Saturday, March 12, 2011

too much stuff

There is too much stuff in my closet.

Too, too much.

And under my bed.

And above the washing machine.

And scattered about the house in other random places, too.

And I don't just mean random things that need to be stored....

I mean too many clothes.

The excess is ridiculous. Yet today was hard for me. And looking at the results is hard for me, too.

I woke up thinking about what I might do today, with several different project ideas in mind. I could set out early for a long run, or work on the vines in the backyard some more (trying to get rid of some more of them before they go bonkers growing this spring), or I could tackle the closet.

It was chilly this morning. I opted for the indoor project.

I decided that in order to do my closet the right way, I would need to start with everything out and decide piece by piece whether it was worthy of being put back in.

I pulled armload after armload of clothes onto the bed. I wrestled the two plastic bins of clothes that I store above the washing machine down, and added them to the mess on the bed. I pulled out the under-bed boxes. There wasn't any space for this stuff on the bed, so I just opened them up. I pulled the drawers out in the chest of drawers.

I was overwhelmed. Where did all of this excess come from? (Um, I can answer that. It was accumulated over many, many years, from bargain buying and shopping with my dear sweet mama, who shows love by buying things. The two of us are both learning to say no when we are out shopping together.) How had I let the clothing pile get this high? How had I not noticed?

So it was time to start. I sorted through some of the easy categories first. Dressy jackets. I love them, on other people. I bought some at one point. I think I wore one of them once? They were easy to say goodbye to -- went straight into the giveaway bag. Closely followed by hanging pants. A few pairs that I didn't wear all winter, and still know exactly how they don't fit me right -- easy to let go of, too. Most of the pants went right back into the closet for the rest of spring, since I wear them to work almost every day.

Then it got a little harder. Sweaters. Here we are at the end of winter, and sweaters were a little tougher. As a relatively crafty person, I had a hard time letting go of anything cashmere, even if I hadn't worn it in over a year. It took me so long to find anything 100% wool at Goodwill when I was ready to make slippers for sweet hubby, let alone cashmere for the lining. And sweaters always seem like such an investment -- never as cheaply acquired as tee's and tops. But about 15 sweaters made it into the giveaway bag. The rest will go above the washing machine for the summer, but not as tightly packed as last year. I'd like to think of it as slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

Dresses. Oh, dresses, why are you such a weakness?

My strategy was to count the Sundays. How many Sundays will I be in town and want to wear a dress to church? I have too many dresses. I have twice as many dresses as Sundays to wear them. And I don't really go out to fancy places very often, or wear dresses to school very much, so I have no reason to have so many of them. I just like them so much....But a few (at least five) jumped out of the closet and into the giveaway bag.

The dresses were followed by the tops. How many different white tops do I own? At least one for every day of the week. Same with black, and blue, and pink, and teal, and on and on and on. Many tops jumped into the bag. Many more jumped themselves right back into the closet. But when they did, they jumped in behind the sign.

What sign?

The "everything in front of me has been worn this season, and gets to stay longer" sign. Introduced to me by my sweet friend and neighbor, who also has a hard time cleaning out her closet.

Tee shirts were easier -- since I've been pulling some out to make into a T-shirt quilt for a while -- I just added to the stash. It feels like cheating. And some will make the journey to the beach, to live a new life there, always available, and making it so that I can pack less.

In the end? About 80 different articles of clothing jumped into my bag.

Um, make that my 6 bags.

Goodwill, here I come.

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