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Jan 13, 2016

Decluttering 2016 -- Keep or Toss?



Readers, as you know, the ongoing challenge of preventing my stuff from overwhelming my apartment and its inhabitants has been a theme here at MPB since the beginning.

One my goals this week has been to start paring down once again.  Like many people who sew with (occasionally) more enthusiasm than perspective, I find myself with way more clothing than I need.  It can be difficult for me to part with things I've sewn myself unless they're totally worn out, so it's easier for me to tackle the clothes I haven't sewn.

While the vast majority of my wardrobe is me-made, there are still a few items left over from my pre-sewing days, or stuff I've picked up at thrift stores along the way (or received as gifts).  Alas, there are also a few me-mades that just don't get enough wear to warrant keeping. 

I thought it might be fun to get your input too.  If you have a strong opinion about one of the following items currently in my Discard pile, feel free to express yourself. 

Item 1

Starting with the hardest-to-part-with garments first, consider this vintage Norwegian ski sweater I've owned for more than a decade.  I don't think I've worn it five times.  The cut -- a narrow rectangle with two straight sleeves -- feels weird to me.  The neckline doesn't flatter.  It's also too warm for the milder winters we've been having.  I hate to toss it but it just takes up space.  In fact, the photo up top was taken six -- six -- years ago when I was going through my first public wardrobe culling.  I couldn't let it go at that time but nothing has changed about it since then.



Item 2

Next we have a very cute vintage 70's gray leather jacket, made in Korea.  I bought it roughly ten years ago at a flea market and have gotten more than my money's worth out of it.  The leather has stiffened a lot but it's wearable.  However, I now wear only outerwear I've made myself -- it's a point of pride with me.  I'm pretty sure this one should go.  Let someone else enjoy it, right?



Item 3

This American Apparel tee shirt, which I'm pretty sure is from the Salvation Army, is a cute color, but the message isn't me: I don't drink martinis and I don't watch The Cooking Channel.  In fact, I don't even own a TV.





Item 4

I hope you're not disappointed with this one.  I had fun making these Thai fisherman pants (or a close facsimile thereof) and I do live on an island, but it's the wrong island for these pants.  The one time I wore them on vacation, I cringed when I saw a photo of myself in them.  That's enough for me.  My facial expression says it all.



Item 5

I don't normally pose shirtless in Levi's but I had to show you what a pair of 501's looks like on me.  The rise is way too high and the back waistband reaches halfway up my back.  I'm exaggerating of course, but this pair of pants, inherited from my older brother, just hangs in my closet.  Sometimes I wear it when I'm doing laundry but only sometimes.  Thankfully, I make my own jeans now.





Item 6

Stripping down further, for some reason I thought it might be fun to wear a vintage swimsuit, or copy it and stitch up my own.  This Jantzen suit from the 1950s, purchased on eBay a few years ago, is cute, but I feel like an extra in an Esther Williams movie wearing it.  A very old extra.  Just...no.



Item 7

Finally, another experiment that yielded blog content and not much else.  The less said about this peek-a-boo black lace atrocity the better.



Friends, I hope this post inspires you not only to pare down your ever-expanding wardrobes, but also to consider that your trash may be someone else's treasure.

It's a brand new year: dig it out, bag it up, and spread the wealth.

Are you with me?

71 comments:

  1. Oh good lord, pitch 'em all. Send the swim trunks to Lizzie at blog The Vintage Traveler, because she collects vintage swimwear. Hand off the sweater to a groovy FIT student. As for the 501s, they're great jeans, but they're too big on you. Back in the day, we wore them skin tight and broke them in with care. Even the girls' version had metal buttons in the fly. Hm...drop them off at the Museum at FIT, they're classics!

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  2. I have to say I'm so used to how good you look in all your you-made clothes it's hard to imagine how bad some of these look! A lesson to us all on the value of high quality well-tailored apparel. the only question is the black and gingham lace. No question you can't really wear it as is-but how does it look over a black tshirt or something? If it looks better over something else maybe you could line it?

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  3. save the lace thing and dress up as mac jacobs for the next costume party. Back of those jeans is weirdly high, but I actually like them :-D

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  4. send that pink t-shirt to meeeeeeee! i beg of you : )

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  5. Seems to me you could make some kind of interesting vest out of that sweater. And as a bonus, matching dog sweaters out of the sleeves. :-)

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  6. In all honesty, I like the sweater and swim trunks -- not only as garments, but on you. Ditch the rest. (Not literally of course, as they all fit someone.)

    Re. the lace atrocity, find out where Marc Jacobs lives then strategically place it in his dumpster, looking casually tossed but obvious. (Make sure it has your label in it.) It'll be in his next Winter collection.

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  7. I'm in Katie's camp.... repurpose the sweater. Body parts to dog coats. The grey leather, perhaps a leather dog jacket too. Swim trunks... so cool in the vintage vibe therefore, gind an appreciative donee... The rest to the local thrift. Maybe the martini T cut into a gals tank top and gift it to someone. Good luck with your purge!

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  8. At first I thought you shaved. Phew!

    Your chest hair is in the "male bandeau" pattern; enough to sport in a half-buttoned shirt on the dance floor, but not enough to clog the drain every fortnight.

    As for your closet, you have too much talented to scrunch your creations with cast-offs and garments past their expiration date.

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  9. They all can go. You're not feeling it, so move on.

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  10. You are questioning these items -- so they obviously do not spark joy and you should set them free so they can be enjoyed by someone else. That is the message in Marie Kondo's book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" which has changed my mindset about decluttering. I no longer feel so bad about moving things out and my life is more serene without an excess of items that really don't make me truly happy.

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  11. YAasssssss, open the door for some new Peter fashions and send them on to others who will love them too. Those gams, Ester would be jealous : )

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  12. Thanks for the moment. You are verging on a Ryan Gosling, I know where you are coming from, babe moment.

    Those jeans do nothing for you.the swim suit though. That's practically hip.

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  13. That vintage Norwegian ski sweater is fantastic. If you're not comfortable wearing it, would you consider turning it into a throw-pillow cover or something? Or something from this: http://www.amazon.com/Sweater-Surgery-Things-Sweaters-Domestic/dp/1592536255

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  14. It's easy - they should all go (for one reason or another). Don't be sentimental. You will feel so free when they're gone.

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  15. I, of course, think the Levi's and the trunks look sharp. That being said, I am at the point where I want to get rid of EVERYTHING! If you don't feel comfortable in these things, the only option is to pass them along.

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    Replies
    1. Okay, Mr Tiny, those are DAD JEANS. My spouse, Mr. Dad, won't wear them except on camping trips.
      Pitch the lot. Be free.

      Delete
  16. I think cutting up that sweater and making a throw pillow, vest, dog sweater, tote bag are all good ideas. It really is a nice pattern.
    The swim trunks look pretty good on you as well, but you have to feel it.
    Everything else , wellll, not so much. The jeans look like they have a lot more wear in them and could be somebody else's go to jeans...share.

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  17. I agree with ditching all of the above. But I like the photos with the Levis. Something nostalgic in seeing a good looking man in geeky, ill fitting jeans...

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  18. The jeans and jacket are wearable but nothing special. The swim trunks look..... Uncomfortable to say the least. The sweater though is lovely! Of course I would wear it with black cat eyes glasses, winged eyeliner and red lipstick. Not sure if that look would translate for you though. If you want it to have a good home and be loved I'll mail you a box with a shipping address on it!

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  19. They all need to go NOW! Don't ruin the sweater by "re-fashioning". It's a classic that someone else will love.

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  20. They probably all need to get as far away from you as possible except the jeans. The jeans look kind of sexy believe it or not.

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  21. When in doubt throw it out. Let 'em all go.

    Spud.

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  22. I don't disagree with any of your choices.

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  23. I'm going to be brave here and say ditch the lot. Brave because I'm going to have to deal with the same, very soon and I've been slowly plucking up courage to do so for over a year. Apart from the fisherman's pants. Don't ditch the fisherman's pants! I love them on you! They need to be worn with conviction that's all. Especially and definitely if it's the 'wrong kind of island'! x

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    Replies
    1. Japanese fisherman's pants pattern from Folkwear have been around for about 40 years now. I lengthen the legs, sew up the sides and do an elastic waistband. Have made them in all sorts of fabrics ... the only real thing wrong with Peter's version is that they are a weird length for a grown man to wear in the place and time in which Peter lives. We used that pattern in the short length to make quick Elizabethan men's pants for a Shakespeare festival in January 1980 in Laurinburg, NC. (There were islands in the swamp that was donated and drained to build a college on, in the 1960s. We affectionately called our school "Swamp Andy.")

      Delete
  24. I kind of love the jumper on you in the first picture but not the second!, loose the swimwear. Donate the jeans to s shelter, Levi's are awesome for keeping the wind out, bin the pink tshirt and never speak of it again! As for the lace shirt , I LOVE IT! I can imagine this with a black bra underneath tucked into a pencil skirt with big black boots!
    Frankie
    Www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.com

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  25. Well, as the OP said, the sweater would make handsome dog coats. Or what about a pair of yummy warm handwarmers? Check out 'The Woolly Pedlar' . The lace shirt? COuld be toned down by lining the body lace sections with black fabric. But I wouldn't have thought with your new shirt making skills it's worth the effort. Why not just make a new shirt?

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  26. I love the swim shorts! Of course if you don't feel comfortable they won't get worn -but it's a good look for the beach :)

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  27. Oh, I think keep the shorts. They are cute. I wish I could get my husband to wear shorts like that. Rawrrr.

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  28. well.. your discard pile has gotta go. I couldn't agree more with all your choices, but especially that peek-a-boo lace! Thanks for sharing.. you are correct your downsizing, culling is inspiring. Thank you Peter for sharing and making me laugh. Have a super duper day.

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  29. Say bye, bye and don't look back. Someone else will benefit from your generosity.

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  30. Your right on the nose with your choices! I gotta be honest with you......the lace shirt and fisherman pants are two of my least favorite projects!

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    Replies
    1. Why, hello again, (pauses, as he does) dear.

      The lace shirt and fisherman pants could be combined and might be suitable at Mardi Gras. Then again, they may have laws on the books, and I just don't see our Peter thriving in a holding tank.

      How is that hoodie project coming along? It's mid-January, and my first prod of the year, but it's all for the greater good of your blog and wardrobe. There's my selfless side, shining through - again!

      Hope 2016 is a great one for you, scorpioninblue!

      Your rather testy fan

      Delete
    2. Check it out on Instagram! Haven't gotten around to a blog update yet.

      Delete
  31. Yes..you don't love them...so dump them. The fisherman pants are atrocious and the lace shirt/vest whatever it is is just a big "what not to wear."

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  32. Your face during the photos speaks volumes. I'm come from purging stock and my gut response says: if you have to question it; time to let it go.

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  33. If the sweater is pure wool, felt it and repurpose the fabric. Could even be a hat with a soft fleece headband liner inside - or a purse/tote/dog coats/dog bed cover or carry liner, or even a book or small storage box cover.

    I think wearing clothes that make you feel uncomfortable, self conscious, like you're pretending to be someone else you don't want to be should go. And someone out there could use a pair of hardly worn jeans.

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  34. I say toss everything except the grey leather jacket. The leather jacket still looks great on you and it's a neutral color which will go with many items in your wardrobe. On the other hand, it seems like you are tired of it so if it no longer makes you happy, toss it as well.

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  35. One of the mistakes I've made when attempting to purge myself of unused possessions
    is the rationalization that I can repurpose the item. Such thinking has lead me to hold on to items that should have been discarded or donated to thrift sooner than later Recycling makes sense when it is put into practice and the end result is productive and beneficial. The Norwegian sweater is nice, but it doesn't suit the wearer. Let it go and let someone else have a chance to use it. Dog sweaters ? Hand warmers ? I'm amazed that Peter has the time to produce all the great things he does. Great idea for some obsessive craft project. We are not living with war time rationing when every scrap of fabric was precious. Peter should spend time sewing things he wants and will enjoy--as well as giving his readers vicarious pleasure. Encouraging a hoarder, has a name: enabling. Out with old and sew something new. That lace and gingham shirt has some FIT students name on it. Let them have the thrill of finding it at thrift.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree with you. The "I can make something with that!" gene is strong in my own family. I am tossing out/donating stuff that I've hoarded for a decade, to save my only child the ordeal of doing that after I am dead ... which is ten years closer than it was a decade ago.

      Delete
  36. Except for the sweater, toss the rest. I think there's something off about the dropped shoulders & the neckline on you, but I like the knit fabric. What about re-making into a jacket with sweater body and leather sleeves? Or send the sweater to me! Just kidding (I think), I have a huge backlog as it is.

    JustGail (who once again is having google login issues)

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  37. I hate to see you cut up the sweater. Give it to someone else who will wear it.

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    Replies
    1. I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU...... now if only you could find someone to volunteer to wear that sweater. Like an ultrasound student who is about out of student loans and can't go shopping and would look sooooo good and toasty warm in it! Just saying, you can't blame a girl for trying!

      Delete
  38. Keep the sweater, and possibly cut it up to incorporate into something else. It would make really pretty accents, or a nice lining. Toss the rest, but make sure the leather jacket goes to someone who will appreciate it.

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  39. Release it all! Except really you look hot as in those 501s. A tight white t-shirt tucked in to finish the look. ;-)

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if your brother is seven feet tall.

      Delete
  40. In the words of Elsa from Frozen... "Let it Go!"

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  41. I think they all need to go. By "toss" I trust you mean "donate to a charity shop"!

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  42. "another experiment that yielded blog content and not much else"

    Love it!

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  43. I took a Kondo approach to my closet in late December, and it worked really well for me, so I'm totally with you on paring down for the new year. Plus it created room for new stuff to be sewn! :)

    I have to say, though, I love that sweater. I can see why you couldn't toss it before, but if you want to give it a loving home you can always send it to me ;)

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  44. Make the Norwegian sweater into a cardigan for your mom with a zipper up the front. They are in now, and we women always need something to wear when we're in the theater or somewhere chilly. The rest can go!

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  45. You've made your choices and I agree though Marilyn's comment about a zippered jacket for your Mum sounds good.

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  46. Ah, decluttering season. You've made some wise choices. The jacket does look great on you, though. Normally I'd recommend keeping it, but if you have plenty of outerwear you've made that would fill that niche in your closet, then pass it on!

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  47. Pitch it all except the sweater. Make that into a vest, or a pillow cover. It's too beautiful to lose.

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  48. I agree with all of your choices. I like the fisherman pants, but I don't know where they could be worn unless they were worn around the house.

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  49. Yep! Trash the everything shown here!!

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  50. Get rid of it all and move on. I don't agree that you should refashion the jumper, that's just finding a reason to hang on to it, and clutter up your living space.

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  51. LOVE 1 & 2! The rest can hit the road!

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  52. I would keep the bathing trunks and toss the rest!

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  53. I think it's the same principle as with thrift store shopping. If you have to convince yourself, if your immediate reaction is "No", then get rid of it. You'll never wear whatever it is because it doesn't make you feel good.

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  54. Whenever I hear "Levi's 501 jeans" I think of the view of my husband from behind thirty years ago. Dewy eyed sigh. If you are considering moving things from your closet along, move them along. I'm off to my closet to clear the debris. thanks for the motivation.

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  55. I think that Norwegian sweater is better than you think. The rest though...I agree, chuck them.

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  56. Repurpose the denim and lace. I would make a cushion cover out of the sweater - the pattern is lovely. And just get rid of the rest.

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  57. Another vote for moving all of those pieces on in their journeys - away from you. (Disclosure: I'm in full-bore Purge mode here at my house right now, too and I have to keep going while I'm still Ruthless lol) You won't miss them and you'll appreciate the extra space!

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  58. You're inspiring me to go through my wardrobe today for some decluttering!!

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  59. Yep, they can all go! But I understand your ambivalence about the ski sweater ... but the neckline is a bit odd. Check out my friend Claudia's (@machenundtun) #funtidy challenge on Instagram for some more inspiration for decluttering and organizing. I'm behind on her schedule, but I will get through it!

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  60. All should go! In the wonderful words of Edna Mode - "I never look back darling. It distracts from the NOW."

    https://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_me36dxP5oW1qmr7rho1_500.jpg


    xxxooo

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  61. Super late to the party here, but speaking as a knitter, the reason that sweater doesn't feel right is because it's intended to be worn with significant ease. It's a beautiful piece, but Norwegian ski sweaters were intended as outerwear with ~5 inches of ease as the first defense against the elements. Find someone smaller who understands wool and give them the sweater.

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  62. Wash the ski sweater (i'm assuming it's 100% wool) in the machine in hot water to shrink. It's kinda fun to shrink it small enough to fit a toddler on purpose. Use a Dr Scholls or similar shoe insert or maybe just the bottom of a shoe to trace a pattern on the wool. Cut out as many as possible and stack them 2 or 3 high, depending on how thick you want your shoe insert. Sew the layers together around the outer edge with a blanket, or similar, stitch. You now have attractive, breathable, washable inserts for your boots and sneakers. voila.

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