Purging the closet of fancy dresses

When I’d first purged my closet weeks ago, I’d plucked out about a dozen formal dresses and outfits that I’d worn to various fancy events including weddings, holiday parties, baby showers, engagement parties and birthday parties. These dresses were often only worn once because *gasp* it would have been the end of the world to be seen by the same party goers wearing the same outfit twice.

How things have changed.

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Now, I own two fancy dresses. Both black. Both formal. Both fit well. Both comfortable. I wear them any chance I get without any regard for whether fellow party goers have seen me in them. They fit well and I feel good and that’s all that matters.  I love the fit and feel of both of them and so, I should have fancy parties covered for quite a few years moving forward.

With that in mind – I rehomed a few  dresses this week. In some cases, the ladies who picked them up were also offered a matching pair of shoes –if the  shoe fit of course. I figured that since the holidays are approaching and people have fancy places to go, it would be a perfect time to donate these items to women who would actually use  them.

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It’s really quite appalling – the amount of stuff I’ve managed to collect that is. That off-white vintage number belonged to my mother. She gifted it to me when it no longer fit hoping that I’d get around to wearing it. It never fit correctly (I’m bigger on the bottom than the top) so it sat in my closet collecting dust for years. I’m glad that someone will show it the love it deserves by wearing it because it really is quite beautiful.

The question I have though, is, why are people (me included) compelled to keep things? Why on earth would I hold on to this dress knowing that it didn’t fit correctly? Like the 74 items of clothing that I rehomed last week, why would I give those items closet space when they were not even useful or functional items in my life?

I’m getting better at letting go of things but one thing has never changed – my need to understand and analyze my own behavior and relationship with my stuff. When handing over one of the dresses yesterday a woman asked me why on earth I’d be giving it away and my only answer was “I don’t have use for it anymore”.

Technically, I still will eventually, one day in the future be invited somewhere and could  have use for it – I just don’t have the desire to keep/store it anymore because I truly don’t need it both physically and otherwise.

This whole “keeping stuff” idea is hard to really understand. I mean partly, there is sentimental attachment to the object in some shape or form since I can tell you stories about the event I wore each item to. Then again, the memories of these events are eternal while the dresses are not.  That right there is the dilemma.

Do memories, experiences and moments somehow remain more “real” if there is a tangible item/object left in our lives to represent and remind us of it?

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Author: Jenny

I'm Jenny, a 30-something mama to 1 living child and 5 angels. I live in a tiny blue cottage in a small suburb outside a major Canadian city. I live here with my miracle baby Margs, my husband Mer, my pup and my 2 cats. I blog about a bunch of different things including parenting, frugal living and minimalism. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram, twitter or bloglovin.

13 thoughts on “Purging the closet of fancy dresses”

  1. If you are worried about memories… take a photo. I can’t tell you how many items I took a photo of on my minimalism journey of things I didn’t want to keep any longer, didn’t want to clean, organise away, transport to new homes, tidy around or trip over but also didn’t want to forget. Funnily enough I never look at the photos, but they are there if I want to.
    Congratulations on your achievement in getting so many items decluttered. It’s a long journey, but it’s a worthwhile one.
    Jane

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    1. I think I’m questioning the desire to keep things with regards to the memories they hold. It occurred to me recently that I don’t really need an object or item to remind me of a time and place. Although taking a photo sounds appealing I feel like it replaces physical clutter with digital clutter ya know? Not sure it really solves the problem so to speak.

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      1. I love this photo idea- we are getting ready to spend more than a year traveling and digital clutter solves a BIG problem for us. I can take a flash drive or two no problem. Even if I never look at the images. A storage unit full of stuff I never look at is another story entirely- a very expensive one.

        Props to you for the closet purging- its inspiring.

        My biggest thing right now- bins and bins of schoolwork and art that now need to be photographed or scanned. I wish i had digitized that stuff from day 1.

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  2. I agree with the digital clutter conundrum. Hardly anyone prints photos anymore. However, if one could mindfully set up a digital folder system to catalog items, it would certainly help with the physical clutter. Of course, sharing the history of an item online also works for the whole posterity thing.

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    1. Agreed.
      I’ve actually been pretty good about printing photos since Margs was born. My plan moving forward is to make her an album for each year of her life and so I need to print the photos we take on a day to day basis. I prefer to have tangible photos and not digital ones. Not only does it create digital chaos but I’ve owned a number of laptops and lost my photos when the device died.

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  3. Oh hanging onto clothing, why, why? I have asked myself this so many times as I struggle to declutter. For me, part of it was the waste of money it represents. I read somewhere about the fact that you waste the money when you buy the item, not when you get rid of it, so holding onto it isn’t helping you. That really clicked with me and has helped me not to re-clutter. These days I have three dresses I rotate through for work. I know another women who buys five of the same dress at the start of the season and wears them everyday with different accessories. No one notices!

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    1. I love that nobody notices she wears the same dress! Awesome. I love the simplicity of not having to worry about you need to wear. I’ve cut down to the point where I can just pull out a pair of pants, shirts and cardigan in minutes without really having to think about what I’m putting on. Mainstreaming our wardrobes is so liberating isn’t it?

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