Monday, May 03, 2010

Simple Living: Clothing

I read somewhere that the average American female owns something like eighty shirts. Even if half of these shirts are off-season, this stills leaves the hypothetical female in question with enough shirts to go a month without doing laundry.

I probably own this number of tops. My weight fluctuates wildly, which accounts for some of the excess. I live in an area with temperatures over a year ranging more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which adds to my wardrobe needs. However, there is no denying that I simply have too many shirts. I decided to pare back, and here is how I did it:

1. If it's too big, it goes. It's one thing to keep my skinny clothes because I dream of fitting into them. But am I dreaming of gaining a few pounds? Of course not. I have several friends who are a little bustier than me who will happily take the hand-me-downs.

2. If it's not my style, it goes. I get a lot of hand-me-downs--no complaints here. There are items I love, items I pass on to someone else, and items I wish I could wear without feeling like a kid playing dress-up but for some reason can't. I tend to keep the last group anyway. Today I am passing them on.

3. Keep a light at the end of the tunnel. I made a deal with myself that for every five shirts I got rid of, I would buy one I really love from a local thrift store. This helped me make some hard decisions. Children aren't the only ones who respond to bribes, and I have already earned three 'new' tops. This will require a ten dollar expenditure, but ultimately expand my useable wardrobe while also giving me a little more closet space.

Once you have finished with shirts, why not move on to pants, dresses, and pajamas? Make sure you are giving away or donating these garments where possible, and replacing them with used ones. This keeps your fashion carbon-neutral and keeps small children out of third-world sweatshops.