Too Old To Have This Much Crap

Wardrobe discipline. I just read about a woman who has it. It sounded intriguing. What is it?

What it isn’t is displayed in my closet as follows: a couple dozen white or black knit blouses. A colorful collection of tank tops I never wear. Three knit shirts I do wear, over and over again. They are the same style, but each has a slightly different color scheme.

I have a lot of nice slacks that are suitable for working in an office. I don’t work in an office. And many pairs of Spandexed pants. Mostly black.

Lots of bags. I love purses and bags. I only use one or two, though. The rest are stuffed with paper and lined up on a shelf, acting like they’re still for sale.

So I don’t think I have wardrobe discipline. A woman with WD goes clothes shopping with laser-focus. Maybe she needs tops to go with the pants she already owns, or shoes for the winter. She goes to the store, buys those items, and drives home. I start out focused, but then I come home with more white tops. Or black pants. Or pretty bags, suitable for stuffing.

We’re at an age where we’re supposed to be shedding, traveling light and getting rid of stuff. Besides, wouldn’t it be great to have in your closet only those items you really wear? and like? There’s a way to figure this out. You’re supposed to hang everything in your closet backwards. Turn the hangers around, the opposite of how you normally hang them. Then when you put something back, hang it the usual way. At the end of a year, you’ll see what you haven’t worn and can get rid of it.

What a great system. It forces me to wear everything at least once a year.

Here’s another problem: what I can’t see, I forget. For example, I have a lot of costume jewelry. There’s a reason they call it that: I feel like a clown when I wear it. One day I chopped up a lot of wire hangers. Holding a pliers in one hand and a wire-snipper in the other, I made S – shaped hooks and hung all my necklaces in my closet.

Now I can see them, but I still wear just the six in the front row, over and over again.

I was looking around for guidance on how to clean out my closet and kept running across the word “edit.” Like it’s a book and you’re just cutting and pasting little phrases and sentences instead of tons of clothing.

I would use a different word, something more forceful, less delicate. Something in keeping with the massive workload. Vomiting? Time to vomit your closets, ladies!


But if you’re still wondering, here’s a place you can sign up for a monthly reminder of the weeding and pruning you’re supposed to do on a regular basis.

Ha ha! Me neither.

Remember a couple years ago, Mom broke her leg and had to sell her house and move? While helping her pack, I found an entire dresser jammed full of sweaters. We live in southern California. I asked her “What were you thinking?” Mom said, “When my clothing wears out I don’t have the money to buy new.” She grew up in the Great Depression, so it makes sense. Maybe a closetful of crap makes us feel more secure. But I’d rather be like Bill. He only keeps what he loves. Can you imagine?

One of the cool things about getting older is you know what you like. You’ve seen the fads come and go, and you’re not as susceptible to gathering clothing that will hang in your closet for the next twenty years. They say if you live long enough to see a fad come back around, you should pass on it.

How about you? Are you organized? Has anything changed about your closet now that you’re older? Come on, ladies, spill it. Let’s have a laugh. Tell us your closet stories.


  1. Arlee Bird says

    This is not just a problem for the ladies. My wife and have clothes filling 3 closets in our house and I’m talking those big double sliding door closets. Since I am no longer working outside the home in a regular work environment and I don’t go all that many places I tend not to wear that many different items during the week. I’ve gotten rid of some of mine and I’m still trying to work through the process.

    It’s funny–it doesn’t seem like I buy all that many clothes. This is an accumulation over many years and most of the clothes are in decent wearable condition. I’ve been working on downsizing and it’s way more than clothes. I have way too much stuff. Oh, what to get rid of next? I like almost all of what I have.

  2. says

    My closet!One day several years ago I opened the door and realized I hated all my clothes.Why had I bought them? Who had I bought them for?I had two closets full of clothes.Now I have one closet with too many sweaters( it’s cold here).I practice the get rid of it if you haven’t worn it in a year program. I also believe in being Ruthless in going through your closet and never buy anything unless you Love It.Great topic!

  3. says

    Hi Lynne! Thank you so much for pointing your readers to my Style Calendar PDF. I hope you find it helpful, and I’m looking forward to all your feedback! I’m also really happy to discover *your* blog, and I’m totally ecstatic you’re writing about women of the third age– some of my favorite broads. 😉 Excited to read more, and dig into your book!

  4. says

    Boy did this post speak to me!!! My closet goes from stuffed to super stuffed yet I’m still a sucker for a 50% off sale. And, even if I don’t wear something for a couple of seasons, I still think I’ll need it at a later date. But wardrobe discipline is just around the corner…. I can feel it. Thanks for the reminder that less truly can be more!

  5. says

    Good morning, Lynne, and congratulations! You have just received the So Sweet Blogger Award for being so AWESOME! We really do love your blog, and we’ve so appreciated your tweets, retweets, and comments on our blog, as well.

    To claim your award, just lift the badge from our post over on After the Kids Leave (, post it on your blog, and dish it out to some bloggers you think deserve it!

    We hope you’re having a brilliant day, and that we’ll see lots more of each other.

    Karen and Wendy

    • says

      You guys!!! I’m sitting here with a big smile. I am so happy to think you feel this way about AnyShinyThing. I can’t wait to see how the widget looks. Thank you so very much!

  6. says

    I loved this LOL post, Lynne. I have no WD only instead of being filled with designer clothes, my closets are filled with t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatsuits covered with logo from every team I ever coached, played on or cheered for! Worse yet, every time I shop for dress clothes, I come home with another darling sweatsuit!

    • says

      Oh, Pat, you’ve got it bad! How funny! You definitely need an intervention. Your sweatsuits are like scrapbooks or photo albums – “wearabilia”! Thanks – I’ve GOT to steal this aspect of your personality and give it to character in my next story. She’ll be just like you, lovable and can’t be kept down in spite of tough hand dealt!

      • says

        Pat, your post cracked me up! When we were cleaning out before starting our “around the country” lifestyle, I finally cleared out all my “doggy” sweatshirts and t’s – from years of showing dogs. I still miss my ratty old faded sweatshirt from the first national specialty I went to….

  7. says

    Interesting post, Lynne. Having retired last year, I now have a closet full of clothes I do not have the occasion to wear but I have a hard time parting with them. I think I’m more disorganized as I get older. I agree with Laura- I hate the clutter and need to purge my closet of the clothes I do not wear anymore. Bottom line= I am NOT wardrobe disciplined!

  8. says

    I’m ruthless with pruning and editing my wardrobe. I have much fewer pieces now and they’re really good quality and fit well and it helps me breathe to not have so much. Well – before I break my arm patting myself on the back – there is the issue of scarves and shoes. I could get lost in those that fill the spaces in my closet.

  9. says

    Lynne, this one truly resonates. I started working for myself outside of my home more than a decade ago, but did I get rid of all my “professional” clothes? I did not. While I practically live in whatever is comfortable (read: jeans, etc.), I’m still hanging onto my “good suits.” Will I ever wear them again? Probably not. Even if they come back in style, because something is always changed (color, fabric, etc.) — the designers are hell-bent on weeding this packrat tendency out of us, aren’t they?? Still, I am in the process of parceling down — giving to charity and so forth — so that’s a good thing, no?

    • says

      Debbie, isn’t that weird? Our identity must still be wrapped up in those suits, even though we – or at least, I – like to think I’m past it. Wouldn’t lightness be great, though?

  10. heather says

    I know now in my 60s clothing just doesn’t bring me that lift any longer – that feeling that a certain outfit will change my life. It doesn’t — and like Popeye said, “I yam what i yam” — clothing doesn’t really offer up much soul lifting for me at this stage. That said, it is definitely time to lighten up the closet of decades of stuff — and that task comes with some emotional memories — remembering the times i wore a certain linen jacket or black tuxedo pencil skirt and perhaps those days are past. Now that is baggage i should let go ;-).

    • says

      Heather, I went through that period, but then I decided I was going to dress according to my new, post-50 rules: it has to be comfortable, stylish, and something a young woman can’t wear without looking weird. Now I’m excited again; whenenever I see a boutique I try to find classy looking hippie clothes. My new thing! But they still tend to be black or white!!!

  11. says

    Organized? Heck no! But my husband and I do carry a lot less stuff than we used to. Three years ago we decided to lighten our load and try living in different parts of the country. He’s retired and I’m mobile, so why not? We sold our house and our furniture, and “rehomed” a LOT of other stuff. The hardest to let go of? My books. But really, how many will I ever reread? Then we rented a furnished condo on the beach in Wrightsville Beach, NC, for nine months. Then we went to Reno, NV, for 18 months. Rented unfurnished, bought used (mostly) furniture, rehomed most of that when we came back to the Carolina coast last fall. Renting again – I don’t think we’ll ever buy another house, although a condo might be a possibility. But we’ve come to enjoy the freedom of knowing that if we decide to go somewhere else, we can as soon as the lease expires!
    The whole thing has been a great reminder about how few “things” are necessary for a rich life. I had leaned that lesson when our house burned down when I was 19, but had lost some of the lesson over the years.

    I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “Oh, I would love to do what you’re doing, but I can’t because….” and often the “because” is a piece of furniture or a collection of stuff. I have no quarrel with loving things we’ve chosen carefully and cherished, but for my part, I won’t go back to letting “things” dictate my life. Well, other than my laptop, of course! :-)

    Great post, Lynne. (I don’t have the stuffed closet, btw!)

    • says

      Sheila, my husband and I fantasize about living in different rental homes around the country. The thing that stops us is the feeling that our grandkids need us. We’re going to try it anyway, next school year when we’re not babysitting fulltime. Thanks for the reinforcement.

  12. says

    Hi Lynn,
    This is one thing I don’t have a problem with – my closet is bare bones. I’ve been this way for several years now. Compared to most women, I’m pretty sure my closet would look pretty empty. I actually DO need a few things as some of my clothes are looking…well, like rags. lol I’m not one to keep anything that I don’t use…or doesn’t have sentimental value. I could happily help others clean out their closets!!

  13. Roxanne Morrison says

    Whenever I buy something new an item comes out of my closet. This method not only helps with clutter, but also makes me think before I shop. “I really want these new shoes, but which pair has to go?” I keep a donation bag in my closet as a reminder.

  14. says

    Oh Lynne, I love this post. I so do not have wardrobe discipline :)
    I have three types of clothes,
    1) I wear all the time
    2) I wear once in a while
    3) I never wear but refuse to get rid of

    now the good thing about 3 is that the longer I hold onto it, it will come back in style.
    Great Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.