I have too many clothes.
What is too many? More than I could wear in a year. Yep. If I took all my clothes out and wore everything I own, I could wear something different every day for a year–or better. A year is a conservative guess. I probably wear a tenth of it.
I don’t have room for the clothes. My (shared with Thor) closet was maxed out before I had unpacked two of my six giant tubs of clothes (and I think there are 6 more in the storage unit, which will go directly to Goodwill without passing God, or collecting any dollars when we open that up again), and my dresser didn’t stand a chance against all my belongings. I’m like Empress Elizabeth, for heaven’s sake! And no maidservants to clean up after me.
I got tired of feeling overwhelmed by laundry (and who wouldn’t?!) and I am very tired of not being able to put things away–not because I’m too lazy to do it (hello! have made my bed and kept my kitchen clean for a year straight now!), but because I just don’t have room enough to receive it all. Thus, my Spartan Resolution to strip my wardrobe down to [what I consider] the bare minimum, and start life over as someone with Enough, not Too Much.
Tonight, I sat down and made a list of what I need. I was very generous with myself (An Epicurean Spartan, if you will), allowing as though I were going on a long trip, and needed to pack for Career, Casual, and Evening, with alarming shifts in weather from Dead-of-Winter to Hottest-Day-of-Summer. I gave myself enough Career Wear to go 20 business days without repeating an outfit. I gave myself enough Casual to go 10 days without repeating an outfit. I gave myself enough Evening/Cocktail to go to three parties–y’all are just going to have to live with it when I show up at the fourth party, wearing a repeating dress. I gave myself miscellaneous items that are Winter or Summer only–enough to supplement the rest–and I gave myself three aspirational items (that one dress that doesn’t quite squeak by, that one pair of trousers, and that skirt I can’t bear to part with from 1990), two investment items (a couple of designer things I probably won’t ever wear, but like owning), and my workout gear. Then, I went to work.
I’d already started culling out for Goodwill last weekend.
Tonight, I pulled aside the items that were To Keep, and just started bagging the rest. The two tubs in the closet, which I haven’t touched in about 8 months… Not even going to open. Just taking them to Goodwill. If I haven’t missed what’s in them, I don’t need what’s in them. And, if I do end up missing something, I will consider if it merits replacing, and which of my Spartan Wardrobe Pieces it will replace because once I’ve gotten myself out from under this tonnage of clothing, I’m not going back under it. And I estimate it will be this Sunday that I’ve dropped off the last Goodwill offering. Lord unwilling and the creek rises, then next Sunday is my go-to date.
The resolution does extend to my shoes. That’s going to be the hardest part for me. I love my shoes like little sculptures, but if I’m not wearing them, they aren’t doing me any good. Someone else could be putting them to use. Someone else might genuinely need them.
At this writing, I have two fully loaded tubs I haven’t touched in 8 months, another tub of that size I loaded tonight, two smaller tubs that are overflowing, one laundry basket full, and one full-to-bursting Hefty bag. I’ll get my workout hauling these things.
Why am I doing this? Because I want control of my things. Because I am no longer emotionally attached to Things. Because I’d like to do laundry and hate it like a normal person, not like a person who feels afraid and ashamed of the piles. And because I’d like to see if I can.
I know I can. I guess the more correct statement is that I’d like to see who I am, when I do.
I think to myself what a shame it is that I didn’t learn this at 20,when it could have made a difference in those fresh years–like Molly Grue accusing Amalthea in her unicorn form of coming to her too late (I understand and identify with that scene like I never could as a child.) I think, “It’s a shame to be 41 and only learning it now.” But that’s not a shame at all.
The shame would be in refusing to change because I wasn’t this awesome as an ingenue. I’m not going to punish Current Me for the shortcomings of Former Me. Former Me didn’t know any better, did the best she could with what she had, and acquired some really unique and beautiful wardrobe pieces that are going to make another girl feel very, very pretty.