Cleaning out our closets. How often do we do it, really? Once a year? Maybe twice? When we're getting ready to move? I currently am in the process of moving, so over the weekend, while my daughter was taking a long nap, I poured myself a large glass of wine and started culling through my clothes, my shoes, my jewelry, and that hideous over-the-door vinyl shoe rack thing that's housed belts, scarves, and clutch bags for years now.
Now, let me tell you. I love throwing shit out. Love it. Fewer things make me feel more at peace than a clean space with mostly essentials. When I drop garbage bags filled with clothing into those Goodwill drop box things, I literally feel lighter. Like I accomplished something. I am not one of those people who holds on to random old stuff for nostalgia purposes.
For the most part.
I had a realization earlier on this year: Most of my clothing is disposable. The majority of my shirts and sundresses and even pants have come from places like Target, H&M, and Urban Outfitters. Some of my shit is from Zara, which is pricier and definitely has remained in better condition, but for all intents and purposes, there's a relatively short shelf life for my clothes. I'll spend money on shoes, but that's about it.
So when it was culling time, I had a strategy: Get rid of as much as possible. Most of the stuff had become shapeless and frayed, and to be completely honest, I could not be more sick of looking at everything in my drawers and closet. I currently hate all of my clothes, as most women do, and my new plan is to spend more money on things I really like and that will last. I want a stream-lined wardrobe filled with basics I can mix and match. I want to have the ability to graphically design one of those Gwyneth Paltrow-esque wardrobe layouts on my computer, showing the same shirt with four different outfits. I'm not going to do that (I'm in the middle of moving for god's sake!), but I want to have the ability to do that.
I started going through my shit, and, as one would imagine, I started trying on the things I haven't worn in a while. Or ever. I cut a pair of yellow Anthropologie pants I got on sale four years ago that still had the tags on into shorts; and I attempted to turn a turtleneck into a "slouchy sweater" with abysmal results. But mainly, I culled. Just call me Edward Cullen.
But amidst my sorting and organizing, I came across some pieces near and dear to me. Nothing particularly expensive, but objects that were more than just things I adorned myself with at some random moment in time.
There were a few long sleeve t-shirts, a sweater, and pajama pants I never, ever wear, but that belonged to my late mother. Obviously, I wasn't getting rid of them. There was the t-shirt my husband gave me years ago -- the one he wore on our first date. It's black and faded and perfectly thin now, and in small gold letters, it says "Inferno" on the left corner. He looked so naturally cool in that shirt. The first few times I saw him in it, it was almost enigmatic. Inferno? Now, of course, I look at it and it's just something I sleep in. But still. How could I get rid of it? Then there was the pin one of my dearest friends gave to me for my birthday years ago. Then there was the lacy dress I bought seven years ago and still haven't worn, but am sure one day I will.
I can't get rid of this stuff. I don't want to get rid of this stuff. I'm a firm believer in not needing materials to remember a person or a time period in life -- and like I said, I'm one of the biggest thrower-outers in town -- but I'll never dispose of these things. I literally am not capable of doing it.
Where my family is moving has far less space than where we are now. It's a colonial home, and if you know anything about real estate, you know that colonials have very little closet space. This terrifies me a bit, as clutter gives me anxiety. Clean lines. Whites. Brights. That's what works for me.
But in the depths of this clean, white, bright space of mine will be objects that are meaningless to many, but evidently very important to me. Objects that are part of me, actually. There will be old pajama pants, and t-shirts, and pins, and a ratty wallet I bought when I was drunk at the Venetian in Las Vegas. I'll tuck them under my bed in one of those long Rubbermaid things, and look at them every once in a while. And when I move again, they'll come with me.
Do you have a hard time getting rid of stuff?
Image via aldrin_muya/Flickr