Why Did I Keep This?

This picture was taken at Christmas of 1989, right before I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. This was also right before I began my journey into obesity – starting with a 75 pound weight gain over the next nine months. I got this lovely, orange and yellow plaid dress for Christmas. As you can see from the look on my face I loved it a lot. I could only wear it for a short time though because I gained 20 pounds in the first trimester of myΒ  pregnancy.


After my daughter was born, I weighed about 260 pounds and there was no way that size 12 dress was going to fit. I admit to trying it on and getting a bit sad that I couldn’t even get my shoulders and arms into the dress. I pushed the dress to the side of my closet – keeping the maternity clothes front and center. That dress stayed in my closet for years. I moved the dress from one house to the next, just “knowing” that I was going to be able to wear it again.

I looked longingly at the dress for several years. My weight ballooned up to 300 pounds and the dress (and others like it) got pushed farther to the edges of my closet and my mind. Sometimes I’d pull all those clothes I was hanging onto out of my closet and look at them. I just couldn’t imagine I’d ever be able to fit in them again. They seemed impossibly small when I held them up to my big self in front of the mirror. Truthfully, I held up that dress and my hips, shoulders and thighs were all clearly visible on both sides of the dress. But still – I kept it.

After I lost 158 pounds that dress was too big for me. That was a happy day, but within that happiness was a sadness when I realized that I had held onto all those dresses, pants and shirts so long that the styles had come and gone. I had missed entire eras of fashion – some good and some bad.

I read a quote today from Peter Walsh, author of “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” He said:

You should have only three types of clothes in your closet — clothes that fit you, clothes you love, and clothes that always bring you compliments.

I wish I had heard that when I was struggling with obesity. I kept clothes that didn’t fit, clothes I didn’t love, and clothes that no one ever complimented. And keeping those clothes made me feel bad, unorganized and cluttered.

Here’s my philosophy now on keeping clothes that don’t fit you. If you are on your way down the scale, save one or two big clothes to remember how far you have come. Donate, throw away or give away clothes that don’t fit you and are no longer flattering. Keeping old clothes often times either gives you something to fall back on or something to “beat yourself up” over.

Do you have old, out of date clothes hanging in your closet? What are you going to do with them?Β  Diane

37 thoughts on “Why Did I Keep This?

  1. Miz says:

    I do.
    and these days the excuse is MY CHILD WILL WANNA PLAY DRESS UP IN EM SOME DAY.

    methinks it’s just an excuse.

    meh πŸ™‚ I KNOW it’s just an excuse…

  2. Deniz says:

    I’ve done as you suggested (mostly) – kept one pair of my biggest trousers and a top I can now wear as a dress and donated the rest. My exception is a very warm (but very large) sweatshirt that I put on if I’m freezing but wouldn’t dream of going out of the house in πŸ˜‰

    Even now things catch me out though. I was about to wear a really beautifully cut biased denim skirt at the weekend until I tried it on. Huh? It won’t stay up any more! How did that happen? Sadly, it’s now in the bag for the next charity shop run πŸ™

  3. Becky says:

    Our church has a clothes closet and I donated all my 1x, 18-20″ to them . I had about 6 large garbage bags full of clothes ! I was not sad at all to see them go and someone get some use out of them!!

  4. karen says:

    I keep meaning to donate my clothes & even have bags already set to go … but the individual people I’ve offered to have never actually claimed them and so they just sit there. I really need to go through my closets again and add to … then maybe I’ll just have Tom toss them in the van and see how many we can shove in donation boxes around the city.

  5. Little Bee says:

    Keeping old clothes often times either gives you something to fall back on or something to β€œbeat yourself up” over.

    This is it, yes. For me, keeping overly small clothes can sometimes be a sign of denial over how much I’d really have to lose before they fit again. Keeping them keeps the illusionary idea in my mind that I’m not that far from there.

    Besides, as I read on some other blog ages ago, “the first thing you want to do after you lose substantial weight is to buy new clothes.” πŸ˜‰

  6. Diane says:

    I am seriously thinking I missed the memo about being a girl and being into clothes, shoes, make up and hair ! In high school my closet consisted of jeans, plain tee shirts and an occasional dress for some formal thing which I promptly cut up and made into something else after the event. That wardrobe has stuck with me , but the jeans became sweats after 2 major abdominal surgeries ( I did not have your average C Section for one of them). I even re purposed my Wedding Dress- it was made into my son’s Christening Gown and became part of several quilting projects. I think the reason is that I have been big my whole life ( try to find cute clothing for a first grader in a woman’s size 16) and clothes were never something I had an emotional attachment with. Everything in my wardrobe was either very classic women s wear or bought from the men’s department because it was durable and functional.

  7. Desert Agave says:

    I actually just dropped off my too-big clothes at Goodwill this past weekend. It was a little scary getting rid of them, but once I did I felt really good. My closets are pretty empty now, but I sort of like them that way. They have room now for all the clothes I’ll need when I finally reach my goal weight.

  8. vickie says:

    every single item in my closet fits.

    And I love and wear them all.

    And I did get rid of all the too big (and too awful even if it fit) all the way down the scale.

    I know you got contacts, I got great glasses, and that is important too.

    As are really well fitting bras!!! and a good hair cut

  9. Bree Watson says:

    I have one pair of pants, but I will be able to use them. My main thing is when I lose this weight (I just started Nutrisystem)I am going to take most of my fat clothes and burn them in a big pile in my back yard. I will donate the dresses and maybe save a pair of pants so I can stand in them and do the “I used to be this size??!!” thing. I know I could and I have had people tell me I should donate all of them…but honestly they are not in real good shape. I wear them to tread bare…I hate shopping! I get new pants when I am busting the seams or I have worn a hole in them. The other reason for my greatly anticipated burn is that I have had SO MANY people offer me their “Fat” clothes. They say, often loud enough for others to hear, “oh I have just lost a lot of weight and my clothes just don’t fit anymore and I thought of you. Would you like them?” O___O not nice! and the real kicker is when they give me the clothes and they are too small. That is no fun!

    So anyway, you asked about hanging on to “skinny” clothes and I prattled on about burning my “fat” clothes. hahaha

    Thank you for you site! I am glad that I have found you!

  10. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    For a long time I kept the dress I wore to my wedding celebration. (We got married on a different day – long story.) It could have been worn again if it would ever have fit me! I finally realized it never will, even when I am at my goal weight. My body has changed.

  11. Lori Lynn says:

    Yes, I have a bad habit of keeping clothes that I probably won’t wear. I moved this summer, so I did actually go through my closet and get rid of some clothes, mainly out of necessity and not wanting to have so much! But there are still some pieces that remain…

  12. Donna says:

    I am stuck in the place where you use to be when it came to clothes. I thought that if I kept those smaller clothes from my past thinner days they would serve as incentive to me to get back into them. Now they serve as an indictment of my failed diet attempts. Most are woefully out of style. Thank you for the advice, I am going to apply your advice to my closet and get it and myself in shape!

  13. Jane says:

    I am so guilty of hanging on to old clothes that I loved that no longer fit. There are also pleasant memories attached to a few items. Also, some of them are many years old and have dust on them. It is time to clean house and get organized, because, as you said, many of them are out of style.

  14. Jaime says:

    I kept 2 outfits to use for after pics someday (soon) and other wise I gave them all away. I just finished going through them all again and now have 4 bags of clothes that I had gotten on the way down the scale all ready to drop off in a donation bin. I am not keeping any around because I never want to wear them again. I love Peter Walsh’s quote ! I now refuse to wear anything I don’t feel great in. Even if it was given to me for free.

  15. Fran says:

    Eventually I give them away for charity. The old clothes I still have are in my closet because I’m not sure I’m going to wear them again. When they are still in my closet without wearing them during the season I give them away.

    I’m kind of sad right now as really all my clothes are getting to big and I still love most of them and it’s going to cost me a fortune to replace them in a smaller size. I’m still thinking how I’m going to handle that. For now I keep wearing them as I haven’t reached the end of my journey and it’s a waste of money buying new clothes.

    But I think I will keep 1 thing I love most and I won’t fit anymore once I’ve reached my goal. Just for old times sake and to help reminding me how I was.

  16. Mary says:

    Very good thought-provoking post. I have tubs of things. One of the tubs is even marked “some day.” Sometimes it’s scary to see how much our “stuff-clutter” is connected to our “body clutter.”

  17. tina says:

    You look 12 years old in that pic!! πŸ™‚ I don’t keep my fat clothes but I have archives of skinny clothes – classic stuff mostly that doesn’t go out of style. Here’s to the excavation of those again!

  18. Shawnee says:

    I am really weird in that I enjoy throwing or giving things away. I love the release. So I don’t have much in the way of old clothes. I do, however, have two pairs of jeans that I can squeeze in to, but are uncomfortable. I was just thinking today that I need a new pair of jeans, cause I don’t have any. I hate being in between sizes. One size is too big, the other too small. :/ Not fun.

  19. Sandi says:

    My experience with clothes was very similar.
    I had some favorite dresses and jeans that I was able to wear when I was first married. I gained 50 pounds in the first two years, lost it, was able to fit into those clothes for a very short time. I got pregnant and gained and gained, eventually over a hundred pounds. I still kept those clothes. When I lost the weight I tried each one on, was satisfied that I could fit into them, then promptly got rid of them. It was a very freeing feeling to get those old clothes out of my closet. Now my closet is full of even smaller clothes that I really love, and they all fit.

  20. Pam says:

    This time, I have been giving them all away to GoodWill. I had never done that before, I think because I knew i was going to be needing them again, and this time I know I won’t.

  21. NewMe says:

    I have gotten rid of lots of clothes of several sizes. I admit to having a couple of pairs of pants and three summer dresses I just can’t get rid of, even though they don’t fit very well (I can just squeeze into them).

    Actually, my real problem is with shoes that I can’t/shouldn’t wear because of my arthritis. I’ve got way too many pairs of those!

  22. 'Drea says:

    I have clothes that no longer fit and I’ve been intending on donating them but I haven’t gotten around to it yet…

    It’s definitely on my must do list.

  23. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, ya don’t even want to know!!! πŸ˜‰ It is not to wear them.. I don’t know why they are there.

    I have so few clothes.. still trying for WNTW & see if Stacy & Clinton can help me with my fashion senseless!

  24. Tami says:

    Not having clothes in the closet that fit me didn’t stop me from gaining weight, I went and bought bigger clothes! I know this thought process works for some people but it didn’t stop me.

    I do have a variety of clothing sizes right now. I have no intention of gaining any weight and no intention of giving away some clothes that are a couple sizes too big.

    They are in a box at the back of the closet. I don’t intend to ever have to wear them but I can’t let go of them right now. Hmmm I wonder what that says about me?

  25. MB says:

    I always get rid of the clothes that are too big but have held on to the smaller sizes determined to fit my ass into them again. I have sizes 8-18 cluttering up an entire room that I need to work on. I’ve started to bag up the big stuff for goodwill and consignment shops and hope to never need to buy largers sizes again.

  26. Tish says:

    I’m ditching the too big stuff. The first time I put it on and it seems too big, it goes into a large bin at the far side of the closet. when the bin gets full, it gets donated. I do have many too small outfits. Some are just from 18 months ago and I expect to wear this winter. Others are quite old. I enjoy trying them to see if they fit yet. When one gets to the place where it fits, I try it, see if I still like it and ditch it if not. I tend to buy classic styles. Yes–the 80s stuff is gone, but some of those 60s dresses are back in style this decade. I also kept my wedding dress. I have a beautiful red plaid dress that I wore on my first date with DH–I’m going to wear it again–maybe this Christmas.

  27. Lisa says:

    As many commenters, I have clothes that are too small that I refuse to get rid of. I do have a few too big items, but think I’ll save them to see where I came from as the journey progresses.

  28. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Yes, only holding on to clothes that fit and make you feel good is so important! I used to have a really hard time cleaning out my closet. Now I clean it out twice a year and donate anything I haven’t worn in a year, has gone out of style, or doesn’t fit properly.

  29. patty says:

    so funny! we just redid our closet and i have been purging, and i had a handful of sweaters i hadnt worn in years, but loved them. when i described them to my friend, she all out giggled, and i realized… time to go! πŸ˜‰

    congrats on a tremendous fete… to loose so much weight and keep it off! kudos to you!

  30. Siobhan says:

    I don’t have a problem getting rid of clothes that either don’t fit or don’t look good on me. I actually like cleaning out closets and getting rid of things.

  31. Mary (A Merry Life) says:

    I don’t. I think it’s only because I was forced to downsize to only stuff that currently fits with moving so many times. So I’ve managed not to keep any of the “big clothes” or clothes I don’t like and I feel lucky for that.

  32. Rhonda says:

    I’m proud to say after losing weight this time, I have gotten rid of my bigger clothes. No holding on any more. Now when my size 18/20 pants start getting tight…I get with it!

  33. Stacy says:

    I need to weed through my wardrobe – it is on the to do list for next week. I’ve got some pretty nice work clothing that are just too big for me that I think will go to a consigment shop and the rest for a charity pick up. There are some summer stuff that I haven’t worn at all in years and need to find a new home. They fit now…they just don’t fit my personality now LOL!

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