A couple summers ago I spent a big chunk of the summer living mostly in my truck, while I worked at summer camps a couple hours away from home. Most staff was local and just commuted to the area parks for wilderness camps, so no lodging was provided for staff. I was stoked enough about the job (getting paid for running around in the woods!) that I didn’t mind the truck living aspect of it. (If you’re curious how I made it work, you can check out this post from an old personal blog: Truck Living)
For a few weeks, I had with me only what I could fit in my truck, and still have room to sleep in there. I made a little platform so that I could fit clothes underneath the sleeping space, and I mostly filled up the rest of the room with fiber and my spinning wheel. When I was done with that stint, I came home and was overwhelmed by all my stuff. Now, I live in a small house. The whole house is just over 700 square feet. And it has two small bedroom closets and one very small coat closet. That’s it for storage. So it’s not like I have a lot of things to start with. But I came home from living for weeks with just the things I could fit in my truck and thought, “Why do I have all this other stuff?” At the time, I had two small dressers, three drawers each, and I was finding that I couldn’t actually fit all my clothes in there atonce. I’d been living and working with the amount of clothes that would fit in just one of those drawers! So I did a major purge. I just dumped everything out of all the drawers onto the floor. Then I got out my suitcase, the one that is exactly the right size to be allowed on the plane as a carry-on. I packed the suitcase as if I was planning a week-long trip in the summer. Once it was packed, I took those things and put them in a drawer. Then I packed the suitcase again, this time as if I was going on a week-long trip in the wintertime. That was more challenging, but still possible. Both suitcases full took up three drawers of space, just one of the little dressers. (I did not get rid of any of my fiber supplies. I figure if it’s important enough to me that it takes up half my living space in the truck, then it should get to take up half the space in the house too! And now I had three whole empty drawers for storing more of my fiber-related items.)
So that was a couple years ago, and I still regularly purge clothes when it starts to seem like I can’t get those three drawers to close without a struggle. I’m nowhere near having only 100 items but I feel good about the amount of clothes I have. And all of that is to say, I’m not sure how it keeps happening that I regularly (a couple times a year) have a pile of clothes this big to get rid of.
What is happening in those drawers while I’m not looking!? Clearly, they are breeding in there. Corrie is helpfully providing a size reference here; he’s a 60 pound dog. Just after I took this picture, these clothes all went in a giant trashbag and I dropped them off at Goodwill. Obviously, having fewer clothes means I have more room for other things (or just room for there to be empty space, which is at a premium), but there are secondary benefits too. I have just enough things that I can go one week without doing laundry. Then I do all my laundry in a day, and am good to go for another week. I’m saving time, electricity, water, and brain-space for managing all those things.
It’s true that I mostly work from home, or I work in the woods where freshly-pressed slacks aren’t necessary. Your circumstances might require you to have a better selection of outfits. But just think about all the things in your closet that you haven’t worn recently. Now think about something that you love to do. If you got rid of some of your old clothes, would you have room to store that nice easel you’ve been wishing for? What if you actually cleared a whole corner of your walk-in closet so that you could put a comfortable chair there and your 3 or 4 favorite books? Would you rather have a reading nook, or some old clothes you don’t like? Look around your space. What’s there that you don’t love? What one thing can you get rid of this week that frees up space for something that you do love?