The Deaccession Project: ruminations on letting go

How hard can it be to give away a couple thousand things? I'm getting rid of five things a day for a year.!/outofmyhousenow

Aaaaaannnnddddd, we are back!

Days 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, and 83:



I know it’s not very exciting, but there it is: bras, white bras, ivory bras, beige bras. One bra, two bras, black bras, blue bras. Forty-five of them, to be exact. These bras have already gone off to the Portland Public Schools PTA resource closet and I’m told that many of them are already being worn by chubby high school girls in the Portland area, who were delighted to get them.

That makes me really happy.


Day 74: Collared!

It’s Day 74 of the Deaccession Project. We’re going to be posting a little sporadically for the next few weeks because I’ll be in PARIS for a few days, then in San Francisco for two more, then a week at home in Portland, then away for ten days for the Christmas holidays. But don’t worry, gentle readers, you’ll get your 366 days.

four collared shirts

Here are four collared shirts with my beloved 3/4 sleeves. All of them are now shorter than I would like, and a couple of them are also significantly wider than I would like: not a good look. I don’t know about you, gentle readers, but I don’t want my flabby stomach flapping in the breeze if I can help it. Nobody wants to look at that.

The red one in the front right position is from Talbots, and it exhibits one of the annoying attributes I talked about on Day 70 — knit shirt with woven collar that gets insanely wrinkly the first time through the washer-dryer and never looks back. The others are all 100% knitted, and come from Merona Sport and Appleseed’s.

talbots shirt

Here’s one more, from Talbots. I had a couple of these. It was barely long enough to tuck into a waistband at my natural waist when I bought it perhaps ten or twelve years ago. Since then, it has crept up a little, and the waistbands on pants have crept down a little, and so here we are.


Day 73: Thankful to be getting rid of stuff

Good evening, gentle readers! Greetings from Day 73 of the Deaccession Project. I took a few days off from posting over the holidays but you’ll be pleased to know that last week I photographed and then took to Goodwill (or gave to the PTA Clothing Center) twelve or thirteen huge bags full of stuff. It felt really good.

pink sweater

I almost kept this. I like pink, even though this is kind of a pale shade. But I hadn’t worn it in several years and I’m trying to have some discipline about this.

black linen skirt

This is a drawstring waist black linen blend skirt. I never wore it. I never will.

LE knit cords

This photo contains three pairs of one of my favorite kinds of clothes: Lands’ End knit corduroy pants. Basically they are like sweatpants, only much more polished looking. If you wear a sweater or fleece that covers the elastic waistband, it just looks like you are wearing cords, but they are just as comfy as any sweats could be. BIG WIN.

As I said, I love these pants, so over the years I’ve bought a few of them. I tend to buy them on sale and sometimes the petite lengths don’t go on sale. Because the pant legs are a little tapered toward the bottom, I could always get away with wearing the average length, although it was truly about 3” too long in the inseam. They would bunch a little at the ankles, though, and I finally decided — as I was pruning my wardrobe — that the longer ones could go. Some high school girl will get some very warm, cozy new pants to wear, and all my pants will be the correct length. Win-win.


Day 72: Multi-Denimational

Greetings from Day 72 of the Deaccession Project!  Let’s get to it.

5 denim items

Today is a bit of a denim festival. On the bottom is a very old pair of faded black Bill Blass jeans I used to wear a lot but haven’t worn for at least five years.

The next three pairs are Bill Blass, Talbots, and Gloria Vanderbilt. I used to wear all of them quite a lot. But again, not for some years.

The item on top was a bit of a surprise when I unearthed it in the closet. At some point I actually did buy a denim jumper, presumably to wear with all of those too-short tshirts. But they are all headed out the door, and now so is this.

Today’s items are all headed to the Portland Public Schools PTA Clothing Center!


Day 71: Nightie-Night

It is FREEZING in Portland tonight! Time to get some warm clothes out of this house and onto people who need them.

4 flannel nightgowns

Here are four more flannel nightgowns. The pink and red one and the green one are Lanz and have the traditional Lanz rear yoke button placket. The two white ones are other brands. The one on top has a little bit of a Christmas thing going on. The one on the bottom is a heavier weight floral flannel with a button placket in front and a ruffle around the hem.

green towel

More than 25 years ago, probably in about 1982, my significant other (now my husband) and I were separately trying to decide what to give each other for Valentine’s Day. I had bought us a pair of bath sheets from Lands’ End, spruce green for me and navy for him, to keep in his apartment.  I had his name monogrammed on the navy one and mine on the green one. I thought it was a pretty good gift.  I carried them from New York (where I lived) to Washington, DC (where he lived) to spend the weekend with him.

When the day arrived I told him to open his present first. He opened the package and saw the towels with our names embroidered. He didn’t seem all that pleased. He smiled nervously and said, “I didn’t know they monogrammed.”  I said, yes, aren’t they great? He said, “Go ahead and open yours.”

Inside my package were the exact same two bath sheets, one spruce green and one navy, but not monogrammed. We looked at each other and laughed until we couldn’t laugh any more.

This is the non-monogrammed green bath sheet he gave to me that day.

As you can imagine, it’s showing some mileage, with some pulled threads here and there. It’s still perfectly usable and I hope someone will be pleased to pick it up for a song at Goodwill.  Still, I kinda hate to see it go.


Day 70: Mysterious Ways

Welcome to Day 70 of the Deaccession Project! Three hundred fifty items and counting. Let’s go.

LW twinset

This is a twinset from Lands’ End, almost but not quite reversible. If the bold green side were on the outside I’d be keeping it. But no.

Aqua LL Bean sweater

This aqua sweater is a VERY soft blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex, and has 3/4 sleeves. I only wore it a few times. It’s just not long enough.

Lands End striped polo

This is a nice looking striped polo shirt from Lands’ End. It has 3/4 sleeves. the body is knitted but the collar and placket trim are woven. I have come to believe that this is a bad combination. The woven parts of these shirts get insanely wrinkly and NOBODY BUT NOBODY fucking wants to iron a polo shirt. Trust me on this.  Also, over the few years I’ve been laundering this shirt it has changed shape completely — it’s now too wide and too short.

black Merona ribknit sweater

This is a 3/4 sleeve ribknit cotton sweater from Merona (Target). It is a damn goodlooking sweater, and I never wore it. It’s clear that I won’t. It will be perfect for a Dress For Success client!

linen pants

OK, these pearl grey handkerchief Flax linen pants are a total mystery to me. I mean right up there with what really happened to Judge Crater or Jimmy Hoffa.

I don’t remember when or why or where I bought them. I certainly don’t remember ever wearing them. I would have been thinner when I bought them — that’s for sure — but in my whole adult life, even when they fit me, I’m not sure I ever felt thin enough to wear pearl grey linen pants. And yet I must have bought them. Go figure. Well, like my other wardrobe mistakes, these are going out the door.

I’ve been going through my closet, basically pulling out almost everything and making them earn their way back in. The good news is: tons of deaccessions remain. Stay tuned!


Day 69: Black and White and Pink and Blue

Cheers, gentle readers! Here we go with Day 69 of the Deaccession Project.

day 69 stack

I had a very important meeting yesterday and in the course of planning what to wear I found myself contemplating some very old dress shirts. Thus commenced today’s deaccessioning. The white one on top has tuxedo tucks down the front on either side of the placket, but is not 100% cotton. The blue one is just a cotton pinpoint shirt from Nordstrom. The third shirt down, white cotton pinpoint, has some yellowing around the collar (I’m sure it can be bleached) and came from Joseph A. Bank. All of these shirts are 15-20 years old. Some Dress for Success client will be able to get a lot of wear out of them. I have a few newer dress shirts, and a few is (are?) all I need.

The blue jeans that are next in the pile are perfectly nice blue jeans but I don’t really like the color — I prefer to wear darker colors on the lower half of my body so I can delude myself into thinking I look thinner. This is more of a chambray kind of color and I’ll never wear them, so I’ll send them over to the Portland Public Schools PTA for distribution to a high school girl who will look better in them than I would.

The pink sweater is a twin of the blue Lands’ End sweater I gave away on Day 53. Too long in the sleeves, too short in the body. Story of my damn life.


You know what? I’m taking the day off.

I’ve had a very long day and I’m taking the rest of the day off, gentle readers!

Back online with more deaccessioning tomorrow.


Day 68: Black and Blue and Peachy-Keen

It’s Day 68 of the Deaccession Project! I need to go to bed soon because I have a big day tomorrow, so let’s get going.

day 68 stack

From top to bottom:

The world’s greatest pleated black skirt. I just don’t even have words for how great this skirt was for so many years. It is a nice rayon crepe with a textured finish on the outside and a satin finish on the inside. It has a wide elastic waist and pleats all around. I wore the LIVING FUCK out of this skirt for so many years and as best I can tell, it was the most versatile skirt I ever owned. But I haven’t worn it for 14+ years, and someone else will get a lot of use out of it yet.

Next up is a soft blue polarfleece pullover from Lands’ End. I have too many polarfleece tops and need to cull the herd pretty dramatically. Best to do it now, at the very beginning of the cold season, to get them out of the house and onto people who really need them.

Next up: black pants that were too small when I bought them. Enough said.

The peachy colored thing is a v-necked cotton sweater from J. Jill (“clothes for rich hippies”). It’s boxy and a little on the short side, but I wore it quite a few times, and yet it is still very wearable. This one is going to the Portland Public Schools PTA.

On the bottom of the pile, three words: black moleskin leggings. WTF was I thinking? I really cannot fathom how these leggings came to belong to me. I have no explanation. Once they are out of my sight, hopefully, I can get past the crippling guilt and move on to the next homely sweater.


Day 67: Cozying Up

It’s Day 67 of the Deaccession Project and it’s getting cold out there, gentle readers! Time to focus on our warmest, coziest, most comforting clothes, and weed out the ones we don’t wear so that others, less fortunate than we are, can get some use out of them.

pink fleece

This is a very bright pink v-neck polarfleece pullover from LL Bean. I’ve worn it a fair amount over the years but it is still in pretty good shape. The thing I don’t like about it is that the inside surface of the fleece is not as nicely finished as the outer surface, and has become all pilled. But it’s still very warm and attractive, and I know that some Portland Public Schools student will find it cozy and comforting.

4 nightgowns

Here are four more of my flannel nightshirts and nightgowns. The plaid one on top might be the newest of this batch, maybe eight or nine years old. The next one down is a red Lanz that I got for Christmas probably 20+ years ago. Next down is a nice very heavyweight cream colored flannel nightgown with a square neckline.

The plaid one on the bottom is not just any old plaid flannel nightshirt — it is a CALVIN KLEIN plaid flannel nightshirt, bitches!  I liked the plaid very much, and it was a nice lighter weight flannel that was good for most of the year in a climate like Portland. But, as I’ve previously observed, I have switched gradually from nightshirts and nightgowns to pajamas over the years, and so I haven’t worn any of these for ages. I’m eager to get them into the hands of people who will wear them and be warmed by them. So out they go.


Day 66: Holding the Bag

Cheers from Day 66 of the Deaccession Project!  Let’s get it on.

aqua tee

I’ve been giving things away for more than two months now, and I’m enjoying it, but of course I have the occasional pang of nostalgia or doubt. So recently I’ve made a point of wearing a few of the items one last time before deaccessioning them, just to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

Case in point, this aqua colored tshirt. It’s identical to a number of shirts I’ve already given away because of that neckline from hell [TM] — in this case, a boat neckline that doesn’t lie flat in front, but curls over instead. So I should have been sure. But when I picked this one up to add it to the project, a tiny voice inside asked, “are you sure?” — so I decided to put it on and make sure. I put it on. It looked OK. Within ten minutes the neck was all curled over. I took it off, laundered it, and dropped it onto the pile.

bubble hem dress

I am not at all certain why I bought this dress. This is a black-and-cream dotted faux-wrap dress with a bubble hem. It’s cute and all, but not really me. Someone at Dress for Success will want it.

olive khaki skirt

This is an olive green khaki skirt I bought about 15 years ago from LL Bean, and never wore. I think it will be great for someone in Dress for Success.

white knit shirt

Here’s a solid white version of the same knit shirt I have given away in several other colors, like the red and white one I gave away on Day 11. Shrunk up over the years and now will not stay tucked into ANYTHING!

The alert among you will be looking for a bag now. And you will not be disappointed.


Here’s another sample sale special. It is a squarish-shaped duffel bag with semi-rigid sides, fitted on the inside with a number of compartments. It was built to serve as a first aid / medical kit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I think I paid $10 for it at my last Olympics sample sale. I thought it was cool, and maybe usable as a picnic bag, but I never did use it, and now it falls into the category of gratuitous Swooshing, which I am determined to purge from my house. So this one will go to Goodwill, and hopefully someone will find it useful, which is more than I ever did.


Day 65: Totally Belted

Greetings gentle readers! I’m happy to say that I’m posting tonight from my own home, and even though that was a great hotel, I’m glad to be back.

5 belts

Here are five more aftermarket belts, dating back to the days when I wore dresses to work. The turquoise one on the left has some Native American themed designs embossed on it, and a big silver tip. The multicolored one next to it went really well with an Anne Klein dress I owned 20 years ago. The two black ones can pretty basic, but one of them is plain smooth leather and the other one is suede with occasional golden metallic bits. The last one is more interesting. It is a double-sided (red/black) cummerbund style belt, wider in front, with the buckle worn in the back. It came from Lands’ End about 25 years ago and looked great with tailored skirts and blouses.

I remember those!


Day 64: Business / Casual

Hello again from beautiful Fort Lauderdale! I slept until 9 am today, which was awesome, so tonight I am a little less sleep-deprived and tipsy than last night. Having said that, I did have about four or five glasses of wine at dinner, and tomorrow I have to get up and fly back to Portland, where I hear it is cold and wet, so let’s get this show on the road.

black EB sweater

Eddie Bauer used to have a sub-brand of business clothing called “All Week Long,” at least for women. It was great stuff and this is one piece of it. It is a doubleknit cotton tunic sweater with a one-button placket at the jewel neck. It’s still in really nice shape but I haven’t worn it in 14 or 15 years.

white tee

This is a white tshirt I think I bought at Hecht’s in Washington when I lived there, so that’s 14 or 15 years at least. I’m paring down my multiples of basic things like white and black tees, and I have others I like better.

black skirt

THIS was my favorite black skirt for YEARS. So many years. It is a nice weight of rayon crepe, which has a gorgeous drape, and it has my all-time favorite closure system for a skirt, which is to say a waistband that double-buttons on the left or right hand side of the front, with a pocket built in under the buttons and another built in on the other side. I wore the absolute living FUCK out of this skirt, but it still looks pretty good, and someone at Dress For Success will find it very versatile.

grey cardigan

This is an oxford grey wool blend long cardigan with one covered button in front. This is another item I wore all the time for many years. It is warm, comfortable, professional looking, and versatile, and I haven’t put it on in at least 15 years. My favorite outfit involving this sweater was to wear it with a tomato red sprigged turtleneck and a black/white tiny houndstooth pleated skirt — it sounds radical but it looked great. Still, I haven’t worn that outfit in 20 years or more!

This will be another fine item for Dress For Success.

jjill sweater

This is an ice-blue and white marled cotton blend sweater from J. Jill, “clothes for rich hippies.”

I would describe it as very comfortable but boxy and too short. I haven’t worn it in at least five years, and I think this particular item is better suited for donation to the Portland Public Schools PTA. I’m enjoying imagining the chubby high school girls who are going to inherit so many of my clothes. I really hope they will enjoy wearing them as much as I am enjoying imagining them wearing them!


Day 63: Orange You Sorry

Greetings from Ft. Lauderdale! I flew overnight to get here for meetings that begin on Friday morning, and arrived at the hotel at about 11:30 am, long before check-in time at 3. I threw myself on the mercy of the nice woman at the reception desk and she upgraded me to an oceanfront room with a killer view.


Having said that, I am massively sleep deprived, could not nap this afternoon to save my life, then went out for Cuban food and got totally blotto on sangria, so let’s make this short.

limited edition

Great tshirt, gratuitous Swooshing. Out.

denim shirt

Denim shirt I bought from Sierra Trading Post with neck label cut out. But you can still tell it’s from Lands’ End. I have enough denim shirts.

white shell

White cotton shell from Nordstrom, easily 16 or 17 years old and unworn by me at least 10 years of that time.


Elderly cotton sweater, now too short.

I can’t put anything over on you, peeps. You are waiting for the orange. i promised you orange and by God you shall have it.

orange tee

Orange tshirt, Liz Claiborne. I bought this about ten or eleven years ago when I had jury duty downtown. I loved being able to walk around downtown during my lunch hour — it’s the thing I missed most when I worked out at Nike. I bought a black one too. The jury is still out on that one.

I can hardly keep my eyelids open. Goodnight, gentle readers!


Day 62: Cougar Town

Hey there, gentle readers! I’m hauling ass to the airport tonight to catch a redeye, so this will be a short one.

purple long underwear

Those of you who know me know that I assiduously avoid camping and most other outdoor pursuits that are not conducted in the midst of a SMSA of at least one million people. Why, then, you might ask, do I own not one but two pairs of purple Duofold long underwear bottoms? OK, one shiny, one matte; and yet, these are UNDERWEAR — by definition, not intended to be viewed by others. WTF? I do not know. In defense of these items I will say that they are about as good looking as this kind of thing can be, and yet.

green C&W polo

By now you know I’m a sucker for anything bright green. Behold.

This is a very old shirt. The brand is “Clifford and Wills,” which used to be a kind of preppy catalog and later was sold to Spiegel. I have no idea whether it exists today or not, but I’m guessing not, because when I Googled it the first thing that came up was the sale of the brand to Spiegel from J. Crew in 1999.  It’s still a nice shirt but I’d estimate that it would be at least 15 or 20 years since I wore it.

gauze top

This is a gauze batiked pullover top that I bought about 20 years ago, and haven’t worn in at least 14.

Now I know you can count, gentle readers, and so you’ve undoubtedly calculated that we’re already up to four items today, and you’re also wondering WTF that “Cougar Town” title was about. Well, here you go.

leopard hoodie

OK, in fairness, those are leopard spots, not cougar, but I thought you’d appreciate it anyway. This is a hoodie I bought from Old Navy a few years ago — couldn’t say how long exactly. I thought it was cute. It is cute. But I’ll never wear it. Some student in the Portland Public Schools will love it. At least I hope so.

Ciao for now, peeps! I’m off to the airport. I’ll be coming to you tomorrow from beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.