After months, ok, years, of holding on to shit and letting it pile up in closets, an office that has become a hoarder’s nest, corners, drawers, etc… I wrote a post about holding on to stuff (Houston, I Have a Problem), admitting I might have a
whoring hoarding problem (the first would make a more salacious post, no doubt), then I began taking baby steps toward getting rid of stuff. I put out a challenge to readers of this blog, that if they visited my Facebook page and hit like, I’d donate two items per like. Frankly, that was a bit of let down. I guess I need to offer free iPads or something? Visiting a page and hitting like, seemed an easy enough request, that the getting rid of stuff was just a playful challenge to myself. However, I started at 70 and I’m now only up to 83. Not the monumental windfall of likes I’d hoped for. I did give away about 50 books, so I kept my end and more. One enabling friend pointed out that I’d gone so far past the the required donation number of 26, that I could hold back on any further donations until a lot more people had clicked like… a slight misinterpretation of my point, and the goal, but I secretly held onto the backup plan.
Honestly however, all that focus on letting go pushed me to really think about the stuff I’m holding on to. My closet’s definitely the worst offense, even if the office is by far a bigger nightmare to look at. While the closet looks neat and organized, it is absolutely crammed with stuff that just keeps accruing, as I’ve continued to justify that things will come back into style, are still cool, or (the best) worth something. “These are Ferragamo! They’re worth something!” “This was $7 billion dollars, I should be able to get $4 billion at consignment.” “These never go out of style; they’re classic!” Ahem, after all it’s consignment right? They should love this
once valuable stuff. I have been telling myself, and anyone who dares suggest I get rid of some things, these words for long enough that I actually believed them.
Well yesterday I woke up with a burning desire to purge, and since vomiting grosses me out, I opted for my closets and drawers. I began pulling beloved but ignored items out, left and right. The pile just grew and grew, before I’d even formulated a plan. Not sure where this desire came from… Perhaps Smart Guy slipped me a roofie the night before and whispered I will get rid of stuff in my ear all night? Maybe all that snoring was really subliminal messaging? Whatever it was, I woke up and started cleaning my closet before even checking my blog stats. That, people is saying something. Items of clothing that I’ve insisted that I love, or will still wear, just started piling up on the floor, as space opened up on the racks. All those slick space saving hangers I bought were actually paying off, and now had room to truly hang, versus, say, just be crammed up against one another. Clothes were suddenly hanging, draping; I could slide things along the bar. I was giddy, as the piles grew! (THE best hangers: no hanger marks on your clothes, nothing falls off, and you can get 2 items where 1 previously hung! Brilliance. —>)
I looked at my fallwinter and sprinsummer piles (the 2 seasons we have here in the Pacific Northwest) and saw dollar signs and validation in my immediate future. I imaged the gals at the consignment shop saying: Wow! Where have you been hiding all of these gems? You have such a sense of style! I was thrilled to show Smart Guy my determination and ability to finally do this, though his response: “Great! I bet Little Man has a bunch that could be sorted too,” wasn’t exactly the high five I anticipated. For those of you who switch out your closets each season, or live by the requisite “if you haven’t worn it in two years,” I am that gal you disdain. I hold onto stuff for… for… forever. I have things from college! Undergrad. I have stuff that has gone out of style and come back into style several times, over say, 25 years. Some of those things, from a sheer passage of time perspective alone, are technically vintage! Letting go is not my schtick.
I also have newer things, that I thought I liked at the store, but I just didn’t wear. The point: I have way too much in my closet. But let go I did. The piles grew rapidly, and I felt lighter. Do these piles make me look thinner? I resolved to get these things directly to a consignment shop and then find more to get rid of; on a roll baby! The purging happened Sunday and the items were loaded in my car on Monday morning. On. A. Roll! I had lunch with a friend, and headed smuggly over to the shop, ready to watch the girls working there raise their hands up, praising God and all things divine, that I’d finally cleaned my closets and drawers and they were the lucky beneficiaries. Fortified by my
delusions of grandeur conviction that my stuff was hip, I was at the shop right after lunch on Monday. A roll!
Ten steps forward and three humiliating steps back. Glass half full says I’m still ahead, glass half empty says “See! Losah!” Or, that’s how my friends back home would say it. Bostonians don’t sugar coat it. All you clever readers saw this coming in the first paragraph, right? Thanks for sticking around anyway. Yep, monumental rejection. I left with four huge bags of stuff, and I walked back out with three. Three bags of stuff that even a consignment shop didn’t want! Three bags of clothes that I’ve held onto, totally undesired by the two young thangs who were pulling items out of the bags, and just as quickly dropping them back into bags. No real moments of indecision or question; snip snap I was walking out with my decidedly unstylish tail between my legs, and three bags of stuff.
As I drove across town, to do other errands, the injustice of this just kept eating at me. I actually pulled over,
out of sight on a side street to look through the rejects, to see what I’d missed, and lick my wounds. But frankly, something surprising happened. As I rifled through the items still in the bags, I realized that none of it was as valuable as I’d kidded myself into thinking. I suddenly saw the faded colors, the styles that were passé, the items that had been hanging far too long in my closet… taking up space in my life. I can’t lie, there were a few things that I wanted to take elsewhere, and prove their worth, but mostly it sunk in that I just need to get rid of more stuff, and do it much more often. The gray skies brightened and a host of angels sang hallelujah! I closed my trunk and sat for a moment, letting the idea sink in.
The clothes can all be donated. I should have done it in the first place actually. The time and energy of taking things to consignment is really not worth it, compared to the good feeling I get when I take my things to shelters, the Y, etc and someone actually says thank you. Mind you, junk/crap/stuff are relative terms. These clothes are still in good condition, clean and valuable to someone getting back on their feet and trying to get a job. They are worthless to the savvy shoppers who are looking for cutting edge at a discount, or the teens who want hipster and slick, for a couple of bucks. I held onto my stuff for too long to satisfy the second group, but these bags are headed for better homes, where they’ll be appreciate and used. I need to sort through more things, while I’m on this enlightened wave. And from this seat, crow tastes a little more like cornish game hen… (And the fallwinter pile is just growing, for September, when I donate even more. ^^)
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