|before photos of my overstuffed, L-shaped closet|
|crazy about my Crocs|
I think I’ve gone over the edge. Yesterday I was reading Bella Rum’s blog about longing to update her wardrobe and since I have lusted after the same goal since leaving my caregiver years behind, I decided to research the topic. (I’ve been such failure in this department and at purging my closet.) I truly do want to do the purge and update, but I have too many stops and starts with no finish line in sight. So for additional inspiration I found some dollar books at Amazon, downloaded them to my Kindle and began reading. I started with a book titled, Ten Steps to Declutter Your Closet. Short and sweet. Twenty-five pages of standard stuff: haul everything out of the closet, try on everything and purge the stuff that doesn’t fit, is stained or needs repairs or that you haven’t worn in the last year. One Year! I’ve got nearly three feet worth of closet rod taken up with vintage clothing from as far back to the Kennedy administration. Clearly, I need an intervention or I’m going to have to sit down and watch a marathon of the TV show Hoarders before I can take those vintage ‘memory clothes’ to a consignment shop and be a successful purger with the rest. When I watch a Hoarders episode on Monday you can usually find me cleaning on Tuesday.
After purging the author says I need color coded hangers. All the problems in the world of fashion and closet organization can be solved with color coding. Wow, you learn something new every day. (I need an eyes-rolling icon here to go along with that statement.) What is color coded hangers going to do about my waste-not hang-ups, those habits ingrained in me from early childhood? Back then it was my job to remove zippers and buttons off from worn-out clothing to save for sewing projects and to cut the serviceable parts of a garment away from the worn-out parts to use to make doll clothes, rags or quilts? Can you believe it, I still have a doll dressed in clothe made from my mother’s wedding suit? And do I dare to admit that she kept a pair of silk and lace panties from her honeymoon in 1937 and I have them tucked away in a box of vintage linen? How bizarre is that? Oh, but are they cute! ---the palest pink handmade panties you ever saw, boy-cut style with five tiny buttons on each sides. Can you image unbuttoning those panties if you were in a hurry to pee?
Mom was a product of hard times and never wasted a thing when it came to clothing. But I didn’t grow up dirt poor without a mother and with an unstable father, like she did. I didn’t have to quit school and get farmed out to work at age nine-ten so my father could have drinking money. And I didn’t have to watch as my younger siblings were sent off to be adopted by other families the way Mom did. I know I’m not my mother but her voice rings in my head when I look at my overstuffed closet. Okay, crack out the psych books and help me figure how color coded hangers is going to erase a lifetime of feeling guilty for wasting money on clothing I don’t need, like and/or wear anymore? If I hold on to stuff in the closet, pretending one day I’ll wear it again, it’s easier in my twisted sense of logic not to feel the guilt.
The second book I bought to inspire my closet purging project I’m half way through reading. It was written by woman you might have run across on the internet. She writes a blog called the Minimalist: Living a Beautiful Life with Less Stuff. I’m actually enjoying her views on purging and organizing closets and other parts of the house. I could never live like she does with only four tumblers in the house to drink from or with the concept of only having one Buddha bowl per household member to eat all their meals from---she got rid of all her glassware and china. However, the concept of less is more is appealing and I admire her dedication to saving the planet but I would hate being her neighbor! If they do household repair projects or throw a party they borrow everything. Ya, sure you can borrow my floor scrubber. Again. So it wears out twice as fast.
In the closet Ms. Minimalist says you need to pick a base color like black, navy or brown for all your pants, skirts, jackets, purse and shoes and purge everything else. Then she goes on to talk about limiting shirts, blouses and sweaters to three color that blend together, then having an array of colorful accessories. Her color palette and mine aren't far apart but Ohmygod, she pared down her closet items to less than two dozen garments, where I have---drum roll please---210 things hanging in my closet plus thirteen pairs of shoes. The folded clothes in my closet include: ten pairs of jeans, eight nightgowns and twelve sweatshirts plus container boxes for bras, slips, underpants and Red Hat society stuff. Did I mention the boxes of clothing that doesn't fit? Where did I find room for all of Don’s clothes that got purged shortly after he died? I know, some of my 210 things were stored in boxes before his passing. I couldn’t stand looking at the empty space where his things once hung.
The third book I bought for inspiration was on how to dress for your body shape. If and when---no, WHEN I get my closet purged I will read that book before buying more things---I really do want an updated wardrobe! In the meantime I have set Valentine’s Day as the goal for completing the closet purging.
The minimalist had a great tip that I started doing yesterday and I think it will be easy to maintain. She calls it the One-a-Day Declutter. You commit to getting rid of one thing a day be it a worn out bra, a mismatched sock or whatever---even a piece of paper counts---and by the end of the year your space is 365 items lighter. I’m planning to document my One-a-Day Declutter items on my day planner because, well, I’m just a list kind of person. Yesterday I threw out an old pair of Crocs that I still wore every day even though they are so worn out they weren’t comfortable anymore. But I have a confession to make. Before throwing out my Crocs I cut off the button that holds the strap so I can repair another pair of Crocs that has a broken button. Mom would be proud. ©