Carpe Diem: Hem The Darn Pants


I was the kid who took good care of her stuff.

In fact, much of it was in immaculate condition–even years later when I found it at the back of my closet. I was a hoarder collector, not a user, of all things: candy, toys, cat mugs…

But the candy got hard, I grew out of the toys, and the cat mugs, well, let’s not talk about those.

I’m Saving Them

I always felt compelled to save things, but for what I never knew. Later, maybe. Or maybe for a more important day or a special event.

But I grew out of the Lite Brite papers and the cute, smelly erasers before I ever used them, and my crayons were still sharp when I moved on to markers. What a waste!

Even now, I save clothes and shoes for special occasions that will probably never come. Instead of enjoying them, they sit in my closet for someday.

Then they go out of style, or my taste or body changes, and they wind up in the donation bin with their tags still attached.

As Good As New

Even the items I actually use sometimes don’t really seem like they’re mine, but rather that they’re borrowed.

As a vertically challenged person, Every. Single. Pair. of pants is too long for me. So I roll the hems under, pin them up, roll the waist, wear higher heels, or just let them drag on the ground.


Is it laziness? Or is it to keep them in their original state so that someone else can use them when I no longer need them? I guess I’m still saving them for later, but now it’s someone else’s later.

Mine, All Mine!

So I finally hemmed the darn pants–four pairs of them–just last week (to flip-flop length, because let’s face it, those heels are not gonna happen). And it feels glorious!

I don’t trip over them and don’t have to triple check to see if both legs are rolled under to the same length. They feel more comfortable, and I love wearing them now.

I can’t tell you why it took me so long to pull out the scissors and thread*, but I can guarantee that my next pair of pants will be hemmed the moment it enters my door.

Life is short, so Carpe Diem!

A Grown-up Perspective

Children don’t have much control over their surroundings or their belongings. They’re subject to the whims of adults, so in some ways hoarding collecting makes sense.

As an adult, though, I get to make my own choices.

One choice has been to declutter many nonessential items, which makes it easier to focus on the most useful, most loved items that remain. With a smaller number of belongings, I use each one more often and for more purposes. Why not make it even more useful and lovable by customizing it?

Plus, if I use things up or wear them out, Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist can help me find a replacement. This isn’t permission to waste and destroy perfectly good items willy-nilly, but to make them truly yours so you can and will use them up and wear them out.

What will you do today to make your belongings more lovable to YOU?

*Use this tutorial to keep the original distressed hem on your jeans.

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Comments 16

  1. This is a really interesting post. I’ve been racking my brain thinking about what I can better utilize in life. The only thing that I can think of is being more proactive with my time off to go visit places and seize the day 🙂 I figure while we have the health why not travel and have a bit more fun. So after typing this up, I’m going to look up trips to Toronto because I’ve never been and have always wanted to go 🙂

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  2. Love this Julie (and I have the opposite problem with pants – always too short, so no hems for me!) We are looking to downsize into a house 1/3 smaller than our current house. We need to get a real handle on what items we need to “love” more. We must have 40 coffee mugs – but we use about 5 or 6. We can’t store the other 30+ at the new house. I think I am going to go through them soon – and donate some of the nice ones to our school “festivus” collection. Others will have to go. We’ll see….

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      Are the 5 or 6 that you use your favorites, or do you save the good ones for company? Downsizing is such a great incentive to keep only the ones you love, and it’s wonderful that your school will benefit. I’m sure you’re a legend there already, but they’re really, really going to miss you.
      I’m so glad we never got good china for our wedding so we use the same set of dishes all the time.

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  3. I relate to this! I have some pairs of pants that are too long, or that are a bit too baggy, and rarely do more than trip over the hems. I got rid of most of the truly non-fitting stuff a while ago, and it’s made getting dressed in the morning much easier, but I still need to do a better job of making the stuff that I’ve kept lovable rather passable.

    And, I have a ton of stuff in my house that we don’t use. Books I’ve read that I’ll never read again. Extra furniture. Pottery that I got when my mom died that doesn’t fit my own tastes (and makes it harder to find the pottery that does.) We need to declutter badly. One of these days, we’ll tackle more than the clothes in the closet.

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      Emily, isn’t it nice how getting rid of the stuff you don’t like makes it easier to find and appreciate what we really do like?
      I’m sending good vibes on your decluttering!

  4. I love that idea of looking at things you already have and giving it new life. I feel like I’ve been carrying around the “last 5” pounds, that if I just at 10% better, would give a lot of items in my closet new life! lol! I say this as I’m drinking a glass of wine. 🙂

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      Clean eating makes me feel so much better, even if the weight doesn’t change. Sadly, fitting into clothes has never been enough motivation for me to stick with an eating plan, so I have to find the reason somewhere else. And even when the weight doesn’t change, clothes seem to fit differently over the years. Have you tried packing those items away to see what you miss, or what you can even remember in a month or two, then giving away the rest?

  5. A little off topic, but I’ve always had issues with clothes. I could never figure out fashion. I never had the right “look.” Was it because I had a penchant for spilling something on every expensive piece of clothing I bought? Who knows. I’m just sartorially challenged. But rather than fret over it, I now accept it. In fact, I now have my own version of a capsule wardrobe. Jeans and polo shirts. It’s boring, but it works. Thanks for sharing your clothing drama–and its resolution. It was a great read.

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      Jeans and polos are a great uniform! You’re the next Zuckerberg!
      The trendy stuff is tricky–I hate most of it, and if I do like it, it’s likely that I’m already a season or a year late, so I too stick with the classics.

  6. It has to feel so good to have those pants hemmed! I have clothes like that – just last week I went through my closet and took out the items I was saving for…who knows what!? I also took out any clothes I just plain dislike. I’m finding it’s much faster to choose what to wear with all the clutter gone. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, even though I’m not quite there yet.

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  7. I am so guilty of this! I made do when I don’t have to. Last year I started wearing my favorite clothes instead of keeping them in my closet. Now they are ALL I wear! My favorite top started to break away st the seams and I sewed it right away to make sure it wouldn’t die on me. A few weeks back I re-dyed all my black skinny jeans black again. I feel like I am growing as an adult! 😉

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      Ooh! Dying really ups the DIY ante. You’ll have to give me your tips. I tried to dye my wedding dress blue since it was a cute, non-frilly style that I would wear again, but it turned out lilac instead of the navy I had in mind.

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