Things I should’ve never given away

I’ll confess something here and now. Anytime I see one of those “guides to cleaning out your closet,” I completely ignore it. I’ve found that over the last few years, any time I follow those, it gets me into trouble. I end up giving away things that a few years down the line, I really, really, REALLY wish I hadn’t!

There are two items that I’ve been longing for lately, and both of them were trousers: one, a pair of dressy white linen; the other, straight legged in the palest pink color (that looked almost identical to the ones above, minus the sheen). The fantastic thing about both pants is they could be dressed up or down. I don’t really know why I gave them away. I think it might’ve been because the waist was higher, and I convinced myself this would never come back in style?? Either way, big mistake. HUGE.

Unsurprisingly, they were both from J.Crew. I haven’t found anything exactly similar, though these pink pants have a similar shape (if not a more saturated color and a higher price tag), and these white linen pants have the same easy, casual look. I do still have another pair of white linen pants, but they’re far less dressy — they’re the type of linen that no matter what, they get super wrinkly.

What have you given away that you wish you could get back?

{Image Credits: Vogue, “Five Days Five Looks, One Girl: Cynthia Smith”, photographed by Marko MacPherson; Nordstrom’s blog The Thread}


Leave a Comment


  1. 3.5.12
    Kecia said:

    Ugh! That’s the worst! I tend to more conscious about what I get rid of too. I’m notorious for having something for years and, literally, as soon as I get rid of it I need/want it!

  2. 3.5.12

    Oh I hate this feeling! I tend to store pieces from my favorite brands in a suitcase, that way they aren’t filling up my closet. I can’t bare to throw away items that I know won’t really go out of style, but are not my favorites. The Salvation Army has claimed way too many favorites of mine that now, looking back, I so wish I had!

  3. 3.5.12

    Oh this list is sadly too long…but a couple of things:

    – Orange Paul & Joe coat (what was I thinking!)
    – Denim jacket – I’ve probably bought and given away 3…
    – A pair of nautical trousers

    And don’t even get me started on shoes…(sob)

  4. 3.5.12

    I hate that! I gained some weight a few years back, then lost it so I have no idea of what I gave away would fit anymore or not. I’ve decided to tell myself it wouldn’t to make me feel better.

    I have issues really cleaning out my closet so this post makes me feel better that I should ignore those articles!

  5. 3.5.12
    Rae Veda said:

    I’m the same way! I’m actually getting ready to clean out my closet this week. Eeek! xo, rv

  6. 3.5.12
    Nicole said:

    I so know what you mean! I’ve only had it happen once with my really nice clothes, but I always find I end up throwing out way too many pieces of workout wear!

    Such a refreshing post!

  7. 3.5.12

    Hmm…I honestly can’t think of anything I’ve longed for once giving it away. There are many things I’ve lost that I’d give an arm and a leg to get back, but I guess I only give away the things that are truly terrible in my closet!

  8. 3.5.12

    I actually sell some of my old things (the ones that are in good condition) on ebay which definitely helps me regret losing them a little less. More funds to put towards new stuff!

  9. 3.5.12
    Neda said:

    I hate deciding what to throw away and what to keep…it’s so stressful to me. I usually throw it out if I haven’t used or worn something in over a year and if it wasn’t originally expensive.

  10. 3.5.12
    Anna H said:

    I work at the limited and we’ve got a pair of pink pants just like that! Except not shiny and like a dusty rose color. They’re fantastic.

  11. 3.5.12

    Sad. I’m a compulsive giver awayer and yes I regret a lot of it!

  12. 3.5.12
    viv said:

    I HATE when that happens! And it always follows with the fact that you can’t find anything similar. Ugh!

  13. 3.5.12
    Libby said:

    oh I totally feel ya on this situation! it is a slippery slope– become a pack rat or regret?!

  14. 3.5.12

    Absolutely hate when this happens. I started a storage box that I keep way way up high, but if I’m having second thoughts about something, I put it there… it helps me to not get rid of things prematurely. I had almost sold a Marc Jacobs polka dot dress, but rescued it to my closet when polka dots came back this season!

  15. 3.5.12

    I keep loads of things. When people ask me about a particular piece, I will usually say that it’s from high school!
    My closet clean-out strategy that has worked very well for me is this: Anything that I haven’t worn in the last year gets put into a rubbermaid bin and goes into storage. If I traipse through storage within the next year after a particular piece, it gets another year in the closet, if not, it goes to charity.
    This way even seasonal items get a chance.

  16. 3.5.12
    Michelle said:

    I hate when I do that and inevitably pine over things I accidentally gave away!

  17. 3.5.12
    Kate said:

    Oh gosh…I have very mixed feeling about this because part of my job is helping people clean out and organize their closets. If I see even a hint of hesitation I suggest they keep the item in question and just put it away somewhere that’s out of the way but they can still find it if they want to wear it. I myself have fallen victim to my compulsiveness and gotten rid of things that I later miss. Oy!

    <3 Kate

  18. 3.5.12
    Giulia said:

    Even if I held on to a couple of things I miss these days they would not longer fit me after two babies – I might be the same weight, but not the same shape.
    I miss several pairs of shoes that I gave away – heel too chunky, toe to pointy or not pointy enough – sighhh.

  19. 3.5.12
    Alexa said:

    This is THE worst feeling! I had this gorgeous bright pink sweater that I thought…ah NEVER will I want this again. Then boom. Wish it was here. Sigh…

  20. 3.5.12
    Kirby said:

    I agree! I gave away a neon yellow silk sleeveless blouse from J. Crew and now I would die to have it back!


  21. 3.5.12

    I am NOTORIOUS for this!!! I always forget about keeping things for my someday daughter(s), too. There are several beautiful pieces I’ve given away, just because I don’t have an excuse to wear them anymore….I treasure lots of those pieces that my mom has held onto for me.

  22. 3.5.12
    Jess said:

    I agree—that’s one of the very worst feelings. I actually love cleaning out my closet and I rarely regret giving away clothing or shoes. In fact, I really need to do a big spring cleanout soon! But I actually regret throwing away my notebook from my favorite college class. Sometimes decluttering gets a little out of control and you throw EVERYthing out. I would have loved to have passed that notebook onto a mentee or a future child some day, but stupidly tossed it during a big overhaul. I think about that notebook often. :(

  23. 3.5.12
    alyson said:

    awww, that stinks. especially with white linen because that can be impossible to find. i saw a pair of Old Navy ones actually however need to check if they’re too sheer… the major downfall is most of my white linen finds! I swear I have items I’ve regretted giving away yet I can’t remember… I’ve probably blocked the memory!

  24. 3.5.12

    I love those white pants. I would love some like that. I don’t think I regret many giveaways because I think I forget about them! I usually follow the “I haven’t worn this in a year rule”… but that is hard because you think “well, maybe I’ll wear it again?”


  25. 3.5.12
    Anna said:

    This is so hard for me to say. I’m such a sentimental type of girl. I still own my two prom dresses from high school. I do regret giving away a pair of faux leather pants when I was 16.

  26. 3.5.12

    Ugh, SO MUCH. Mainly purses and scarves and jewelry. I can completely relate. Although I still have my white linen pants.

  27. 3.5.12
    lexi said:

    I am utterly incapable of giving anything away – even the things that haven’t fit in a decade, the things that should never ever be worn, and the things just don’t need … at all. I still hoard them all!
    ♡ Lexi
    FASHION: Glitter & Pearls
    WEDDINGS: Glitter Weddings

  28. 3.5.12
    Emily said:

    I’ve done that! My closet is currently whittled down to just about nothing, and I fully blame the “trend” that is those articles about cleaning out your closet. While a bit of purging can be good, I’d rather put a box in the garage and know that I can go back to it at anytime. :)

  29. 3.6.12
    Kelly said:

    You’ve read my mind… whenever I read closet-cleaning books or articles I go all in, and then regret it for a long time afterwards. The other problem I’ve noticed? I will forget that I gave something away, look for it for hours, and then get really upset and cranky that it’s in someone else’s closet! I worked at J Crew for 5 years, so my entire wardrobe is from there. I can’t tell you how many blazers, skirts, tops, etc. I’ve given away and regretted it. More recently, I’m regretting giving away TWO pairs of boyfriend jeans…

  30. 3.7.12

    so funny, i was just having this exact conversation with my girlfriends like 2 months ago.

    i have sold so many things on ebay that i wish i hadn’t. the best bet is to put anything you don’t feel like wearing anymore in the back of your closet because you’re going to want it again within 2-3 years.


  31. 3.7.12
    Theresa said:

    Ugh, I can so relate to this post. I gave away two wide leg washed linen trousers, one black and one sky blue, that I would love to have back right now. I’m kicking myself!