knitting

a pledge.

This is a very odd time of the year to be making New Years’ Resolutions but something has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. It is time for action.

Here it is: I have a lot of clothing. Over the past couple of years I have become more acutely aware of this fact. While it is bothering me that I have so many items, what is particularly annoying me is my tendency to continue to buy more. I have managed to accumulate a walk-in closet and two dressers full of clothing, accessories and shoes.

To keep myself accountable, I thought I would share with you some of the damage. Here are some of my cardigans, shirts, dresses and jackets:

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Skirts, jeans and kakis:

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Only a few of my many pairs of jeans:

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My excessive collection of scarves fills two bins (which are overflowing):

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My stack of sweaters (mostly handknit so these don’t really count although there are some I have never and will never wear … something I need to tackle in the course of this coming year ahead):

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I think the part of this that is not only the hardest but also the worst is my shoes … my lovely but completely unnecessary collection of shoes (and this is only half):

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As you can see, when I open the closet door, I am greeted with a lot of stuff. I didn’t bother looking at my drawers of t-shirts, bras, underwear and socks. It was just too much!

There is a huge difference between need & want. Somehow, I need to come to terms with the fact that there will always be things to buy but I don’t have to be so influenced by it all. I would love to go and buy a Patagonia Jacket for this year or a very cool Lululemon Scarf but I don’t need these things – and what’s more … I can make the scarf … and if I’m being really honest, I can make a jacket that would serve more purposes than just camping and casual wear (enter Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket).

It’s all fine & well to declare that I am not going to buy any new clothes for the next year, but honestly, within a few weeks I’ll have forgotten all about my new-found attempt to clean out my closet and will buy something that I’ve decided I need. What I really need? I need a plan.

First, I am making a pledge to myself regarding my approach to my growing closet.

For the next 12 months, I pledge:

  • to abstain from purchasing articles of clothing, accessories and shoes,
  • to avoid shopping malls & clothing stores to avoid temptation,
  • to hand make any articles of clothing or accessories that I would like to add to my wardrobe (in exchange for something being donated),
  • to systematically (throughout the year) whittle down my wardrobe to the essentials (i.e.. most worn &/or loved pieces, and classics), and lastly,
  • to journal here about my experience here – both good & bad.

Secondly, I have spent some time thinking about what articles of clothing I would like to have in my wardrobe and work towards ensuring they are there.

  1. T-shirts – I wear these all the time in various colours. I have a number of them but I’m not sure how many I need. I’m thinking about 8-10 would be (2 of which being white) more than adequate.
  2. Jeans – My favourite. Three everyday pairs that fit well, are comfortable and I can wear with a variety of shoes. Two dressy pairs to wear out in the evening. The rest need to go as they only collect dust. I have one pair of ‘dirty’ jeans to muck around in. My maternity jeans I will put away for next time.
  3. Tank tops – Mostly for layering. I’m thinking the same as t-shirts.
  4. LBD – Little Black Dress. I have two. I won’t be buying anymore. I wear dresses quite a bit but that said, I wear my favourites over and over. The others remain unworn. This goes for skirts too. I don’t need anymore as I always go back to my favourites.
  5. Collared shirt – I have a white one that is my good old standby. When it is worn out, I will replace it. The others I never wear and can go.
  6. Slacks – I have a few pairs of these that I wear throughout the winter to go to work-related events and out in the evening. This is more than enough.
  7. Jackets – Due to our weather, I actually do need more than one coat. One for rain, one for dressing up and going out. I have one of each. I also have my snowboarding jacket and a windbreaker. I don’t need any more but I would like a new black jacket like the Minoru Jacket so that will hopefully be added this winter with a fleece lining.
  8. Ballerina Shoes – Black, brown and fancy gold flats. I wear ‘em all … a lot. Three to five pairs is more that adequate. The rest should be donated.
  9. Heels – I have quite a few heels. I actually really do wear them. A lot. I’m going to put them all in the row on the closet floor. Any that are unworn by September 30, 2013, will be donated. I know there are a few that weren’t worn last year … I suspect they will not be worn again this year since I have my favourites.
  10. Walkers – I have my favourites. I’ll do the same with these as with my heels. Those unworn will be donated.
  11. Sweaters – Cardigans specifically. What is worn will stay, what is not will go regardless of whether it is a handknit.
  12. Bras, underwear & socks – When it is worn out, I will replace it if need be. Going forward, I plan to invest in high quality, good fitting and well-made articles that last. Enough said!

Lastly, my goals for this commitment.

  • My clothing will fit comfortably (not overflowing!) into the closet space (all hanging, not piled up) and a few drawers of my dresser.
  • I will learn which articles of clothing are important to me to own and discard the rest.
  • I will again value quality in clothing and shoes rather than quantity.
  • I will look for Canadian-made, handmade or ethical clothing when shopping in the future because I will appreciate the labour to make clothing when it is necessary versus just crafting.

This all seems very lofty to me currently but I hope through a weekly journal post about my experience that I will be able to change my thinking and attitude towards my closet! Wish me luck :)

As a final thought, I want to put it out there that if anyone who would like to join me on this venture, I would love the company! We would all be able to keep each other accountable as there will undoubtedly be some hiccups along the way :) If there is interest, I’ll add a widget in the sidebar with a link to your blog so that we can all keep up with how we’re doing. Just reply at the bottom or send me a quick email.

I’m off to sew on the buttons to my test knit of Woodstove Season .. more on that soon.

9 thoughts on “a pledge.

  1. I love this post. I have gone through a very similar process over the last two seasons and it's been quite successful. I've only bought one pair of shoes this year and no career wear and no jewelry and no makeup/toiletries – all areas of weakness. I haven't bought a sweater in 3 years (although I'm totally volunteering to take handknits off your hands; just PM me) as I told myself that I had a huge enough stash to make my own. You know that I don't blog, but I will support you through your goals. As I prepare to relocate to US and facing a huge amount of change, I will continue to restrict my retail therapy for 2013. You have company. Now if only I can figure out a time to visit Tiny Tuna. :)

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  2. I remember you we're doing the yarn diet – that's awesome you are doing it with clothing now. Relocating to the US is a great inspiration to keep yourself accountable, too. You won't be able to take everything ;) we are in Toronto in July – will you have moved already?

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  3. Fingers crossed, I should be moved already by July. But keep me in the loop. If there is a weekend in there, you never know, I could plan a visit.

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  4. I have the opposite problem, really (not enough clothing, or, not enough of the right kind of clothing anyway) but the sentiment of this still resonates with me. I really am long overdue to go through my wardrobe and actually take inventory and figure out what I have enough of and what I need more of. I know that the main problem is that my wardrobe is functional enough, and of the things I do like there isn't enough variety. I feel like I live in cardigans like a uniform! And always with the same old boring tanks beneath them. I really would like to address this with my sewing machine as opposed to shopping, as I really am starting to hate the latter as time passes. Good luck to you as you move forward with this pledge! I am so impressed with the amount of productivity coming from your corner of the internet, especially considering you've welcomed your little one so recently!

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  5. I hear you – I have lots of what I don't need and not enough of what I do need. I'm starting to hate shopping for clothing more and more as nothing seems to fit properly. At least with a really good pattern and some fabric or yarn, I can make something timeless and wear it and wear it … when I get sick of it, put it aside for a while and make something new. About the productivity (haha by the way), he's so good that with him right next to me, I can do a little here and there and all of a sudden, I've finished something! I just hope this lasts ;)

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  6. They say people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. I am trying to do this, too. I would love a very minimal but well-thought-out wardrobe. I always think of my European friends…they have tiny closets and small wardrobes, but everything is so well edited that they look great despite having a fraction of what I do.

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  7. They say people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. I am trying to do this, too. I would love a very minimal but well-thought-out wardrobe. I always think of my European friends…they have tiny closets and small wardrobes, but everything is so well edited that they look great despite having a fraction of what I do.

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  8. It's funny you mention your European friends – that's precisely where this came from!! They say you only need 10-20 articles of clothing in your closet if they are strategically picked … I'm inclined to agree!!

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