of a PITA - highly recommend getting one of these - you can 'refresh' a garment worn once that way, too.

Clothes worn once: Hang them over a valet stand - airs them out and keeps them smooth.

Closet: I have lots of hangers. I use extra small ones with foam covering for blouses, tees and sweaters so as not to deform the shoulders. Things are organized by material, function and colour - every-day tops go together, silk blouses and tops together, same for pants, skirts, sweaters, dresses, and suiting. I can see everything I have, and it makes selection so much easier.

I imagine that all sounds like a lot of work, but once you set it up, it's super easy.

Wear your beautiful clothes!
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, not sure if it was covered already - put things that don't fit away. Stuff them in a box for now, or give them away if they're likely to go out of style. It's demoralizing to open your closet full of things and feel like you have nothing to wear. You should only have wearable things in there.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2014

I used to do this. You can "cure" this in baby steps:

1. Do a huge closet purge and throw out everything you don't LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.
2. Throw out all your black tee shirts but 3.
3. Every night, lie in bed, and just think of ONE item you are going to wear the next day. You can coordinate it with anything - including your boring black slacks and everyday shoes - but gosh darnit, you're going to wear that one thing.

I do this 5 days of the week and have found that I'm now getting through a lot of my "reserved for later" clothing, whilst keeping my uniform pieces for comfort too.
posted by shazzam! at 7:08 PM on December 5, 2014

Response by poster: I hope this isn't what's called thread sitting, just feedback and thank yous.

OMG, you guys are great. Not judgy, giving assurance, and you touched on so many issues that resonate with me in every single post.

Yes: to the outfit anxiety, afraid of stains, Depression-era parents, only used the "good dishes" twice a year; and, when Mom passed, wow, did we have tons of stuff to give/throw away that had never been worn or used. I don't want that to be me.

And such great tips! I can put these into use STAT. Especially the clothes that need to be donated so that I can actually see what's in the closet that I can wear, and just reach for them. And one of those little steamer things, a holiday gift to myself.

And, yes, it is possible I'm meant to be a black t-shirt and slacks kinda person with a silk scarf and wild earrings. Who cares if people think I don't own any other clothes? lol Well, actually I do care; but, I might have to get over that.

I can't pick a "best" answer, you were all so right on the mark in varied ways.

If you'd like to keep these great suggestions coming, I'm still listening and taking notes!

(And, belladonna, I am so very sorry for your recent loss. My condolences.)

Many thanks to each of you, I'm actually (almost) looking forward to opening that closet door tomorrow.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 10:11 PM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure I'm recommending this, but I start work at the crack of dawn with my partner still sleeping so I often just pull stuff out of the wardrobe at random.

It helps being a bloke that most of my clothes go together and fit the office casual dress-code, but while there are some unusual combinations it certainly mixes things up!
posted by Middlemarch at 10:32 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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