Are you a Clotheshorse?

When I was a teenager, my parents used to complain that I was a "clotheshorse".  I always thought it was a funny word.  I mean, horses don't wear clothes, right?  Well, apparently some do, but probably not of their own choosing.  I haven't heard that term used in a while, so I decided to check it out. 

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According to Wikipedia:

"Used figuratively, the single-word term "clotheshorse" describes men and women who are so passionate about clothes that they maintain unusually large wardrobes of the latest, most stylish clothes; will never willingly appear in public in unstylish or outdated clothes; and will often change into many different stylish outfits during a single day."

After reading through my last post about goals for the New Year, I realized that I was "protesting too much" when it came to cleaning out my closet.  Kind of like "Who me?  I'm not a clotheshorse!"

I was soooo in denial!!!  So, the thing that I said that I was NOT going to do, was the thing that I did first.  I cleaned out my closet, jewelry boxes, underwear and sock drawers. 

I do not have a big closet.  This is fact that I curse everyday.   But, it is what it is, and perhaps it's a good thing.  I have to admit that I'm a little embarrassed to post these photos.  But a picture is worth 1000 words.  The closet is an L shape, so I have to take two pictures to show you the whole thing.  Here are the BEFORE shots:

I have read about Project 333, where you choose 33 items and box up everything else, and then work with those 33 items for 3 months.  Very catchy, and a good starting point.  But the creator of Project 333 very clearly says that you should adapt for your own lifestyle.

I started to think about my own lifestyle, and I figure that I change my clothes no less than 4 times in one day.  Yup- that fits the clotheshorse definition!

First, a workout outfit for the gym. (shirt, pants, jacket, coat- 4 items)

Second, a nice outfit for work.  I work at an elementary school, where the staff dresses nicely, but not businessy. (skirt or dress, scarf or necklace, top, sweater, coat- 3-4 items)

Third, come home and change into something comfy.  In winter that would usually be leggings, a shirt and a sweater.  In Illinois, there are not many times in the winter where just one top will do.  It's just too cold!  We're predicted to get down to -9 degrees Fahrenheit this week!  (leggings, shirt, sweater- 3 items)

Fourth, pajamas and robe.  (3 items)

So, I really DO wear a lot of clothes.  Up 14 pieces every day in the winter!  33 items would just cover me for 3 days, not even! 

To be fair, Project 333 says not to count workout clothes, pajamas or loungewear.  But since those things count for 3/4 of what I wear, I had to pare them down equally.  I got rid of several pairs of mismatched pajamas, years old workout wear, and all of the matchless socks that I've been holding onto, hoping to someday find their mates.

Project 333 does say to count accessories though.  I have never, ever sorted through my jewelry.  I just kept buying more jewelry boxes to put it in, lol!  I emptied out two jewelry boxes, and fit everything into one jewelry armoire.  I got a fantastic hanging organizer from Hancock fabrics, that I am using to hang all of the jewelry that I might wear with my winter wardobe.  Spring, summer and fall jewelry is all in the armoire.

I picked out 10 scarves that go with the winter colors, and am hanging them above, so that I won't forget them.  Before, they were in another closet.  This is a scarf hanger that I got from Ebay. 

So, I narrowed it down to about 60 items of clothing, 12 necklaces, 10 watches/bracelets, 10 scarves, 7 pairs of boot/shoes.  99 items.  Alright, it's not even close to 33, but for an admitted clothes horse, that's pretty good.  I reduced it by about two-thirds. 

So, here are my after shots.  See how much more room there is between the hangers? 
I can actually feel them breathing.  I think my clothes were starting to be claustrophobic. And only 10 garments are RTW purchases.  Everything is else is me-made.  The ones that aren't me-made are sweaters. 

I realize that this is a first world problem if there every was one, but this is a little scary!  I hope that this won't feel like dieting where you get to feel deprived and fall off the wagon.  Right now, it feels very refreshing, very liberating!  I can see so many possibilities that were hidden by too much stuff before. 

Here's another cool thing:  a boot rack, so that your tall boots don't just flop around all over the floor. 

I took some things to Goodwill, some to a resale shop, but the things that I wasn't 100% ready to let go of are just being boxed up and moved to a spare bedroom, so I can still access them if I need to.  I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic attack, "OMG!  What have I done?  Nooooo!!!".   "It's all okay, calm down, they are still here, just go back to sleep."

I'm going to try to be rather scientific about this and really pay attention to what I end up using and what I don't.  I probably should be keeping some sort of checklist inside the closet.  Maybe while my husband is out shoveling our 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow morning. "Sorry honey, I can't help you today.  Gotta work on that checklist!"  

I am still going to keep sewing, and this project has definitely told me what I don't need to sew.

How about you? Have you ever heard the word "clotheshorse"  Do you fit the definition?



  1. My parents used to call me that when I was a teenager too! :) I don't really feel like a clotheshorse at this point in my life. I purged some recently and will go through summery things when the weather warms up. I'm sure there are still things I could get rid of but I'm not ready to part with them yet. My mom told me about a trick to see what you're wearing. Put all your hangers backwards in your closet and when you wear the garment turn the hanger around. Interesting thought, huh? Your closet looks great!

    1. Good to know that your parents used the word too. My husband had never heard of it, and he was raised in the southwest, so I thought it might be a regional thing. I'm going to try your mother's trick. Sounds much easier than the checklist!

  2. Maybe I've become a clothes horse in the last few years! :)

    I keep saying I'm going to sort my closet. Through the last two "purges" I think I got rid of like 3 things each time. Womp womp.

    Maybe I need to take the "out of sight, out of mind" approach to clear up some space.

    I have two closets. Ok 3 kinda. No one uses entry way closet but me and I keep coats and jackets there and there are easily a dozen.


    1. But you need a variety of coats in Minnesota! I remember your post on the coats for each level of freezing. You're going to need the "why do I live here" level coat this week!

    2. Ann WHY DO I LIVE HERE?!?! hahahaha!

      I'm looking outside my office window and thinking NOT so nice words!!

  3. I am planning a similar sort through myself. The summer clothes have gone up to the loft to keep out of the way and leave room for the all season and autumn winter stuff.

    1. Your amazing industriousness was a primary motivator for me to do this, Ruthie!

  4. Clotheshorse - that thing you hang your clothes on inside to dry. that is what we call a clotheshorse. Here in Australia we generally hang our clothes outside to dry. In winter it can take a while so you bring them inside and dry them on the clotheshorse - I just googled it and got pictures of what i am referring to. And to change the subject, today I have on a skirt that I made about 10 years ago that had recently gone into the charity bag but I rescued at the last moment. Glad I did!

    1. You know, that kind of makes sense. It has four legs, and if you drape clothes over it to dry, it would look a little like a horse with a saddle. Most everyone here has a clothes dryer, so we don't see those too often, and the word is disappearing from our vernacular. I suppose in transferring the term to a human, it would imply that someone wears enough clothes that they could be the drying rack.
      Happy to hear that your skirt is still being enjoyed!

  5. I cant do it! Im a whim dresser- sometimes a dress I havent worn in 3 years is just the thing I crave- nothing leaves the closet!!!

  6. You have such creative and gorgeous dresses, that I wouldn't part with any of those dresses either if I were you! It's the boring black pants, grey pants, white shirts, etc, that were easy targets for removing because I had multiples of them.


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