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Fall Clothing Evaluation: Let the purge begin!

I have a problem. A clothes problem. I hate ironing, and I don’t like doing laundry. Actually, I don’t mind doing laundry, but I don’t like putting away the clothes afterwards. Generally, I wait until it reaches critical mass before I break down and put my clothes away. That’s okay because I have a system in place that supports this behavior. Generally, I have enough clothes to not have to put away clothes for close to a month if I time it right. Yep, that’s a lot of clothes, and that’s what led to my Spring Fall cleaning this past weekend.

I thought about doing a purge clothing evaluation when I read the Physician on Fire’s post about cleaning out his closet. I knew we hadn’t done a 70 in 7 challenge recently, and it was due. Our version of a 70 in 7 challenge is pretty simple. For 7 days, pick 10 things a day to sell, donate, or trash. It’s an easy way to declutter and get rid of things we’re not using anymore. I was pretty sure I could come up with 70 things just from my closet and hat collection.

Good Old Clothes Mountain - note doorknob for scale

Good Old Clothes Mountain – note doorknob for scale

Ode to Clothes Mountain

Goodbye Clothes Mountain.

I’ll miss seeing your peak, covered in boxers and undershirts.

Dress socks askew on your steep slopes, occasionally avalanching down to rest along your jacket covered valley.

Goodbye Clothes Mountain, you will be missed.*

When I decided to say goodbye to Clothes Mountain and put away my clean clothes (hooray for a separate laundry room with a door!) I realized I had a LOT of dress socks. How many is a lot? Try 64 pairs of dress socks. Yep, 64 pairs… Amazingly, only 3 socks showed up with no matches! I sorted them all out and found out I have 12 pairs of just plain black socks, although some are grey’ish now due to age.

I like patterned socks and have gotten out of wearing plain old droll monochrome socks. I was able to weed out 18 pairs that were worn out, threadbare, or faded with age which means I still have 46 pairs of socks. Since they tend last a lot longer with that kind of rotation, it seems like a frugal sort of move, especially since I get most of them for birthdays and Christmas (exciting I know!).

Then I took a look at my boxers and counted 34 pairs – see, I can go a whole month without doing laundry and putting stuff away. My system works so well! Of these, I was able to find 8 pairs that I could part with. I just got a “yuge” restock for my birthday so over half are practically brand new.

Then I looked at hats, ahhh hats. I like hats. I have 23 hats. I forgot my waxed cotton fishing hat for the picture, if you’re counting, d’oh!! Most of the hats in these pictures are over 10 years old, and looking at them all laid out like that I had fond memories of when I got each hat, different places I’ve worn them too and even just reminders of what was going on in my life when I got them. Good memories. After looking at which ones I wear the most and which ones I don’t, I was able to get rid of 9 hats. I know, that’s not even half, but it’s progress right?

So many memories, so many hats...

So many memories, so many hats…

I had to then turn my attention to t-shirts which is another area where I can get slightly hoarder’ish. Who would want to get rid of my funny t-shirts like my “Dept. of Redundancy Department” shirt, the “Never Forget” dinosaur t-shirt, or one of my fav’s “Similes are like Metaphors”. Hilarious!! However, some of these have also seen their prime and I may have outgrown them like my Chuck Norris shirt “After a hard night of partying, Chuck Norris doesn’t throw up. Chuck throws down!”  Even though I had a big purge when we moved, I still have 44 t-shirts. I was able to get rid of 17 of these, with only 2 needing to be trashed, the rest will be donated, but that’s some progress too.


So hilarious!

So hilarious!

We mustn't forget...

We mustn’t forget…

Subtle genius!!

Subtle genius!!

I'm probably too old for this now...

I’m probably too old to wear this now…

I also looked at my work pants situation (only 12 pairs) and was able to convert 2 of those to cutoffs for yard work. No, these aren’t “nice” dress pants, although that would be hilarious. These are khaki style pants that I can wear to work because as a geologist, ummm, the “nice clothes” bar is pretty low…

I also evaluated my work/dress shirts, currently at 34. I have a few that I’m on the fence about, and even though I just got some new shirts (3 nice shirts for under $20 total at Kohl’s – yeah discounts!) I find it hard to part with dress shirts. However, I do have 6 shirts that could go out to pasture.

The rest of the purge dealt with miscellaneous things not necessarily related to clothes. I’m already at 70 items and have 3 more days before the 70 in 7 Challenge will be complete. Don’t worry, I won’t stop at 70 if I keep finding more things that I don’t use anymore. I feel good about this purge though, even if I still have a lot of clothes and hats remaining.

What do you do to cycle clothes through your closet? Do you also hoard have a similar genius clothes rotation system? What do you find hard about parting with your clothes?


* Probably not missed by Mrs. SSC as she thought it was bordering on ridiculous how high the pile had grown.

44 thoughts on “Fall Clothing Evaluation: Let the purge begin!

  1. The Green Swan

    I’m on need of doing my own purge for sure! It’s been a while and things build up. I don’t know if I could go a whole month without putting away my clothes, but I have plenty of excess and also plenty of other junk around the house that it’s time to donate or trash. Thanks for helping motivate me to get started… Perhaps a project for this weekend!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It was reading PoF’s post that got me motivated, that and when I went to put my clean socks away Irealized there were more than that in the pile… Something had to be done. :)

  2. Physician On FIRE

    128 Socks! Do you have a separate sock closet? Do you let your wife keep some socks in the sock closet, too, or is a sock closet just for your socks?

    Kidding of course, but doesn’t it feel good to have less? It doesn’t feel good to part with things, especially a good Norris shirt, but for me, once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

    Nice job purging and thank you for the link & mention!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Those are just dress socks, I didn’t even account for my regular cotton socks for yardwork/bumming around or running socks… Amazingly, they take up very little space, respectively. :)

      It is nice to have less around the house, even if initially getting to break the emotional attachment is the hard part.

      Thanks for the motivation!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I do still have those shirts floating around, although i kept the first 3, just Chuck got donated out of those pics. I have Statler and Waldorf from the muppets with “Haters gonna hate” and one of my other fav’s a kelly green shirt with the outline of KY on it that says, “Ain’t no lovin’ like KY lovin’ ” and since I’m from KY that was always fun to wear.

      1. Edifi

        Haha, nice. I have a bunch of old shirts from my college bands, MS150 training rides, and college football (free shirts with season tickets)- Figure I can make a quilt out of them, if I ever have kids.

  3. Fervent Finance

    I did a huge clothes purge when I moved out of Manhattan. I probably lost weight from walking the huge bags of clothes to the closest Goodwill. It made moving a lot easier and helped me get rid of things I never wear.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I did the same when we moved from LA, especially with office clothes, because I had way more laid back business casual outfits there and needed to switch to “dressy” business casual. I ahd those outfits, but there was a lot I could purge. T-shirts seem to always need a good purge every few years.

      I looked at them and if I couldn’t remember the last time I wore it, it went in the pile, even if I liked it.

  4. soccerdad08

    You could turn the purge into a “get a prize” for sharing my posts type contest. Wouldn’t that be fun, except don’t include the boxers.:O)

    Great job on your purge. Ours will have to wait a while yet. Wife coaches cross country and I coach soccer so lots of spare time is taken up through February.


    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, good point on the boxers. :)

      Being that busy, I’m sure lots of things get put on the back burner until soccer season is over. I remember that happening during swim season – just not enough time…

  5. Patricia

    Great incentive to be even more choice-ful in my bi-annual clothing purge. I live is a very old house with super small closets, so I’ve taken over a spare bedroom closet and have a spring/summer set of clothes and a fall/winter set of clothes…. which switches in/out the main bedroom closet twice a year. (OK, this is probably a girl thing.) Every switch I try and purge. This has been even more of a focus since I’ve retired…. work clothes just do not really switch to non-work life. I was not a geologist….work clothes were nice pants and jackets and heels, mostly. And no, even though I keep telling myself I’ll wear those jackets and heels with blue jeans, even today I pulled on a lightweight polartec and Keens with the jeans! So big purge this fall!!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Until we move we just have summer clothes and “cooler” weather summer clothes, so not a lot of swapping wardrobes. Although I look at my remaining sweaters and think, someday I’ll wear you again…

      Yeah, all of my work pants now are the nice dressy kind, which unless there are a lot of funerals I won’t have much need for more than a couple of pairs. The same with work shirts, I try to get ones that I could wear casually as well as “nice dressy” shirts, but it’s hard to find that crossover.

      I see myself dressing about like you said, jeans, pullover, random t-shirt underneath and go.

  6. Jacq

    I offered a skirt to a friend just this morning. It’s too long for me & my friend is taller than I am. It was still on the dry cleaner’s hanger from when I had smoke & plaster damage from an apartment fire…in 2013. I told her, I won’t miss it, have it for free if it’s your style. :)
    I need to do a t-shirt & dress shirt purge. I don’t know about the ‘does it bring me joy’ qualifier for deciding on work shirts….I know i should just get rid of the ones where the shoulders are too small and are from before I moved (5 years ago).

    I made a rule all new t-shirts in my life must be soft. I laid all my t-shirts out & had 48 not counting yoga shirts, rounding up close to 60. My office is so cold I don’t wear them daily in the summer. Like your hats, many are sentimental / gifts. I just need to get over that part, and be inspired by the joy of less. :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Getting past the emotional attachment I had to shirts and especially hats was the hardest part. Like my CU hat I got from my brother when I found out I got accepted out there, and that was 1999… But, I rarely wear it and over time it’s shrunk and gotten stained like nobody’s business.

      The same with some shirts I had, the emotional ties were the ahrdest to break even though I may not have worn it in a year. Like you, one of my other qulaifiers was “Is this shirt a thick rough cotton? Then it’s gone!” Comfort definitely played a key factor in purging as well.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, yeah Mrs. SSC was literally, “Um, yeah you’re almost 40, no more Chuck Norris shirts…”

      I was so bummed about the shoe too. It just exploded walking up the stairs. I had just had a conversation about replacing them a few weeks ago and settled on, no they’re fine, they just need some polish and new insoles. My spidey sense must have picked up their impending doom…

  7. Mr. PIE

    What is it about this time of year when purging and decluttering rears it’s ugly head? I mean handsome head…..

    I was admiring my closet recently with Mrs. PIE and she was complaining I have too many dress shirts. My area of gluttony (not shirt size) like your socks.

    What I want to see is how much those sock purchases would have allowed you to sock away ( tee hee!) in a nice low expense index fund over the last 8 years. Think of all the fine hats you could buy with the proceeds…..

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Can you ever have too many dress shirts or socks? Think of the extended life they have by being worn so much less. :)

      Actually, I’ve only bought 6 pairs of socks in the last 3 years, literally the rest are Christmas or birthday presents because I’ll say, “I could use some brown socks” or “I could use some “black” socks” and voila, I now have a bajillion pairs! :)

      Even this past year, I’ve heard from Mrs. SSC at least 3 times, “No more hats, a hat comes in, a hat must go out!” That’s harder to do when you get hats for donating to causees like Trout Unlimited – they give away some cool hats! Hahahaha

  8. TJ

    I have similar laundry habits! I have a socks/underwear hamper, a drycleaning hamper and an everything else hamper. The socks and underwear gets done when I am down to the last sock or underwear. (I easily have at least 20 of both). I do the everything else hamper more often since I’ve started working out (I like to wear the polyester shirts rather than cotton)

    I almost never wear dress socks, so infrequently that they are in a drawer that isn’t even a clothes drawer. When opening siad drawer and noticed I still have three pairs of dress socks still in the packaging and probably another 7 pairs that have been worn..over a year ago. 😀

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I know it’s bad when Mrs. SSC catches me pilfering boxers or undershirts from Clothes Mountain because my supplies in my closet are depleted, lol. Then I’m like, “Fine, I’ll put away my clothes…”

      In general, I do laundry along the same time table – as needed. That has to be nice to not have to wear dress socks. I remember when I just needed them for weddings and funerals. :)

  9. ChooseBetterLife

    Every season I turn all my hangers around. When I wear an item, I replace it with the hanger in the proper direction. Then, at the end of the season, I can see what I didn’t wear and decide whether to trash/donate/keep it.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s a good system! I have a system where I put the last shirt I wore on the far right of my shirt area in the closet. Then I can see how long it’s been since I wore a favorite shirt so I’m not wearing the same shirt all the time, which i am guilty of.

      Similar to your system, anything outside of that little area is something that hasn’t been worn in a while, so it gets noticed and mentally tagged for donate the next go around. Surprisingly, I stay on top of those types of clothes way better than socks and boxers.

    1. TheMoneyMine

      I agree! 😀 I have one of these t-shirts, it’s a John Deer-like shirt except it says John Beer. Always a success at bbq and makes me feel 10 years younger ha!
      Otherwise, since I do hate ironing, I send my shirts to the cleaners. And because I hate laundry and folding, our cleaning lady helps us with it.
      I know, not very frugal, but oh so helpful. One of my luxuries!

      1. Mr SSC Post author

        Those types of shirts are hilarious and more times than not someone will compliment it, even if I’m out just grocery shopping or doing random chores.

        My ironing builds to a point that it takes about 2 hrs to get it all done. However, this is generally only every other month or so since I let it get to critical mass to make it worth getting everything out. Plus, I upgraded our iron to a really nice one a year ago and my laundry time got cut in half. Yep, it was close to 4 hrs to get caught up using a regular $20 iron. It’s amazing how a better tool makes the job so much easier and faster.

    2. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha! I kept the other 3 and still have my “Support our Troops” shirt with a stormtroopers mask on it, and “That’s no moon!” shirt with the stormtrooper looking out the window to the Death Star like the Goodnight Moon cover. :)

      Those get worn a lot and I think it ahd been over 6 months since I tried to wear my Chuck Norris shirt when Mrs. SSC said, “Aren’t you a bit too old to wear that shirt?” Ah, peer pressure…

  10. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Wow that’s a lot of clothes. I hate to part with Chuck too, but I think its time to go. I typically try and purge at least twice a year, but overall I keep a smaller amounts of clothes, 7 pair of dress socks, 4 pair of dress pants, and 7 dress shirts, for work. We do laundry weekly so it help organizing and getting dressed that much easier.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I used to have smaller amounts of clothes, but again with ironing and putting clothes away, my system evolved with my laziness towards those chores and subsequently, my clothes pile grew. :)

      Mrs. SSC does laundry weekly but I just do mine separately, as needed. Although as needed is way different in my case, lol.

  11. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Your sock and boxer numbers cracked me right up! Seriously, 64 pairs of dress socks? But good for you for starting the purge. :-) I was just thinking today that I have GOT to get things organized around here. We don’t have much to purge, but I’ve got several drawers and cupboards that need some serious organizing. Time to hire the kids. :-)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, that is a LOT of socks, but it works well for my “lazy” system. :) I was thinking I needed to focus on my office now and start purging there too. It’s not nearly as bad, as it usually gets the brunt of my 70-7 challenges, but it could stand to be organized, which will lead to finding things that need to be purged.

      Good luck with your organization!

  12. Finance Solver

    Hahaha “similes are like metaphors,” that one has to be one of the greatest shirts I’ve ever heard of!

    I have a clothes problem as well.. When I moved from Texas to Alabama, I got rid of a lot of clothes and even then I still own clothes that I haven’t worn in over a long time. I have no idea what to do with them, I think I’ll just keep it but I know that’s not the best thing to do!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yeah I love that shirt, so subtle. :)

      I did a big t-shirt purge when we moved 3 years ago, but it’s amazing how they just keep growing and I keep getting more and more clothes. I should start a 1 in 1 out type system. :)

  13. Mrs Groovy

    Clothes Mountain. That’s too funny. I like your hat collection. Will you wear the 14 remaining ones? Or do you need a breather before another round of purging? I can’t get Mr Groovy to change hats often because he says they’re a pain in the neck to break in.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I go through cycles with the hats. The Dr Pepper hat and the Trout Unlimited hats get worn the most consistently. The others are when I’m like, “Oh, I haven’t worn that in a while” and get some of those. I realized this apst year that my visor days are all but over.

      The hair on top is too thin and I was getting burned wearing just a visor – ugh, genetics…

      While I agree some hats can be a pain to break in, the combined ages of all my hats is over 200 years, lol with most being at least 5 years old, if not 10+. Even broken in, if they don’t get worn, then they need to go. Ill probably re-evaluate them next summer and ditch any outliers that aren’t getting worn.

  14. Our Next Life

    You have this all wrong — your problem wasn’t too many clothes, it was too small of a hamper! Hahahaha. We definitely fall into this trap, too — we hate doing and folding laundry, and for years we actually paid for fluff-and-fold (man, I miss that! Those neatly folded little bundles were the best). And as much as we’ve tried in recent years to limit the stuff coming into the house, I DEFINITELY left FinCon with SEVERAL new shirts. D’oh! (Brace yourself for next year, buddy. The t-shirt onslaught is for real.)

    I recently did a big clothing purge, and it does feel great to know that everything left is actually stuff I wear. And I’m pretending to be getting ready to fix the socks with holes — but so far that is just a pile by my sewing machine. :-)

    1. Mr. SSC

      You’re right, I just need a bigger hamper! I don’t mind the doing, but the folding and putting away – ugh….

      Not taking things to the dry cleaners, then I’m ultimately left to iron everything at some point. :) I’m fine with free t-shirts as long as they are A) soft, and B) have a purpose or get worn. Even if it’s just “new shirts to mow the yard in” type of purpose. Those get the permafunk to them fairly quickly around here.

      I have a pair of pants that had a button break about 4 months ago, and they ahve been sitting on a shelf to get a new button sewn on since then… I feel you about “pretending” to fix things.. :) When my socks get holes, they’re gone, otherwise, I’d be at 90 pairs of socks with 30 waiting to get mended. hahahaha

  15. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    That’s awesome progress. We’ve pared down to a pretty small set of clothes – it was definitely a snowball effect though – the first few were tough to part with but after that everything got a lot easier!

  16. MrSLM

    That is an astonishing amount of clothing! I only have 2 pairs of dress socks, and 1 of the pair isn’t mine 😛

    I seem to do a purge every time we move cities, which has worked out in the past (moved 4 times in 5 years) but might not a great solution going forward.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yes it is quite astonishing. Having that many clothes definitely reduces the wear on my dress clothes and even the socks since they get worn so little. I cycle out my dress clothes as often as needed and was reminded a week ago after ironing everything that I’d lost 2 dress shirts to stains recently.

      So sad… I’m way more quick to get rid of socks that are worn, and if/when they get a hole – boom, gone. I also do purges when we move, but lately that has only been every 5 years or so. Even with mini purges in between it still adds up.

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