Saturday, September 2, 2006

"Never wear anything that panics the cat." ~ P.J. O'Rourke

A recent survey undertaken by the women's clothing company Talbots revealed that "80% of the women surveyed are not wearing at least a quarter of the clothes in their closet". Count me in on that 80% as chances are real good that I don't wear over half of the clothes in my closet - never mind a quarter!

Even before reading the results of this survey, I had been thinking that I was way past due a thorough purging of my closet as I'm sure that most of the clothes in there haven't seen the light of day in well over two years - never mind the one year that professional organizers recommend as the cut-off for when to get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Problem is - I like most of those clothes that I never wear and it's difficult to part with them on the off-chance that eventually I'll get around to wearing them again or because they have some strange emotional stranglehold on me that keeps me from sending them on to new homes.

Having a job that requires a uniform makes it extremely easy to figure out what to wear to work and, for most of my working life, I have been in jobs that have uniforms. I shudder to think what my closet would look like if I actually had to have "work" clothes in there! I live in an old Victorian style house that, in typical old Victorian-style fashion, has little to no closets. Apparently old Victorians preferred to display their clutter around the house as knick-knacks rather than hide things in a closet and if they did have a closet ~ for let's say something like winter coats ~ those closets were mighty small in size. The only walk-in closet you'd find in a Victorian home was usually a pantry off of the kitchen as old Victorians also didn't believe in overdoing it with cupboards in the kitchen and they needed somewhere to store their old Victorian food.

As such, the closet in my bedroom is not what one would call large but it still manages to hold a good amount of stuff - provided that I don't want to ever actually get to the stuff! My landlord, bless his non-old Victorian heart, installed a closet system of sorts so I have shelves and a place to hang clothes - a good quarter which is taken up with my uniforms. The other three-quarters is crammed with clothes that I just never get around to wearing anymore for one reason or another.

One possible very good reason is that it seems that I never go anywhere other than work, an occasional trip to the grocery store, and maybe an outing once a month to meet a friend for breakfast or lunch. None of those activities require that I have an extensive wardrobe from which to choose but does that mean I'm going to be smart enough to shut myself in my room with several large garbage bags while I sort out what can go in a donation box and what can go out to the garbage? The simple answer there, apparently like 80% of 2,200 other women, is - NO!

And the simple reason for that is that I've got no doubt that as soon as I decide that a piece of clothing has overstayed its usefulness, or there are no longer fond memories attached to it, or there is no way it is EVER coming back into style no matter how comfortable it is and I get rid of it, I'm going to be looking for just that item to wear. I believe it's one of Murphy's unwritten laws - "the shirt that you want to wear today is the one that you got rid of yesterday" or something like that.

What I need is a "closet mercenary", someone who has no emotional attachment to my clothes or who possesses any of my Swamp-Yankee-keep-it-until-it-rots-off-the-hanger genes to come in and do what I just can't seem to bring myself to do. But until then, anybody have any suggestions so that I can someday join the 20% of women who actually do wear the clothes in their closets??


  1. I live in a circa 1800 Cape, so I am familiar with that no-closet scenario. It's really frustrating, especially for a slob like me, since it means all our clutter is out there for the world to see. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions. You could always try to get yourself on one of the HGTV shows where they show you how to organize your living area. I tried to get on an HGTV program once, and almost did, until they realized I was about an hour outside of their NYC traveling radius. Oh well.

  2. Anonymous4:47 PM EDT

    At least you know where your clothes are!!!!

  3. Meaning you don't know where yours are???

  4. Anonymous5:14 PM EDT

    Nope, not a clue..... only my maternity clothes. The rest are packed...... somewhere......

  5. My clothes never make it into the closet or dresser. They just sit on the table in the laundry room until I need them. Once in awhile I will go look at my collection of dresses (in about four or more sizes) and remember the good times...

  6. Hey, don't look at me for clothing help. For me, it's boots, jeans, t-shirt, and a bandana on my head. Simple, casual, and not a whole lot of thought. Although, I should go through my drawers to get rid of t-shirts and bandanas I haven't worn in awhile.


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