Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stuff Accumulates

While putting away the laundry, I counted Iris' skirts and skorts:
  • 14 in total
  • 3 second hand
  • 1 second hand and refashioned
  • 4 made by me
  • 6 bought new
  • 4 were school uniform skirts that she wears to her new school even though they don't require uniforms
  • skirts range in age from 1-3 years (in her possession, though second-hand ones are older)
Why on earth does she need 14 skirts/skorts? Even though she prefers them to pants and shorts, she doesn't need that many. We do laundry at least once a week.

I looked in my own closet:
  • 55 skirts
  • 5 part of a suit (used for work)
  • 10 second hand
  • 15 made or refashioned by myself
  • 1 gift
  • Did I really buy 24 skirts?
  • I have had them from 1-20 years.
  • Some of the vintage ones are older than that.
  • On average, I probably make or buy 3-4/year and get rid of 1-2.
  • Stuff accumulates.
It is obvious why Iris has so many skirts. It is hereditary. ;-)

In contrast, Gina has 56 items of clothing (+ a few more that she found after the census). Dan Ho has 47 items. There is no reason to buy another skirt until I wear out these 54. However, I can't possibly do so in my lifetime. Though not a heavy consumer, I enjoy the novelty of new things now and then. What to do?

  • These numbers are after Iris and I culled our closets of things that don't fit. We sent those off to new homes and repaired/refashioned a few tired ones that we kept.
  • I read a while ago that the average American woman buys over 40 clothing items per year. Evidently, I am not a heavy consumer by American standards, but I hold on to things longer than most people. I actually like all of my remaining skirts.
  • Time to go through the bookshelves again.


  1. I just started reading your blog, got there for knitting and stayed because of your interesting comments & observations (also empathy re schools and smart kids).

    A great way to deal with un-needed books is to list them at . It is a free booktrading site where you can turn books you don't want into books you do want. And a great book trading community on the forums.

  2. Iris, I think if your closet is a collection of items that you love, then you are fine...provided you have the space for it all. Having the space to give your clothing "breathing room" is vital.

    As for the books, you might be able to sell through

  3. I just updated my wardrobe matrix, and I'm down to 42 pieces of active clothing -- not including workout gear and tees that are workout/weekend stuff. Sheesh! That's a bit sparse.

  4. Anonymous13:22

    Geesh, I am still working on that wardrobe thing, but I don't want to list it. I will when I figure out what I have that I actually wear.

    Buying over 40 new garments a year though? Even though I have been known to shop I don't do that. And I have shoes and clothes that I have pesonally owned for over 20 years.

    Of course when you hang on to things for years the numbers do tend to pile up.

    Keep inspiring me.

  5. Anonymous13:52

    I posted a bunch of books on and sold about half of them. The rest I gave to the Salvation Army.

    And at least you can say that you still fit into clothes from 20 years go. Me, not so much.

  6. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions about selling books. We try to support our local used book store, Dave's Book Shoppe, first. We need to keep him in business.

    But I will definitely try listing the ones he passes over onto one or more of the online sites.

  7. Thaks for the link. I'm totally going to do this over the weekend. I want to declutter!


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