He Says/She Says: Saving Clothes

He Says/She Says: Saving Clothes

In the He Says/She Says series, we discuss financial-ish topics where we agree to disagree and make our case with fighting words. We then promptly make up.

When our blog was first birthed, I did a He Says/She Says on Johnny’s obsession with saving receipts, and my determination to throw them out. Well, over a year and a half later, I’ve decided to come clean. It’s not just receipts that Johnny likes to save. No, no. The problem is much, much worse. Let me preface this by clarifying that Johnny is not a hoarder. There. He’s very clean and organized. But from time to time, he does have a hard time throwing things out. Like receipts. Or like the dozens of Wired magazines that he swears he’ll read someday. Or old clothes that he no longer wears.

Let’s focus on the clothes, since we’ve recently been trying to organize our closet — emphasis on the word trying. Johnny’s portion of our closet has at least twice as many shirts as mine does. And he wears maybe 25% of them. I could also have that many shirts in my closet if I held onto clothes the way he does. Actually, I have the opposite problem. I purge with a vengeance. And then a few months after one of my purging rampages, I go looking for a shirt, only to realize it didn’t make the cut and is now sitting in some thrift store. So, yes, I have a problem, too. But Johnny’s problem is much, much worse than my own.

Case in point, we currently each have tub of our winter clothing since it’s summertime right now. My tub actually contains winter clothes. Johnny’s tub contains winter clothes AND clothes that he knows he’ll never wear again but can’t part with. Like a faded jean jacket with a sherpa lining that he hasn’t worn in 7 years. Or a plaid shirt that just needs some altering around the waist to fit him better. Or a box full of bizarre-looking belt buckles that he collected as a teenager. The list goes on and on. If you asked him, Johnny would play the money card. He’d claim that someday he’s going to be really glad he held onto blah-dee-blah shirt, while Joanna will be spending her money re-buying an almost identical shirt to one she threw out years ago.

But I call bull on this one. The number of shirts he has at this point is actually hampering his ability to get dressed in the morning. The craziest thing of it all is he actually needs new clothes, but there’s nowhere to put them at this point. Maybe I’d be more lenient if our closet were bigger, but it’s kind of small. And while most of his shirts are in great condition, they’re not as stylish as they once were. Maybe they’ll come back into style someday. But in the meantime, I think it’s worth my sanity to throw most of them in a heap and douse them with gasoline. Who’s with me?

It’s time to tell it to us straight: Are you Team Saver or Team Purger? Do you think it’s wasteful to throw clothes out (even if you’re giving them to charity)? Or does purging actually optimize your outfit wearing, therefore eliminating waste? (YES. That one!)

53 Comments

  1. Rebecca
    August 20, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I am a purger on this one! Every spring and fall I go through all my clothes- not just the ones coming out for the next season and get rid of bags of clothes/shoes/bags. I do it every time and I usually get rid of at least 2 trash bags of stuff. And I don’t buy clothes that often or really at all most of the time. I just ask myself “Have I worn this in the past year or will I wear it now?” If the answer is no I donate it; if the answer is yes I keep it.

    There are some stuff I do have a hard time parting with so I keep them, but for the most part I donate a ton of stuff every year to clean out my drawers and closet.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Way to be, Rebecca! Purging is the way to go, and I like your question — very no-nonsense!

      Reply

  2. TT
    August 20, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Team Saver! I have a feeling the “faded jean jacket with a sherpa lining” + board shorts + Uggs style is coming back soon. Keep it, Johnny, keep it! I’ve still got mine (corduroy, not denim, but close enough). Joanna, please tell me he still has the puka shell necklaces, too…

    I probably shouldn’t being throwing stones from my glass house. :D

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Oh no… the last thing Johnny needs is reinforcements! And I have a vague memory of a puka shell necklace somewhere… if it’s not in a box in our closet, he definitely still has it in storage!

      Reply

  3. Kirsten
    August 20, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Having started my child bearing years, I confess to having a tub of clothes I hope will fit again one day. But I culled through them before starting the tub and I keep them as motivation. But my husbands like yours. Except his downfall is almost entirely jeans. Apparently, with 20 pairs of jeans in the closet, none of them fit. Sigh.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Oh, those tubs don’t count. As long as those clothes are still in style, I say keep them until you’ve had all your babies! Count your lucky stars that it’s just jeans! With Johnny, it’s pretty much everything!

      Reply

  4. Taylor
    August 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Team Purger! I think of it as a way I support charity ;) but seriously, look into Project 333. Minimalism (even if you just dip your toes into it rather than diving head first) is a money saver. And having less does help you get dressed more quickly and easily, and helps you appreciate what you do have. I’m with you all the way on this one, Joanna!

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Oh, I’m intrigued!! Can’t wait to look into it. Thanks, Taylor!

      Reply

  5. Wade
    August 20, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I’ve definitely transitioned to a “purger”. Nothing is safe. Nostalgia is a tough nut to crack. I’ll hold onto something for years and have no use for it. Now, I will save the memory of an object, but I am more able to let something go now.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Maybe I should have Johnny take a picture of all his nostalgic piece of clothing and see if that does the trick! ;)

      Reply

  6. Tarynkay
    August 20, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I am split on this one. I am constantly weeding through my clothes and donating things. I do have some clothes I wore in high school, but I still wear them all regularly. For instance, I have been wearing my doc martens for the past fifteen years. And just the other day, I saw them in the urban outfitters, so I guess they are finally back in style! So now I feel old.

    But yeah, no matter how hopeless I am from a fashion perspective,, I don’t keep around clothes that I don’t wear. If I don’t wear something within a year (or within a month of its season) I pass it on.

    If it is something very sentimental, I might take a photo in it or repurpose it in some way. Example: decorative belt buckles= Christmas tree ornaments! See, given the alternative, Joanna might just want to let Johnny keep his old junk on boxes.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      His belt buckles are not touching our Christmas tree! I’ve actually been trying to purge a little less for the reason you just mentioned… stuff comes back in style! It’s crazy but all too true.

      Reply

  7. Shay
    August 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Joanna, this one you may just need to leave alone. My DH is exactly the same. I’m a purger to some point, although I do have clothes in my closet I can’t currently fit into. I do get rid of stuff. My DH has an underlying physiological need to keep his clothes. Maybe it’s to feel like he has more than he does (the need to feel wealthy), maybe it’s because he feels we are too poor to buy more and it he’s being a martyr, or maybe he didn’t have much as a kid and doesn’t want to let go of the memories.
    I fought this fight and it was ugly. My DH thought I was somehow trying to get rid of a part of him. Walk this line carefully. I try to set a good example. I purge the kids’ clothes, but I don’t touch his stuff anymore. Maybe the occasional holey sock or underwear, but not his clothes. Good Luck!
    Shay

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      I want to just go through his closet secretively and see if he notices. Of course, now that I’ve written that in a comment, I guess it’s not so secret. ;) If we had a bigger closet or even separate closets, I think I could let it go more easily. As is, space is becoming a major issue!

      Reply

  8. Kimberly
    August 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I think I have a good balance of what to keep & what not too.
    I read in a “simplifying your life” type book some great advice
    & I actually do it! When I buy something I have to get rid Something. It used to be rigid(buy a shirt, donate a shirt) but.
    now I am more flexible and it works fine. The key is to take the time to do it. Before you start this though you do need to do so e purging to begin fresh! I also live with a “saver”… Unbelievably frustrating the junk she has bulging out of her closets and drawers, but I have learned after 17 years to let it go. I won’t give up any of my space for her junk anymore so it keeps me sane!

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Oh, I really like that advice!! I think with Johnny I’d have it be for every one shirt he buys, he has to get rid of five shirts, or something. ;)

      Reply

  9. Becca
    August 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Joanna my husband is the same way. He will randomly decide to wear a shirt he’s had since high school…he’s 30. I said something to him one time and he got so frustrated he ripped the shirt right in half like he was Hulk Hogan, haha. I’ve learned to pick my battles and as long as his old t’s don’t take up my closet space then I am fine with him wanting to go ol’ school every now and then.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Well, the nice thing about him hulking out is that was one less shirt he could keep! ;) Space is definitely the main issue at play… if we had a bigger closet, I think I’d just let him be.

      Reply

  10. jenlarson
    August 20, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’m a purger – but wasn’t always this way. I used to feel guilty getting rid of something that was still wearable, even if I didn’t wear it. Now, in an effort to keep things simple and decluttered (we share a small closet) if I don’t wear it and love it, it gets donated. I’ve never had a ton of clothes, but It’s easier now that I’m done having kids, and I’ve realized that if I ever lose more weight, I’m going to want to buy new clothes…not wear the old ones I had in my twenties!
    As I return laundry to my closet, I hang the clean clothes on the same side each time, so it’s easy to see the clothes that haven’t been worn for awhile. (on my husband’s side, I hang his clean shirts at the back of the shirts still hanging in the closet…my thought is he then has to reach past the 10-15 t-shirts that he never wears, to get to his favorites, so it will be easier to talk him into donating them to get them out of the way :) )

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      I like how you think! I should try that with Johnny!!

      Reply

  11. Lauren
    August 20, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I like to purge! I only hold on to items that I really, really like. Once you ditch those clothes that you never wear, you’ll forget about them anyway.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Too true! Team purger all the way!

      Reply

  12. B
    August 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I msyelf purge all the time and then get mad when I can’t find it and rebuy just like you! But Hubby saves everything. Tshirts that no longer can be worn or ones that are out of date, he could stand for a wardrobe update, but he needs to get rid of stuff to do so! I take bags to goodwill every other month or so, that is how much I get rid of stuff!

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      I have two full bags in my closet that I have been adding to over the last few months. The only thing keeping me from donating them is my irrational hope that Johnny, too, will want to donate. If I keep pushing, I think he just might!

      Reply

  13. Alicia
    August 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I’ve always been a saver but I’m trying to change my ways. I’ve gotten rid of soooo much in the past few years, and it feels great! A lot of stuff still fits me from high school, but then when I try it on it makes me look 16 (in a not good way). I’ve slowly begun to grow up with my wardrobe, and it feels good! I’m realizing that I never miss what I throw out either.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Agreed! I feel like the clothes I’m buying now are more timeless than the trendy stuff, so maybe I won’t feel the need to purge as much in the future!

      Reply

  14. Kassandra @ More Than Just Money
    August 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Heck I’d nominate myself as the Co-captain of Team Purger! My husband also has way too many clothes and he could donate or throw out a lot of them and still have me beat.. I am always on the lookout to get rid of things that we aren’t using or that are too old to keep around.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      So funny that so many men are like Johnny! Who knew! They all need an intervention! ;)

      Reply

  15. Anne
    August 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    “But from time to time, he does have a hard time throwing things out. Like receipts. Or like the dozens of Wired magazines that he swears he’ll read someday. ”

    If you hadn’t specified the magazine name I would be convinced you married ME. I save receipts until they hit the credit card accurately (and if applicable, that I’m sure I won’t be needing it for a return), which leaves M throwing out receipts in the kitchen after I unpack the groceries and me being all “why did you throw that out?” Magazines I save for lazy afternoons and flights, but I’m completely guilty of going months without opening one.

    I will purge sometimes, but not frequently, and I tend to hold onto things “just in case”. Probably because of that one 80′s party where I went to wear my ripped-to-be-one-shoulder old school GUESS t-shirt and realized I’d tossed it.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      The crazy thing about Johnny’s magazines are that they come covered in plastic, and most the time, that never even gets taken off. It’s out of control! You’ve made the first good argument for saving… having good costumes at parties!

      Reply

  16. Megan @ MeganAndEggs
    August 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I am a purger, 100%. At home, at my job, I hate hate hate clutter. Chris on the other hand is a total saver and it drives me nuts! At our old townhouse it didn’t both me because we had the space for his saving. Now we have to rent a storage unit to house our holiday decorations, camping supplies, paintball gear and other things we barely (if ever) use. I guess it’s part of compromise.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      It’s so funny how savers and purgers seem to end up married to each other. We don’t have the extra space right now, either. Our storage unit in our parking garage is about filled to the brim!

      Reply

  17. Retired by 40
    August 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Normally I’d be with Johnny, but I’m actually with Joanna this time. I’m all for hanging on to clothes for legitimate reasons (like you had a baby and need to get back down to your previous weight) but when you dont’ have a place to put the new clothes you so desperately need, it’s time to purge!

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      YES. Thank you… if space weren’t an issue, I really couldn’t care less!

      Reply

  18. EcoCatLady
    August 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Um…. well… as a person who still has clothing that is, I’m quite sure, older than either you or Johnny, I think I have to fess up and say that I’m part of team saver. The thing is, I try to purge, I really do, but there’s just this little voice inside of me that doesn’t want to let it go. And I do have to say, that I still wear it – I mean I have a shirt that probably dates back to 1983 but it’s handy to grab when I’m running out to the garden and want something to cover up my shoulders so I don’t get sunburned.

    Of course there’s a lot that I don’t wear too – and I’m getting better at parting with it. But I think perhaps my hatred for clothes shopping is part of it. If it fits and it’s still functional, it’s just soooo much easier not to replace it than it is to suffer the horrible indignation of having to try on a pile of stuff and emerge feeling fat, frustrated, awkward and hopelessly flawed – seriously, does ANYBODY look decent in those horrible fluorescent lights that they always put in dressing rooms?

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      That’s why I do almost all of my shopping online! I’d rather go through the hassle of shipping and returning than going and trying something on in a store. I despise shopping.

      If you still wear it, I’ll give you a pass on all your saving. :)

      Reply

  19. Mrs. Frugalwoods
    August 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    That’s a tough call–I’m probably on team saver. We do wear our clothes for many, many years (I actually have some jeans from high school that I still wear and I just turned 30!). But, we try to stay organized and get rid of stuff. I’m just always afraid that we’ll end up needing something we give away. Eeek!

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      That’s definitely a risk of giving stuff away. But in the meantime, imagine the peace and sanity you’ll feel by having less stuff! :)

      Reply

  20. Madeline
    August 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Have you tried Twice or ThredUp? They don’t do guys clothing but they do women’s & kids over 12 months! I couldn’t believe I actually made some money. Maybe you all should start a guys version- then he’d get to hoard everyones old clothes!

    Here is my review: http://createbakecelebrate.com/2014/06/twice-vs-thredup.html

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      I haven’t heard of them. Sounds like an interesting idea!

      Reply

  21. Michelle
    August 20, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I think this is hilarious. Johnny, it’s time to let the old stuff go so some new clothes make its way into your life :)

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Yes. It’s for his own good!!

      Reply

  22. Michelle@PennyThots
    August 20, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I save everything unless for certain, I will not ever wear it again. I am one of those thinkers, “When I lose weight….” etc. The list goes on and on. I still have tshirts from high school in my closet that I won’t throw away.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Michelle, I’ll add you to the list of people in need of a closet intervention ;) !

      Reply

  23. Rob
    August 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Well Joanna, in reading the comments posted so far I get the impression that most of the wives are in the purger team camp. And I guess I can relate since my wife is also. Often (usually when my attention is directed elsewhere) she’s merrily going through her stuff, my stuff, as well as her 94 y/o mom’s clothing stuff and shipping off bundles to Goodwill or some other such charity. Now I have a theory why she leans this way (while I generally don’t). I figure that generally women love to shop for new stuff, especially clothing, while men generally not as much so. And I must admit that, like Johnny, I’m one to collect sales receipts (although I eventually do turf them out, usually after they’re 7 years old). But here you see is my reasoning. More than once an old receipt has helped me claim repairs on something still under warranty. And at times an old receipt has reminded me where I bought something that I now have to go out and replace (and which I know that they still stock the item). So each to his / her own, right Johnny? :-)

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Nooo, you’re a bad influence. Do not empower him! Your wife knows what’s what!

      Reply

  24. Miranda
    August 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I’m totally with you! Just torch ‘em.. Haha. No. I kid. But seriously, I feel your pain. My husband played football in high school and college and has about 30 t-shirts that he got for free and then promptly cut the sleeves off of (it’s a very sexy Joe Dirt minus the mullet kind of look). He claims they are ‘work shirts’ for you know, mowing the lawn (we have a landscaper), and doing things around the house (he works 70+ hours a week and is too tired to do housework). And so they sit, taking up valuable space in a drawer. I’ve often considered getting rid of them but I’m pretty sure he’d serve me with papers the next day. I’ve gently suggested that we turn them into a quilted blanket for the Man Cave and that wasn’t met with extreme resistance, so I suppose there’s hope… Have you guys ever considered selling them to a consignment store so Johnny can recoup some of that investment and apply it to new clothes? Just think of all of the latest in Sherpa-lined jackets that are lying in wait…

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Good idea with the quilt! I know just the shirts you speak of because my dad has several to call his own.

      At this rate, I’m willing to try anything! I’ll see what he thinks of consignment selling.

      Reply

  25. Kara
    August 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I’m much more of a purger! I save some things that I haven’t worn in years or rarely wear — a floor-length purple cocktail dress, a crazy Hawaiin shirt that I like to day drink in, weird high heels — because the amount of enjoyment that I get out of those couple of things the one time a year I wear them is worth sacrificing the space. But other than those few exceptions, I’m a big fan of getting rid of the excess.

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      More power to ya! Johnny has a terrible holiday turtleneck he wears each Christmas, and I love that he’s kept it all these years. It’s a fun tradition!

      Reply

  26. Little House
    August 22, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I’m definitely a clothes saver, which can be problematic when you run out of space for the new clothes you need because the old clothes are looking, well, old. I hate clothes shopping, so for me, I think I hang on to shirts, skirts, etc. because I think, “Oh, I might need that for such and such and it will come in handy,” but never do. Only when I’m pushed to purge my closet do I do it. ;)

    Reply

    • Joanna
      August 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Yes, the space is the major issue! If it weren’t for that, I’d let Johnny save every shirt he’s ever owned!

      Reply

  27. Olivia
    September 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I want to be a purger, but sadly I’m a clothes hoarder :( I think it comes from always seeing my older sister with so many more clothes than me (she’s always been a bit of a fashionista though). I love the idea about purging at the end of the season – but our climate is so mild here the seasonal lines are really blurry. I’m doomed.

    Reply

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