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To be brought to Goodwill

(Speaking of sustainable vs. disposable clothing...)

  1. One long floral skirt, purchased at Machaneh Yehuda in the summer of 1996, during my first trip to Israel. It probably looked okay on me then. I was skinnier. In college, I wore it with a purple t-shirt from K-Mart that I still wear regularly. I only wore it a few times, though. Not more than four times, I think, in the past ten years. The truth is, it wasn't such a flattering skirt even then.
  2. One long floral skirt, purchased for $2.50 at the Hadassah Bargain Spot, circa 1995. Worn on many, many Shabbatot, up to and including two summers ago. Not worn since then, because I realized that even though it is very, very comfortable on both hot days and not so hot days, it is incredibly unflattering. I still love the pattern, though. It's just got too much elastic to be appropriate for a pretty 27-year-old to wear.
  3. One white and red floral pattern blouse, purchased at Sears at a date unknown, worn zero times. Much too large on me. I don't know if/when it ever fit me. It's a size L or XL, so maybe I just bought it without trying it on. Who the hell knows?
  4. Two linen skirts from Old Navy, circa April 2004 (purchased for Pesach), always on the larger size, now large enough to fall down with a quick tug. Therefore, no longer appropriate to wear. Anywhere. (I sometimes have trouble getting rid of clothing that's too big on me, since, I dunno, just because I haven't really gained the weight back over the past two years despite periods of little exercise and lots of junk food doesn't mean I might not gain it back sometime. My hard and fast rule, though, is if it comes off with a tug and no unbuttoning or unzipping, I get rid of it.)
  5. Two linen shirts from Old Navy, circa April 2004, now way too big. They went with the skirts. They often looked wrinkled. Not being a big fan of the iron, they spent a lot of time hanging in the bathroom when I was showering, in the hopes that the steam would straighten them out. Sometimes it helped!
  6. A pair of brown dress pants (by which I mean pants suitable for wearing to work). The lining is totally shot (by which I mean ripped in several places). I got them about two years ago, I think, and probably wore them weekly for much of that time. Also, I walk a lot and I think that takes a toll on pants and shoes. I went to get the lining of another pair of pants of similar vintage fixed at the local dry cleaner, and it cost me $25. Instead of getting these fixed, I went and got a new pair of pants on sale for $32. (That's probably what they were talking about in this article. It is much better for the world to get clothing repaired than to toss, or in my case donate, it and buy new stuff.) But these pants are also not that comfortable or flattering, so I'm happy to have replaced them with something nicer.
  7. One knee-length A-line jean skirt, worn occasionally. I don't have much occasion to wear jean skirts. This is one of three, and since I only wear them when I feel compelled, for social reasons, to wear a skirt to a casual event on a weekday, they don't get worn much. The other two skirts are much better for a variety of reasons. This one goes. Closet real estate is valuable in these parts.
  8. One peasanty purple shirt, suitable for hippy Shabbatot, purchased at K-Mart circa 1998 or 1999. Shoulder is worn out. Also, it looks like something I wore a lot in college. I guess it is.
  9. One hideous shiny purple blouse, never worn. Unclear why it was ever purchased. It must have been a bargain.
  10. One long, straight, light blue linen skirt. Purchased for a summer wedding and worn once after that. Reasons for donating: (1) not flattering (2) susceptible to wrinkling (3) couple to whose wedding I wore it is now divorced.
To be turned into rags:
  1. One purple t-shirt, purchased on the street in Manhattan for $5 in the summer of 1997. Long since relegated to the pajama pile, but now holey enough to be turned into a rag.
  2. One grey t-shirt, from OCS (Office of Career Services) at Harvard, acquired for free in September 1998. It has the periodic table information for oxygen, carbon, and whatever "S" stands for on the front spelling out OCS (selenium? sounds familiar from Tom Lehrer's "The Elements"; never mind, it's sulfur), and "Finding your element" on the back. Worn for a year or two as a regular shirt, then relegated to the pajama pile. Currently falling apart.
  3. One Disneyland t-shirt, silk-screened with four images of Mickey Mouse, purchased circa, shoot, I don't know, maybe junior high. When did we last go to Disneyland as a family? I think when I was 13. That would be, um, the summer of 1992. Yeah, that sounds right. I've only worn it for sleeping in for, I don't know, the past seven years or so. Maybe longer. It's finally starting to fall apart. Mickey is as clear as day, but holes are developing on the shoulder seams, as they will tend to after, um, fifteen years.
Decided to keep:
  1. A blouse from the Gap, purchased circa 1998. Worn only a few times. I have no idea why I didn't wear it more. It looks great. Like new! I think I might have thought it was too tight once upon a time, but it really isn't.

And that, my friends, is that. Looking over this list, it is clear that this purge of unsuitable clothing ought to continue.

I have whole drawers of clothing that is probably mostly appropriate to wear while painting a house. Seriously. Nobody needs as many t-shirts as I have. Nobody. It's partly that I still have a lot of shirts from high school and college, when I was a jeans and t-shirt and sneakers kind of gal. (Except in high school I wore some sort of skirt instead of jeans.) I don't really dress that way anymore--even when I wear jeans, which is whenever I'm not at work and it's not Shabbat--I usually wear something a little nicer than an over sized t-shirt. So I have drawers of t-shirts and drawers of "a little nicer than a t-shirt" and drawers of "things only good for exercising" and drawers of "things only good for sleeping in," and I should probably combine some of these categories, or at least have less of some of them. How many "things for sleeping in" does one need? Not as much as I have.

It's not clear why I didn't do this a long time ago. Well, that's not quite true. But, still, now that I've started I should not stop until it's all gone. All the unflattering, tattered or torn, too large or too small, or from high school, clothing should be donated, or, if truly in shreds, turned into rags. Pronto. Or as soon as I get around to it. After I'm done with this, then I can get to all of the paper that I've been traveling with all of these years.


I'm wondering what inspired you to collect for Goodwill now? The only time I really go through and discard is before a move. One mover said people should move every 5 years, mostly so they don't collect so much stuff.
It's good to clear out old clothing, although if ignored it can be a fun museum of discarded style...
My sponsor has me donate all of my clothing that is too big. She says holding on to it is mental baggage, and of course always leaves the possibility that I could sneak up a size and not have to even buy new clothes. I hated getting rid of the big clothes at first, but now it's completely liberating.
That sounds good to me. I'm sure it is liberating. With this recent purge, I've gotten rid of the clothing that is two sizes too big (i.e., comes off with a tug), but not the clothing that is one size too big. Maybe, one day, I will. I think my next step is to get rid of the clothing that fits, but is unfit for wearing. I don't need THAT much clothing for painting houses, given that I'm unlikely to engage in such an activity anytime soon.
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