Out of the Closet

This is probably the lamest reason ever to get excited about something, but I just dropped off a shit-ton of clothes and some random housewares at a local Youth and Family Services office.  Aside from doing something good for a local organization, we get a fat tax write-off.  But that’s not even the biggest reason I am so giddy.

I love cleaning out stuff and getting rid of clutter and seeing clean, organzied closets.  Hi, I am the most fascinating person ever.

And yet?  I am a pretty sentimental person.  I have hung on to quite a few things that I no longer wear and have no intention of wearing again.  I had heard somewhere that if you are having a hard time parting with something based soley on memories, you should take pictures and then LET GO.  So guess what I did?  (I’m sure it wasn’t creepy at all for Ed to find me taking pictures of stuff hung up in the closet.  Nope, not weird in the slightest!)

My mom bought me this dress at the end of my freshman year of college. It's from Laura Ashley and, as you can see, quite...floral. I liked it but really had little occasion for it. I think I wore it once to a friend's wedding and it sat mostly unused for the last 13 years. It was always a bit too sweet for me, but I loved that my mom was so excited about this pretty dress she found for me to wear. Ah, moms.


Ah yes: my custom-made bridesmaid dress from Dad and Judy's wedding. Judy sent me the material with a pattern for a dress exactly like this, but tea-length. I decided that I was 19! No one was going to tell me how long my dress had to be! I have great legs! And so I had the dress made shorter and Judy never batted an eye. God, I was such an asshole then. Anyway, it wasn't cheap to have the dress made, simple as it was; my mom enlisted the help of a great seamstress, but she charged quite a bit, which did not please my father or my new stepmother. Sorry, guys. I always had big plans to wear this again for...dinners out? Or something? But I never did. And so away it goes!


Oh, Baby's First LBD...I thought I was such hot stuff in this. Anyway, I bought it at a thrift store for, like, $5 when I was 17 or so and my mom took me to get it fixed up. It needed to be shortened and the back needed some sort of closure. My mom came up with the brilliant idea to use clip-on bow ties like guys wear. It worked great. I had planned to wear this to my junior prom, but my date was grounded the week of the dance and so I spent my prom night babysitting. Seriously, my life was a John Hughes movie. Anyway, I got quite a bit of use from this but have graduated on to different pieces. So we say goodbye.


Back view of one of the bow-ties.


My first forray into Clasy Grown-up Clothes: Baby's First Ann Taylor Purchase. I bought this for myself when I was in high school and wore it to my 18th birthday dinner with my family. I busted it out periodically with black pants or a black skirt (I know, what a risk-taker), despite the fact that it was always a bit big and the color wasn't the most flattering, but it was so nice! And pretty! I felt like a Pretty Lady and it was one of the few things I could wear that didn't elicit sighs or a fight from my mom. Twas a sartorial miracle!


Oh man. This? Is one of my favorite things ever. My senior prom dress, courtesy of my high school's theater department. I saw it on a rack of costumes to be discarded and quickly absconded with it. You can't see it, but it comes with a cute capelet-type thing that has sort of discolored over the years. I was so happy to wear this dress at my prom, mostly because I was happy simply to BE at the prom. I had my hair styled in sort of a Jackie O.-ish flip (my obsession with her goes waaaayyyy back) and loved my retro look. This number has been trotted out several times over the years as part of my go-to easy costume of Prom Queen. Throw on a tiara, lots of makeup and BOOM! Instant costume. I wore it as recently as last Fall to a formal dinner and got a ton of compliments on it. And a lot of jealous looks when I mentioned it was my prom dress. Yeah, that's right: I can still rock it!

So, there you have it: a few key pieces from CKD, the High School and College Years.  As much as I try not to be a hoarder (and encourage Ed to purge, too) sometimes it’s hard to part with things.  The irony is that now that I have, they have a chance of being worn and enjoyed, instead of sitting in my closet.  I thought it would be hard to let go of these things, but it feels great to let go and make room in our home for both of our belongings.  We still have some areas to tackle, but we made great progress this weekend and I’m inspired to continue passing things on to people who have use for them.


9 thoughts on “Out of the Closet

  1. I think I remember that first dress…

    Seriously loved this post! I have to introduce you to New Dress a Day (blog). This chick repurposes $1 thrift store/garage sale finds and all I could think while reading your post was WWMD? What Would Marissa Do? Oh the fun that could be had making ‘old’ things new again!

    But my main reason for responding was because I’m really curious about the pink & green number peeking out of the closet on the bottom righthand side of the pix. I must know it’s story… *kisses*

    • @CeCe: I love the one dress a day girl too! Way inspirational! I think the pink and green number is a shift dress from the 60’s that she used with her white gogo boots for an easy costume. Am I right, Christen?

    • Oh, the pink and green number…my biggest regret is that it ended up in the giveaway pile, and yet it was not photographed! Quelle dumbass mistake!

      The story: another thrift store find, I thought it was super groovy and fun and I was in a MAJOR retro phase in high school and figured it would make a great costume/fun dress to wear for appropriate occasions. I wore the hell out of it over the years, usually with a blonde wig and white go-go boots (which I will never get rid of because HELLO they are Charles David and FABULOUS). It’s my go-go dancer outfit and a big hit. But I decided to let go of it…luckily I have photos of me wearing it, but I miss it in a weird way.

  2. Love it! Misty has been trying to get me to take photos of items I don’t use (or even like for that matter) but hold memories. I love how you have written a little description, too. I remmeber SO many of those itmes! I’m very surprised that you still have them. Well, I guess I still have my prom dresses, too. Even the one I didn’t wear to Junior Prom. I however worked prom nite while you babysat. I still remmeber that night very clearly. I have a lot of things I held back from my parent’s house that I coudl not get rid of at the time because they held too many memories. Now that a year has passed, I am a little less nostalgic but still feel guilty (I know…I have no idea why I feel guilt) to throw some of the stuff out. LIke the ashtray that sat on the side table in the living room. It’s ugly, and I don’t ahve a use for it, but it was there for, like my entire 32 years of life so I CANT get rid of it, right?
    Now I look at all the boxes of crap from the house literally surrounding me right now, and I don’t even know what is in them…maybe I’ll start purging and photoing too!

    • I thought of you quite a bit during this process since you were there for many of the events! It is weirdly emotional to get rid of things like THIS. I mean, an old GAP blouse? Whatever. But prom dresses and the like hold more meaning. Even prom dresses that weren’t worn AT the prom but you still remember that night…

      I get it about the guilt surrounding getting rid of things. I do. And I get the attachment to random items. Guess who cried like a big dumb baby when her parents got rid of this one saucepan because Grandma used to make her Cream of Wheat in it? Yeah. Irrational, but it was saying goodbye to a piece of my childhood. However, my parents assure me that the big yellow bowl and ladle with the blue handle will always remain in our kitchen.

      Start by at least going through the things that have either no emotional tie/purpose and see if it’s easier to part with them. You can even photograph them and see if that helps the process. And take your time. It might feel weird, but it shouldn’t be totally stress-inducing and painful, you know?

      If you get rid of Job’s dresses or prom dresses, please promise me you’ll take photos? Such fun memories!

      • I got rid of A LOT of my formal dresses at the estate sale last summer. I did not take photos, but since they were formals, I have plenty of photos of me wearing them. If I had it to do over again, I totally would. I held on to the ones I wore most or for the most important events. When I found my silver beaded number with the chiffon skirt, I noticed a coffee stain on the front of the skirt. I took it to the cleaners and the made it even worse. Apparently that fabric was not to be wet or laundered in a ny way. So after a few arguments with the shop owner and some tears in the privacy of my car, they had the tailor cut that part out and reattach the skirt. I have a “new” dress now and it looks as good as the day I got it. Now if I can only loose the 4 or so dress sizes to fit in it maybe it can get some use.

        I did take photos of the house all cleaned up for one last time. The night before the memorial, when everything was cleaner and shinier than it had been in years, but every knick nack and piece of furniture was in it’s rightful place. Those are nice to look back on.

  3. Ah, the silver formal – cannot get rid of that one ever! Glad it was salvaged because that would suck if it were ruined. I’m glad you hung on to photos, too.

    And before anyone starts congratulating me too much on my purging efforts, I have to admit I still have my 8th grade graduation dress. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of that one yet. What is my deal?

    • LOL, I think I got rid of ym 8th grade grad dress…Maybe not, I’ll have to check. I kept the things that didn’t sell. Now you got me thinking what I still hve and not. They are the few things sill in the house. Next time I go over there, I’ll have to check. I have my HS grad dress, and shoes, and the baccelaurate dress. But I can’t even remember what I wore to my college grad. Some, LBD.

      • I think I got rid of my HS grad dress (just some plain white shift from The Limited or something) but definitely still have the fab go-go boots I wore! Those are fantastic.

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