A portrait of the closet as a time capsule

(Yes, I read a bit of Joyce while preparing to study overseas in Dublin, back when I was in college…)

back lit closet
Photo by Darwin Bell

In my closet, hanging ever so neatly, are the following:

  • Clothes in my present size that I wear;
  • Clothes in my present size that I never wear but for some reason still keep;
  • Clothes in the next size smaller;
  • Clothes in the size smaller than that;
  • “Historical” clothing (dresses of my mom’s from the 60’s, Q’s First Communion dress, dirndls from Germany);
  • “Memorabilia” clothing (the fisherman’s sweater I knit at 21 in Ireland, staff uniform sweatshirts from AFRC Chiemsee, some favorite items from college and just-married days).

What is up with that?  Does everyone do it?  What percentage of the clothes in your closet do you actually wear?

  • {Clutter} released: One striped shirt.  It was a busy day and I just grabbed something out of a drawer.  Still, every little bit counts!

7 thoughts on “A portrait of the closet as a time capsule

  1. Historical and memorabilia clothing (and shoes) have been very good to me. If you have the extra space in a closet, why not keep a couple of nice items? I know, I know, it bogs one down. This must be a REALLY tough issue for me. Let me know how you handle these things (and if you decide to get rid of any dirndls 😉 )


    1. See, only you can a) save a pair of shoes from the 7th grade and b) have them actually come back into style and still fit! The stuff I save, if it ever fit me again, would make me look like an extra in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

      I’m gonna keep those dirndls until I fit into them again. THEY will never go out of style. (Or is it tht they will never be in, so they can’t go out? Hmmmm….)


      1. Oh, it so makes me wish I’d kept my mom’s 2 dirndls, but Mona was living in the house at the time, and convinced me I needed to purge anything and everything. And so I did. My dad even asked me once why I got rid of them, and that was the only answer I could give him. One of those dirndl’s was drop-dead gorgeous, black with fuchsia and green trim. (Or is it that it was never drop dead gorgeous, being a dirndl, so it could never become drop dead gorgeous?)


  2. You made me go and look in my closet. I was shocked, SHOCKED. I wear maybe 30% of it. I have suits that i have no use for right now, dresses that made me feel pretty but no longer fit, clothes to paint and garden in (when was the last time you saw me do that?) and out of season clothes that I may not wear this winter. Wow.


    1. I know! That is exactly how I felt.

      Yet every single item in there is like a really skilled commission salesperson: Keep me! No, me! Remember how cute I looked? You can’t get rid of me – I am so useful! Or me – I will go with those brown pants once they fit you again! Look at us over here – we will be perfect if you just take us and get us hemmed!

      I need to fire them all and start over. You and Gina can go buy all my new clothes and we can arrange them in the closet like a photo in Real Simple. Ahhhhh…..


  3. I try to every six months go through my closet and with each article say ask myself “Have I worn this in the past six month?” If I answer “No” I move to the next question. “Have I not worn this because it is seasonal?” If I say “No” Again then I throw it in the donation pile. If I say “Yes” I ask myself “Do you think you will wear it when that season comes around again?” If I say “No” Donation pile. “Yes” I keep it. Even with doing that I only wear about 40% of the clothes in my closet.


    1. Whitney, that is impressive! I should do that. Why do you think we all wear so few of our clothes, even when they fit? Some clothes I wear more because they are comfortable (my most important of all criteria, you know), some because they are good camouflage for whatever body part I am insecure about at the moment. One good reason, one I’d rather get over.


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