Friday, June 4, 2010

purging the clothing from my orthodox jewish life...

One of my favorite things about big moves is the chance to go through all your stuff, figure out what you want to get rid of, and then throwing out/donating all that stuff.

My favorite thing is the clothes. The past 2 days I've been going through all my clothes and separating it into 3 piles- donate, trash (for stuff horribly stained/torn) and keep. The donate pile is almost as big as the keep pile at this point.

When I first moved away to grad school I got rid of 22 years worth of junk/clothes that had been sitting around in a closet in my parent's house. During that move, 6 years ago, I was still in a pretty ambivalent place religious-wise. I was not keeping kosher/shabbas at all at that point, but was still occasionally attending some orthodox jewish events, like Friday night shabbas meals/onegs at my parent's shul. And I was moving from my parent's house, so I couldn't exactly just chuck out all my skirts without my parents being all weird about it. So I moved over a whole bunch of skirts. And suits. Skirt-suits to be exact. The type you wear to shul and not anywhere else.

When I teach I don't wear a suit (I usually wear a blazer and/or a nice shirt with some fancy pants). I have one nice pants suit for job interviews (even though I hope to never go on any of those again) and other fancier business-type occasions. I have my wedding dress to wear to fancier non-jewish occasions (one of the reasons I didn't get a traditional white poofy dress- so that I can wear it again!).

The only time I NEED to wear a skirt at all is at orthodox jewish events. The orthodox jewish events I go to nowadays are all weddings and funerals. At weddings over the past few years I've always worn the same blue skirt. At funerals I have a nice long black skirt.

Meanwhile I moved all these skirt-suits down here to grad school, and they've been sitting in the back of my closet the entire time I've been here, and I haven't worn them once. So those are all getting donated. Also going are nearly all of my skirts- lots of gothicy type skirts that I wore in high school when I was kinda goth-ish (as much as you can be in a high school that doesn't allow you to wear make up). Some hippie skirts that I don't wear anymore. And lots of a few-inches-below-the-knee and ankle-length skirts. Those are almost all black for some reason, so I basically have around 15 nearly-identical skirts. I almost wish I had some orthodox jewish friends in this city so that I could give them to someone who could use all this stuff.

The high heeled shoes I wore to shul with my skirt suits...those are also all going. I never wear heels at all nowadays, and if I do want to I think the one pair of nice black heels that I'm keeping and my navy blue heels (left over from my wedding) are enough for the amount of times I need to wear them (0-2x/year)

But yeah. This feels good. Especially getting rid of all those's been like weird baggage from my religious days taking up space in my closet. Before now I felt like I shouldn't get rid of them because they were expensive suits (although it was my parents who paid for them), so they have just sat in my closet, a reminder of my former life every time I got my clothes. And the skirts just sat there because I told myself that I might need to wear one at some point, and also I've been just too busy/lazy to go through them. But with the move, I finally have the excuse (and motivation) I need to donate it all.

It'll be really nice to not have that stuff around anymore.


  1. It is a good feeling. I purged my closet a couple of years ago. When I dropped the stuff off at a local women's shelter, the volunteer looked at all of the long skirts and asked "Did you used to be a nun?"

  2. Are you sure you don't want to keep just one suit? Sometimes the south is dressier than the northeast. But if it's painful, I say chuck 'em.

  3. Chaimsmom- I live in a heavily Muslim area (and the thrift store is right next to a huge mosque) so I bet the women there are going to end up buying all my long skirts. :)

    Katrina- I have a suit..a nice formal pants suit :) I think it would actually look a little odd for someone of my generation to be wearing skirts suits like the ones I had...I never see women my age in skirt suits (unless they are OJ of course)

    And my job is definitely not stuffier- during my interview around 75% of the profs from my new department were wearing jeans. :)

    Just dropped everything off at the thrift store, yay!! Soo much room in my closet, and I actually wear everything that's in my closet for the first time in years! And soon I'll have a closet like 3 times as big at my new house! (although B's clothes will go in there too...we will finally have our clothes in the same closet like a real married couple!) :)

  4. I'd actually love some of those skirt suits if you're just giving them away! I'd pay you for shipping! Email me at

  5. lol balebusta. And i'll take the black skirts :). You can never have enough of them! i'll also paypal you shipping if they are in good condition ;).

  6. I have summer and winter black funeral dresses. Other than that, I never wear anything that has a skirt on it. I'm going to try to sell some old skirts at a yard sale. I only wear pants and capris now. Used to wear shorts, but the world no longer needs to see my thighs, so I think I'll try to sell the shorts I have left at the yard sale, too.
    Good riddance to bad leftover past-life rubbish!
    Don't know where you're going to be living in the south, but women your age do wear dresses and skirts there, especially in the summer, so you may want to buy some new things when you see what the styles are like there.

  7. even if i wore a skirt in the south there's no way it would be these businessy type skirts. But I hate wearing skirts..mostly wear pants or in the summer capri's/long shorts.

    Anyways sorry ladies, I already donated everything on Friday..


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