Service of Weeding Belongings: Is There a Painless Way?

October 14th, 2021

Categories: Give Away, Seasons

Mule chest

As I prepare to face the dreaded seasonal clothing changeover, moving winter things out of the mule chest and into the closets and summer stuff into the chest, I wonder how much I will have the stomach to give away this time. [The mule chest, pictured above, has only four drawers, the bottom ones. The top four are faux. The chest opens leaving room to store a lot.]

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

I should be an expert, having recently moved so many times, leaving behind wonderful belongings to fit into smaller spaces. Deaccessioning parts of my wardrobe should be a cinch, but it isn’t, even though since the pandemic, especially as I no longer rent an office, I tend to repeat-wear my favorites.

I’m pragmatic. Rationally I know I no longer dress as I once did–few people do–and the sizes will be wrong, yet I nevertheless find it hard to part with the memories evoked either by seeing a gift or thinking about where I wore something or who I was with when I did. Further, the things I can afford today aren’t made as well as many of the oldies but goodies making parting that more difficult. And in the back of my mind I think, “What if I need thus and such again?”

In 2013 I wrote “Service of Things We Never Use.” It’s easy to give away those gadgets or sale items that were bargains but otherwise are pretty worthless so they aren’t candidates for gifts either.

Most of my friends and acquaintances have long ago cut their wardrobes to the essentials. Have you? Any tips to share that make it easier?

Image by Steve Adcock from Pixabay 

19 Responses to “Service of Weeding Belongings: Is There a Painless Way?”

  1. Anonymous Said:

    Every time I go into the closet I try to find one item I just don’t need or wear. It’s less painless doing it one item at a time. At the end of around two weeks I have a bag of clothes to donate.

  2. Hank Goldman Said:

    So true. We are also downsizing… It’s not easy… But it’s necessary… Thanks for the great topic.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Excellent advice. You can pick a time you are in the best mood to do this. The question remains: Am I brave enough? What’s left is pretty bare bones for someone who once had a lovely wardrobe. I keep thinking that the seasonal changeover will be easier with fewer items to move back and forth. So far that reality hasn’t moved many more things to Goodwill Industries.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The good news is that only sometimes do I think of furniture, art, dishes and decorative accessories I’ve left behind. I keep it to a minimum. As I’ve written before, storing things is a waste of money. Better to tear off the Band-Aid quickly. Who is going to look at or switch out their things in storage?

  5. Kathleen Said:

    I read your blog too quickly and thought you had said “Service of Wedding: Is there a Painless Way?'” I didn’t get answer to the wedding, but now I’ll look at “Weeding”!

  6. lucrezia Said:

    It’s never easy to get rid of cherished items, regardless of their age. It’s a project hanging overhead like the Sword of Damocles as I write. When gathering the necessary strength, I’m following the words uttered by a practical friend: “If in doubt, throw it out!”

    Conveniently, there’s a charity which accepts food and used clothing in the town next door.

  7. TC Said:

    Salvation Army and Goodwill now sport some of the most well dressed clients in the country.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m still laughing

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve heard the “if in doubt” saying. Trouble is, there is no doubt: I don’t want to give more away. Grumble.

    I think of victims of fires and floods who return home to an empty lot and everything gone and am ashamed.

  10. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: I find one needs to be ruthless and not emotional despite what a air Kondo “ does it give you joy” says. Pick a timetable you can live with, say six months, one or two years, and if you haven’t worn something old I that time frame you’re not likely to wear it. You’ll never forget the memories and someone else can likely use what you’re not using. PS beautiful chest of drawers.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I like the idea of someone else enjoying wearing what I give away.

    When a friend responded to a compliment “thank you! I shopped in the back of my closet,” it, too, resonated and I’ve often done it. I tend to classic clothes that I’m comfortable wearing for years.

    I know. Excuses, excuses….

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You, too made me laugh as Kathleen did. I knew a woman who had the most elegant collection of furs —ermine, fox, and mink that I recall. She bought them all at a thrift shop and the manager would call her when another one was donated. The shop was associated with a religious institution so in the day tax deductions for donors must have been involved. She never wore a fur to a client meeting. She said she didn’t ever want to be better dressed than a client.

  13. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Emily Wheatly on YT suggests doing 30 days of writing down what you wear. Examine what you like wearing – how it fits, etc. It will help you evaluate what really works and you can eliminate the “wishful thinking” for clothes that you “outgrew” with weight or time.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:


    This doesn’t cover evening clothes or best suits for special occasions (funerals, weddings). You never know…says Ms. Wishful Thinking. 😊

  15. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Jeanne Byington those are separate from normal everyday and business attire. it is an exercise in truth telling about what you really wear (and why) It allows you to get rid of things taking up space in your closet.

  16. Martha T Takayama Said:

    I feel drowned in an excess of clothes, books, decorative objects and other things of both sentimental and intrinsic value. Over the years my family and I always weeded things out and gave to various charities. Despite this at the beginning of the pandemic I found myself with excess of everything and that the usual channels for charity were inaccessible or not accepting anything. I try my hardest to select, minimize and prepare for give away. I agonize over things with sentimental value or history. I am overwhelmed by the clothes that are lovely, but I don’t think I will need to wear as well as those that are now, strangely enough too big. I don’t like to hoard, and do like to share with those who can benefit.

    I am struggling constantly to eliminate, but must confess that the process with all its ramifications of changes in lifestyle, stage of life, and, our confused pandemic conditioned reality cause me overwhelming melancholy and depression.

  17. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve written a few posts about how hard it is to give away wonderful things because either charities or venues no longer exist or if they do, they no longer pick up making it a challenge for those without cars or strong arms to donate clothing. But that’s no excuse where clothing is concerned. I can bring items by bus in manageable bags.

    On the one hand I feel I have already cut to the quick in letting go of furniture, books, art, decorative items, cookware and clothing. On the other I have more to go in my current space and admit it doesn’t get easier.

  18. Eileen Dover Said:

    Personally, I hold onto favorites only…sizes too small and too big. Have passed along many outfits to friends, relatives and charities. Also, it’s vintage, saying…”I shopped in my (mother’s) closet!”

    The Bowery Mission accepts donations certain days and has easy drop off.

  19. Jeanne Byington Said:


    My friend Harriet told me about shopping in the back of her closet some dozen years ago. She must have been in her mid 80s at the time. It worked for me!

    Goodwill Industries is a short bus ride away without too much walking involved on either end which is helpful if carrying many heavy bags of clothing. I fear that getting to the Bowery Mission–a worthy organization–would be more involved.

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