It is the epitome of a First World Problem, and I am embarrassed and feel guilty for even admitting it. But Lord knows I’ve embarrassed myself before with this blog, and I know I’m not totally alone with this confession. Ok, here it is: my closet is crammed too full of clothes. Even worse, probably at least a quarter of them I don’t wear.
I have actually found myself in the situation where I’m standing in our little closet (notice I’m even frustrated by the size of the closet, because, hey, THAT is the issue, not the quantity of crap wedged into it), attempting to put clean laundry away, frustrated and swearing at the hangers that are getting tangled because everything is so squashed together.
One would think there is an easy fix for this issue. After all, every season, I clean out a pile of clothes to donate. I try to stick to the practice that before I bring in something new, something old has to go. So I should have a nice roomy, tidy closet. Yup. Should. But don’t.
My mornings follow the familiar pattern: first I stand there staring at my hoarding issue, waiting for something great to jump out and scream “Wear me! Wear me!”. Eventually I succumb to the fact that the wardrobe fairies are not going to help me. I paw through, pushing aside things I never wear, eventually selecting the same things I always wear. I pause and wonder “have I worn this yet this week?” then off I go.
The problem, I believe, lies in the internal conversations we women have with ourselves in the Cosmic Closet Universe. We enter the portal, strong and confident, determined and ready to purge and clean. After all, we are powerful women who make important decisions all day long in other areas of our lives. But something happens in that small cave of space. Indecisiveness kicks in. It goes something like this: This blouse would look great if I could find a pair of pants in exactly the right color to match. I’d wear this skirt if I had awesome boots to go with it. My husband gave me this five years ago, I don’t want to hurt his feelings by tossing it. If someone invites me to a cocktail party on a beach, this would be the perfect outfit; that could happen, right? This style might come back this year. Why don’t I wear this? If I lose ten pounds and wear the right bra, this dress could look as good as it used to on me. Maybe with enough make-up I can get away with wearing this shade of yellow. These jeans aren’t comfortable, but they are cute. What if I get rid of this, then next month wish I hadn’t? I read that stripes are in, maybe I should give this one another chance. Ooooh, I forgot I had this skirt! And my favorite: Well, I can button these pants…do I need to be able to breathe or sit down?
So the effort is there. The desire is there. We eventually emerge, sweaty and tired from hauling clothing around and trying things on. We feel like we’ve been productive. We are proud of the small pile of items we are giving away or throwing out. And we hide the fact that we’ve opened up space by secretly expanding into another closet. This is why our guest room closets hold fancy dresses and our basements are the hide-away for off-season pieces.
We come away swearing that we will not purchase anything else frivolously. Only necessary items, like white shirts and beige bras. We pledge that if we don’t wear something all season, it will be removed.
Then it happens. We start a different conversation with ourselves when we walk in to an Alternative Clothing Universe, otherwise known as a retail shop. It usually starts like this: “ooh, this is so cute!” (Cue the Theme Song from Jaws.)
Perhaps it is time to start a support group. Anyone got a big empty closet available for meeting space?
No? I didn’t think so.