Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kicking it to the Curb

A couple weeks ago, I did something new; liberating; even brave: I took a deep breath and heaved a large percentage of my clothing into an oversized goodwill bag.

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, dreamed of it even, as I stared blankly each morning into a cloth maze of marginal pants, iffy blouses, and unloved dresses. You know the stuff, it’s in your closet, too: the pair of khakis with the grease stain from a hasty drive-thru lunch in late ‘06; the off-shade blouse you’ll find something perfect to wear with “someday”; the misshapen sweater Aunt Lib knitted for you several Christmases ago; the tired T’s.

I’d wade through the sea of fabric, eventually settling on trusted anchor pieces upon which I can always depend: a trio of jeans, dark solid tops, a shapely sweater, or, if the occasion called for it, a staple pair of slacks or skirt.

What with my daily deliberations and reliance on the thin ranks of the tried and true, I was convinced that purging my wardrobe would leave me with nothing to wear. This, of course, is the thinking pattern of those psychotic “hoarders” one sees from time to time on the evening news. The illusion of a vast and varied wardrobe imparted a false sense of security with which I was reluctant to part.

But part I did with a massive heave-ho to the curb on a recent Friday morning. Two factors joined forces in inspiring this bold move: a trip to the antique store and some financial backing in the form of Christmas funds.

The antique store trip was prompted by a do-it-yourself decorating book I picked up on the discount table at Barnes and Noble. According to the text, the antique store was my low cost, one-stop solution to all my household needs. With clothes in all stages of cleanliness spilling from laundry baskets and hampers bursting at the seams, I figured some sort of rustic shelving or chest of drawers would present a decorative-yet- functional storage option. The financial backing served as a safety net against public nudity should I get carried away in my zeal.

Sadly, the book was only half right. While I did find an attractive piece of functional furniture, I can hardly label the turn-of-the-twentieth-century walnut armoire as “low cost.” Let me skip over the droll financial deliberations (I, not my husband, was the reticent party) to say that my decision to limit my wardrobe to what could be contained within the armoire's confines was as solid as the piece itself.

True, I purchased a few new items, and, better yet, salvaged a few with the aid of a seamstress. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit to keeping a few ridiculous items, like the scoop-backed tuxedo tank I’ve always wanted to pair with a classy black jacket for some sort of day/night affair (“From boardroom to ballroom,” my husband mused, when I attempted describe the socially-improbable occasion that would prompt such garb).

As an English major, I’m not much for clich├ęs, but if I did adhere to shop-worm maxims, my current wardrobe would certainly be a case of “less is more.”

Recent mornings, it seems I have more choices than ever, and they’re all good. My drawers are full, but not stuffed, and everything in them makes me smile.

In fact, my style’s so polished I’m looking for ways to extend the streamlined concept to every area of life, and I’m not just talking closets. I’m eyeing bloated corners in every arena and I’m poised to toss.


Catherine Wannabe said...

Let's face it. The future I sketched out for you in the "magazine" post commentary prompted you to take some action.

Forget "psychotic 'hoarders'" on the evening news - we know you saw the makings of one in the mirror!!!

It's my job to keep you on the straight and narrow, Sister. Call it hard sayings or tough love, I just have to call it like it is!

Love you! Congratulations on the decluttering! Is it time to confront the "bloated corner" of magazines???

running_with_letters said...

Somehow I knew some astute reader would bring the magazines into this....These things take time. It's like those 12-step programs. It's too overwhelming to confront all at once. Maybe I jst need nother trip to the antique store. I'm sure I could fit all my magazines in a handsome hutch or baroque barrister.


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