Spring Closet Cleaning: The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly

Spring! You came!

So loving these warm days. It changes everything.

Unlike the rest of you, I have dreaded the clothing shift this weather brings and have fiercely avoided the mall, my usual magazines, Pinterest, and even the clothing section at the Target- lest I be tempted!

When the Spending Fast started, I knew in the back of my mind the transitions to both Spring and Fall would be hard for me. These are my two favorite times of year to shop. Typically I make a list of items I want and think that I need, and thoroughly enjoy buying them. 

This year to keep things interesting, I got all my Rubbermaid bins of next season clothes out from the garage. First of all, it is shocking to see the amount of clothing I have when you add in the t-shirts, gym shorts, summer pajama's (because I'm an eighty-year-old woman trapped in a thirty-year-old body) light-colored jeans, swim suits, blouses, tanks and sundresses- oh my!

Last Spring I had a baby, so I stuck to yoga pants 90% of the time.

The Spring before that, I had just had a baby, also yoga pants.

So there was a lot of sorting and trying on to do. And most of it does not fit! At a certain point in the past two years, I began to feel frustrated at having a closet full of clothes that were too small. For some reason, it did not dawn on me that I would not alllwwwaaayyys be pregnant, so I gave all the small clothes away! 6 months of GI problems and a major diet change (due to food allergies) later, hello, not much fits. Not having a baby growing inside of you makes it possible to wiggle back into some of those old clothes. Duh! I should've thought of that.

But even though I cut my wardrobe in half each time we moved, and probably need to cut it in half again to keep things appropriate (i.e. shorts that stay up) I still have more than enough to get by on. And it makes me glad to be in the midst of a spending fast this Spring to give these clothes one last chance. Many people follow the "If you haven't worn it in a year, give it away" rule. I support that and follow the same rule, my only difference is I keep things for 10 years before giving them away. Just so I can see the full life-cycle of that blouse or pair of pants, and things really do come back in style... I think. But I am not exactly a fashionista so don't take my word for it. Some of these clothes below are definitely cutting it close. This is their last summer! These pictures are some of my findings. And of course, whenever a picture of me is involved, great deal of awkwardness is to be seen as well.

I will never look comfortable in photographs. Holding a child helps me feel most like myself these days. As does wearing my sneaks (a cool way to say tennis shoes). But as you can tell, I did read somewhere that you're supposed to put your hands on your hips so every time I thought to do that, I immediately did.

Here are some of the good things I found...

A chambray shirt by Halogen

A cotton dress by French Connection (It hits just above the knees)

Crochet blouse from Target, printed shorts by J. Crew

My favorite t-shirt and chino skirt, both by J. Crew
Below is my bad list. Not because these items are inherently awful, they could work great in someone else's closet (except the printed overalls, ain't nobody gonna make those look good). But like most of the clothes I own, I do not wear them! My wardrobe mainly consists of things that I buy because they look 'fun.' I do not er on the side of practicality. I have lots of 'going out' types but they totally don't line up with my Walmart wine drinking and Redbox movie renting lifestyle. For running errands, taking the kids to the park, and play dates, I almost always wear a plain cotton shirt, jeans, tennis shoes or TOMS, and a fleece pull-over. On date night it's usually a button-up shirt and cowboy boots, and to church sometimes I get crazy and will layer things and even add a piece of jewelry. This Spring and Summer we have lots of weddings to attend but my wedding outfit M.O is to blend in, not stand out-- except for when I was pregnant and decided to get freaky and rock green metallic:
Sorry about the orb in the background, and shout out to Abby, the pretty girl on my right who gets married this month!
But this is not, and never shall be a fashion blog. Mostly because of my fierce commitment to the jean and sneaker combo (that I refuse to apologize for). My friend Heath and her sister Mary Keller do a beautiful job writing about their closet rebuilding (among other classy things) on their blog Southland Avenue. In February they posted about the simplicity of the French Five, a challenge to build your wardrobe only buying five items each season, so ten pieces per year. According to the method, the best items are simple ones. By doing this Spending Fast, I am forced to really examine what I own instead of focusing on acquiring more. When I really look at my closet, I see a lot of trendy (past trends, all past!) because these are the items that to me, are appealing to buy. But on a daily basis, these clothes are not practical nor comfortable and I am not drawn to wear them which is why for years I am constantly saying, "I have nothing to wear" because what I really mean is, "I have nothing comfortable to wear" because who is really feeling comfortable in sequins and floral party dresses?
I wear this number every year on New Year's Eve
Lou and Mack would look really under dressed if I wore this to take them to Toddler Time at the library
Oh you didn't buy yourself a pair of Lily Pulitzer overalls in college? Yes, that's right, butterflies and lime green were all the rage in South Carolina. Not! These beauties have been siting in my closet for 10 years

My party dress, holding on to this one just in case we get invited to an 80's mixer
This is more my style. My favorite t-shirt I own. Jerry Seinfeld had a yellow lucky shirt that he called "Golden Boy." I call this baby, "Old Red." My grandma's best friend gave it to me. I wore it to asthma camp so it brings back some very dear memories. 

I think I will be trying the French Five starting in January 2015. I think it's a great way to keep things simple and prevent hoarding. Number 1 on my list is the perfect white t-shirt.

Please share with me some of your favorite Spring items! Do they carry over from season to season or do they birth and die out a few weeks later like my butterfly overalls?

Thanks Abby Jane for taking these pictures! (not pictured are our four children crawling around at my feet)


  1. Youre adorable in every one! Lookin' so good momma! I LOVE the dress you should definitely wear it to toddler time and have Emmy in one the matches and a bowtie for Mack. It's the southern girl in ya!

    1. I know I had to hold myself back from buying them matching smocked outfits for Easter, can you imagine Mike's reaction to Mack wearing searsucker bib overalls?! Miss you guys, can't wait to see a pic of how the ballers are dressing up in WY this spring!

  2. ally...you are amazing! i love reading your blog! your honesty is so great and you are a wonderful writer! I laugh every time I read your stories :)
    also, you've inspired me to do some spring cleaning!

    1. Love you Meggy, I hope you are loving your days with those wacky kids and your hubby! And girl if you are cleaning out your closet, send some of the rejects over this way you've got good style. Thanks for the compliment I miss you :)

  3. Ally, I'm so excited you're starting the French 5. If I'm being honest I may have to put off starting until January 2015 as well. We've be on a spending freeze too(saving for a house) and once it's lifted i'll need to replenish some basics before I implement these tactics. I can't wait to see how it goes though. I can tell you I feel so much better with less nonsense to sort through in my closet and dresser every morning for work. Let me know how it all goes...

    1. Well I have been catching up on some of your posts and just love the variety of things y'all write about. Everything is so beautiful and well-done. That glider- such a great idea! I've been sharing MK's pictures with all my preggo friends! You have always had great classic style. Miss you lots, was trying to find a picture for something today and came across some sillies of us in the KD house :)

  4. You are beautiful:) I certainly relate to have a variety of sizes of clothes to fit into whether I am pregnant, nursing, a few baby weight pounds to lose, or "normal". These child-birthing years can be brutal on the pocket book!

    1. Aw thanks Leslie! And yes, the variety! As we are packing I am realizing I need a tupperware to pack clothes in that represents each of the phases of my body that you just listed. It is wild. When we lived in Des Moines, some gals hosted a clothes swap and I think that is just the best idea when you are needing some in-between-clothes, very budget friendly too!


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