82 pairs of underwear.

a couple months ago, my mom purchased multiple copies of a book she had read. this is a normal thing for her. i never make it home without adding some form of self-improvement, business, or spirituality book to my suitcase. usually, my siblings and i roll our eyes. yes mom, another book that touched you in some way. yes mom, we promise to read it. no mom, we never read it.

this time i actual did read it. and this time it actually touched me too.

more or less. by jeff shinabarger.

the book takes a step back from our lives full of abundance and asks the question, what is actually enough? enough time. enough money. enough clothing. enough friends. enough love. what is our own personal definition of enough?

i returned home to portland on july 1 after being on the road for seven months. i returned home to my old house. it is not my house anymore, but it is for the next two months. luckily, my old roomie is in india all summer so i subletted his room. it is in the basement next to all my stuff. a whole corner filled with boxes and bags full of my stuff. stuff that has sat there for seven months without being touched.

what is enough?

i decided to take my moment of location stability to evaluate this question and simplify the crazy amount of stuff sitting before me in the basement. daunting me with its presence.

there is always an easy place to start with me when it comes to abundance…the closet. when i originally packed up my chevy cavalier and drove across the country, from michigan to oregon, most of the car was filled with my clothing.

so that is where this journey is going to begin. right in the middle of the biggest pile of clothes i have ever seen in my life.

IMG_3385 IMG_3386

i know. it is embarrassing. it is crazy how things accumulate without you realizing it. most of these clothes have been in my closet for years! some even since high school! yikes.

but, unfortunately or fortunately, i am a sentimentalist. give me the smallest material thing, and i will attach the biggest meaning to it possible. clothing falls directly into this category. ohhh, not that t-shirt from college. ohhh, don’t get rid of that beautiful blue dress i wore once on valentine’s day five years ago. you know exactly what i am talking about, and if you don’t, please teach me your ways.

in order to get some accountability and put some startling numbers on paper. i decided to count everything. step one…sort.


tonight i took the first steps towards emptying some of this mess of fabric and memories, and began the count. i only conquered tops and underwear before i was completely drained. please be loving with your harsh judgments…

sweaters: 37
cardigans: 7
long sleeve: 23
dressy long sleeve: 27
short sleeve: 21
nice t-shirts: 19
t-shirts: 58
tanktops: 26
workout tops: 19
hoodies: 18
underwear: 82

that is 255 tops. 255 TOPS! holy shit. how do i have 255 tops? this number is actually low too because i am sure there are currently 10 more in my laundry basket. and 82 PAIRS OF UNDERWEAR! what! although, it is amazing to think that i could go almost three months without doing laundry and still wear clean underwear everyday. i blame this number on the fact that i get a “free panty” gift card in the mail from victoria’s secret every month. yes, i am already passing blame elsewhere. deal with it.

i put on this week’s episode of so you think you can dance and attempted to lose my emotional attachment. get real. what tops have you actually worn in the past year. what tops have you never worn? (oh yes, there were a couple with tags.)

i thought i was totally ready to be ruthless with my wardrobe. and yet, in my first attempt i only added the following to the giveaway pile:

sweaters: 11
cardigans: 1
long sleeve: 9
dressy long sleeve: 10
short sleeve: 7
nice t-shirts: 7
t-shirts: 30
tanktops: 7
workout tops: 4
hoodies: 7
underwear: 12

93 tops. 255-93=162. I STILL HAVE 162 TOPS! what the heck? i am going to need some assistance in this task i think. please share your advice and encouragement and harassment. i will benefit from it all. despite only getting rid of about 1/3 of my tops, i did feel like i made some big breakthroughs tonight, including parting ways with this never-been-worn t-shirt:


i am sure jewel will understand what i’m trying to do here.

next, onto bottoms. wish me luck…


7 thoughts on “82 pairs of underwear.

  1. Great start Sara Let’s see, last count which was while you were in high school, I counted that you had 90+ bottoms. Decided to take an inventory of your closet one day but soon gave up. Counting all the rest of your wardrobe was too daunting for me at that point so I gave up after that. Glad you are moving forward though Just think of all those women walking around actually putting use to these wonderful treasures, wearing them and loving them too. Charity, it is where love begins

  2. oooooh,, yes!! i am an anachronism in this consumer age. i don’t get the concept. i don’t understand how people can amass stuff like this – the sad part is that you are not alone!! to me it comes down to one word: waste! we waste so much! we waste time, water, clothes, money, words, ad infinitum… sometimes i ignore it, sometimes i complain, sometimes i rage at it but it is a losing battle: i want to be a hermit and move to walden pond…. (i have eleven pair of underwear, by actual count…) send an update on your success…

  3. A formula I try to stick with is this: every time I purchase 1 item, 1 item must be removed. If you purchase a panty, then a panty must be tossed. Most times it works…plus, when you’re shopping, you can already plan on the item that you are going to discard. Good LucK Sara.

  4. Lol. Best of luck with all them there clothes! I recognize some, but holy smokes! The numbers are astronomical… Take care and enjoy your world, wherever it may be.

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