Managing Your Closet When Losing Weight


Recently a man who'd lost 65 pounds shared some of his tips with BuzzFeed Video.  I agree with and experienced many of them myself.  A key part of his story was when a friend tried to tell him to keep all of his old clothes so that he would have something to wear when he regained his weight.  Instead, he decided to get rid of them all.

And that's the right attitude.  No going back.  At least within reason.

I was fortunate to be a pack rat over the years.  When it came to clothes, I'd outgrow them, but I'd keep them around partly out of the hope I'd someday lose the weight needed to fit back into them and partly out of pure inertia.  As a result, I had boxes of clothes I hadn't even looked at in years.

It can sometimes seem a trip through time.
When I started losing weight and shrinking down, it was time for me to unbox all those clothes and get organized.  When all was said and done, I had clothes from 20 years of adult life that stretched across six sizes of shirts and 11 sizes of pants. I know I'm an extreme outlier here, but my experience does speak to holding onto smaller clothes in the hopes that you can turn your weight around.  I have to date lost a foot and a half of circumference off my body, which translates into reducing nine pants sizes and four shirt sizes.  And by keeping those old clothes around, I've helped reduce my clothing expenses, especially for clothes I expect to shrink out of as I continue my progress.

Those clothes I shrank out of, though?  Those are gone.

My rule of thumb is to keep one size up from where I currently am, but donate anything bigger than that.  Only a part of that is due to hedging.  I don't plan to ever go back, but as I'll get into in an upcoming post about weight tracking, it's nearly impossible to have only a downward trajectory at all times, and it's not even about falling off your diet.  So tossing your old clothes as soon as you can squeeze into the next size down is not a prudent course of action.

Another issue is that not all clothes of the same size fit the same.  This is particularly true of clothes purchased in different times.  I've found that, when compared to my clothes from twenty years ago, shirts today generally fit more snugly while pants tend to be looser.  Unless you want to regularly go through all your clothes and try everything on to decide what individually should be tossed, you run the risk of removing a chunk of your wardrobe before the next size down fully fits you.

In addition, just because you can now fit in the next size down doesn't mean that the slightly larger clothes won't fit anymore.  My practice is to only toss clothes when they start to look too baggy on me.  To do otherwise is to give up the opportunity to have a more expansive wardrobe without having to buy a ton of new clothes.  This is especially true for suits, which are too expensive to churn through quickly.  Keeping clothes until they start to look too baggy is prudent and thrifty.

I'm now down to a small stack
of clothes to shrink into.
And maintaining a wardrobe that is (hopefully) inherently temporary calls for one to be prudent and thrifty.  The continued weight loss and the influence of my incredibly thrifty girlfriend has caused me to become an aficionado of clearance sales and second hand stores.  With my store of old clothes quickly dwindling, I've had to backfill more and more with each size I reduce.  My closet has now become a showcase for that nine dollar Izod sweater I picked up at a thrift store and that shirt I got on clearance at Kohls for a buck and a half.

Keeping my closet in sync with my weight loss has been a struggle at times, but a problem worth having.  And I hope that all of my donated clothes are doing some good for some struggling big men out there. 


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