This is part of my Life List goal to Get Organized and Own Less Crap. Thanks to Glad® for sponsoring this post. Without them, I would still own sliver plastic go-go boots in someone else’s size. …Maybe I should go get those out of the donation pile.
I can be sentimental about stuff — the kind of person who names her car, her knick-knacks … her kitchen mixer.
But lately I’ve come to accept that every object I own increases my time investment in upkeep, organization, and retrieval. I have too much stuff, not enough time, and the two are not mutually exclusive.
They say you’re supposed to give away things you haven’t worn in over two years. This is because they are robots. Robots who have never met this dress, which I call “Mrs. Roper’s Night on The Town.”
Come and knock on our dooooor!
As a kid I woke up at 5 a.m. to find treasures at garage sales with my mom, and I had my first antique stall when I was sixteen. I developed this idea that all objects, particularly vintage clothes, are looking for their Perfect Person. Someone who can understand their poignance, and value, and delight in them. Somewhere along the way, I started feeling like the Keeper of Awesome Things. That if I don’t find a home for something, it will just end up in the trash.
But we live in an urban one-bedroom apartment, where you can calculate the annual rent on the space your college sweatshirt occupies. (Over the years it averages out to the cost of your actual tuition.)
So why do I still own a a red chiffon dress that barely zipped up when I was nineteen? Because I can see where I repaired the rip in the sleeve from all those nights we went swing dancing. Because I can feel the skirt blowing around my knees when I duck my head out the moon roof of a limo on New Year’s eve.
So back off, Goodwill. Stop looking at me like that.
And yet, I’ve been spending way too much time getting dressed every day because I can’t find anything. Not to mention, folding and re-folding precarious stacks of clothes, and re-hanging the seventeen things I tried on before I accidentally found the one thing I wanted.
So Glad proposed a post to promote their Trim Your Waste program, which is about reducing the amount of stuff you put in the landfill. This is how my life works. I put something on my life list, that I want to do, but maybe not right now, or technically ever? And then the universe forces me to admit that I don’t want to end up on an episode of Hoarders.
So I did some organizational research and put a day aside to tackle my closet. Hahahhahaha. A day. It took longer that that.
But! I set out bags for stuff to donate, sell, and give away, and set up zones in my room for clothes I needed to try on, clothes that needed repairs, and clothes I didn’t wear often.
I took courage. And put on a little mood music.
Instead of emptying my closet out willy nilly, I went section by section. I began with my shoes, which had apparently begun to breed like Tribbles.
Anything I was certain I wanted to keep remained in my closet, while items that required pondering landed in one of the aforementioned zones.
I went through all of the clothes and the stuff I loved but hadn’t worn. I created a probation section. If I haven’t worn items placed on probation in the next six months I have to give them away.
I managed to trim my wardrobe by five bags (!) of clothes and a huge box of shoes. And, since I still consider myself a clothing matchmaker, I decided only the stained and damaged beyond repair pieces would head for the waste bin, which turned out to be a single T-shirt. Farewell, Max Fun Con shirt stained with hair dye. Don’t think that wasn’t hard on me.
The rest I’m putting back on the market. I’ll be donating some items, and others I hope to sell so I can put the proceeds toward this year’s Camp Mighty charity: water fund.
And yet, there were plenty of items that flummoxed me.
I’ve been meaning to take Geri-Ayn, an Audrey Hepburn devotee, to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
And perhaps the important question is not, where will I wear sleeves like this, but where would I ever find sleeves like this again? Right? Could I have this made into a shirt?
And this headband, which I will never wear, matches a vintage sequin dress I wear all the time. Am I required to keep them paired for the next owner?
I have about a hundred more examples of stuff like this. My perfect senior prom dress, the scarves my girlfriends brought back from trips abroad, the one ring to rule them all. How do I let go of these things?
Do other people not dream of throwing Three’s Company parties? What is your secret for keeping only the things “you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful?” I genuinely want to know.
Because I cannot be the only one who weeps at the thought of this in a landfill: