T-shirt Purge

This past weekend, I cleared 7 old shirts out of my closet. What’s momentous about getting rid of these particular shirts is that they fall into two categories which I have a hard time purging: newish/practical, and old/sentimental. (“Newish” means “purchased within the last 3-4 years.”)

You know how putting on your favorite shirt makes you feel? How you look in the mirror and think how good you look and step out the door with confidence? These shirts were the opposite. When I put them on, I thought about how wrong they looked, how they were too short or too baggy. I looked in the mirror and felt old and dumpy.

Maybe most people would’ve gotten rid of shirts like these long ago, but I have that little voice in my head that tells me I mustn’t get rid of anything practical. For instance, one of these shirts was a plain red t-shirt. I remember wearing it about 3 years ago and feeling great about how I looked. But now it has one of those mysterious stains on the front (that’s the shirt itself in the picture on that post). Also, it is kind of short and boxy, which I think makes it look dated.

“But it’s a plain red t-shirt! It goes with so many things! It’s so practical, you can’t get rid of it!” says the little voice in my head.

I am learning to silence that little voice by reminding myself that there is no reason for me to walk around feeling ugly. I am not poor enough that I will miss that shirt, and not having it around taking up space and making me feel guilty for owning clothes I don’t even wear anymore will make me feel better every time I open the closet door.

The sentimental shirts were maybe a little easier to get rid of. With the passing of time, my definition of what’s worth keeping changes. I no longer felt so attached to my SF Giants jersey or my St. Philip’s Cathedral polo shirt. I have good memories of going to Giants games with my sister and the friends I made at St. Philip’s, but I don’t need the shirts in order to hold on to those memories.

So seven shirts were put in a box and taken to the Salvation Army, never to be seen again. Unless, of course, I happen to come across one while shopping.

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  1. Dan says:

    I think finding a way to relinquish nostalgia tees is a sign of maturity… one that is still far off for me.
    Last week a dog jumped up on me, ripping a hole in the front of a t-shirt…. and yet I keep it still.

  2. Oh, I’m not all that mature yet: I still have my “Zaz!” t-shirt, which I only wore once before I accidentally cut a hole in it with scissors. I actually stitched the hole back together, Frankenstein-style, but have only worn the shirt maybe twice in the 3 years since.

    There’s also the large plastic bin full of nostalgia tees in the attic. Those are the ones either too weird or too delicate to actually wear (e.g. high school graduation, autographed SCC concert shirt). Others, like my tie-dye Jimmy Buffet tee and my Creature Crew tee (from when I worked at the Six Flags haunted house) are in my secondary closet because they do get worn occasionally.

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