“Step into my closet,” said the spider to the fly. Bet you can guess what happens to the fly.
My clothes closet is a web – a silky lustered trap of clothing, purses, belts, scarves, and wire hangers (my apologies to Joan Crawford). It is a walk-in. I call it a run-out. The FBI has placed witnesses in my closet because the mafia is too scared to cross the doorway. My dog has made the mistake of entering, only to emerge days later wearing a scarf of sheer awesomeness circa 1982 – his tail between his legs from the utter shame and degradation of donning such a fashion risk.
My closet inventory is staggering, extra storage space a fleeting memory. Recent shopping trips have resulted in new purchases overflowing into other rooms. Note to self: the kitchen table will eventually need to have food served on it.
I have thus come to the horrific realization that I must purge my closet. I must forever part myself from many of the breathtaking couture weapons in a fashion arsenal that has clothed and accessorized my badass for over 30 years. Oh, there are so many delightful items within that have left mouths agape. I just now recall the statements of yesteryear asking if I somehow lost a bet. I really don’t see the correlation.
And so, I have opened my eyes AND my closet and prepared myself to survey the damage.
Step one: “This is trash, this is a keeper”
I start one day with the trash/keeper format. This is the first step that a professional organizer will advise (usually spoken to the hoarder – always female – on my TV screen.) It all seems very easy and I always shake my head in disbelief when Mary (professional hoarder – names have been changed to protect the disillusioned) refuses to throw away the 49,356 used foil pie tins in her living room because they have “great emotional and monetary value.” Hmmmph. I’m SO much stronger than that when it comes to stuff that I own that is quite obviously used-pie-tinny in its similarity.
Sitting on the one cubic foot section of closet carpeting that is clear of most obstacles, my trash/keeper session is going fairly well until the situation breaks down about fifteen minutes in. I do recall some kind of partial blackout as I deposit mothhole-ridden purple socks from my Donny Osmond worship days into a black Hefty bag. Completely realistic rationalizations follow over the next 5 hours (read: Gollum arguing with himself) mostly on how I HAVE to keep those socks because there HAS to be a “highly collectible” value attached to them. I mean, Mr. Osmond is in Vegas now – that’s the very definition of SUCCESS. I guarantee that darling Donny would want to see my socks, rejoice with me in their rarity, and then give me a front row seat so I could (spotlight shining on ME) showcase my socks to his stunned and adoring audience. Because of Donny Osmond, I’ve always been a little bit rock and roll with my music and fashion. This has both touched and unnerved my family and friends. Again, I don’t see a correlation.
After a whiff of smelling salts, I get back into the sorting of my closet pile. There is little improvement. Those fantastic stylish high heels upon which I perched myself many a Saturday night in college have worn down to a nub. I never noticed this before! One shoe resembles a fungus that I recall from Mr. Wizard’s science class. For a flicker of a second, the icky sequined pair touches the inside of the black bag, and then… NO! These are clearly not to be thrown away. One trip to the cobbler and I can be teetering on these puppies within the week. And so, after another hour of shaking grief, defiance and more salts, my total trash take is complete and downgraded to a single gallon ziploc bag containing 3 unmatched socks and a pair of slippers that had been chewed by the dog when he was a puppy. And when the trash man arrives the next day to whisk away the ziploc bag, oh, how I weep like like a small child.
Step two: The Goodwill Supremacy
Goodwill is your option when you want to feel rehabbed about your uncontrolled closet hoarding. Moreover, donating to Goodwill is the closest you will ever get to achieving sainthood. If there are any celebrities out there who want to reform a reputable career destroyed by marital infidelity or, heaven forbid, bad box office, there are but two choices – become a Goodwill ambassador to Cambodia or just donate to Goodwill, and clothe Cambodia in the process.
The Goodwill process is not college calculus: you put used, not spectacular in appearance, but sufficiently nice stuff into a bag. This includes gently-spit upon children’s clothing, those 6 salad spinners, hair clips that need hair to be functional, and the gift your husband bought you 3 Christmases ago. In this case, that gift might be, oh let me think, perhaps a dress that is 3 sizes too small because to buy your actual size might be construed as an insult. And yet, buying this microscopic dress is itself an insult because…oh, hell, I don’t know. But IT IS. (And that couch was very comfortable, you assure yourself.) Anyway, it would have been great to return this very tiny dress, but hubby also states, from the comfort of his couch, that he might have “lost” the receipt – a fair turn of events given that you announced over last year’s Christmas dinner that his gift to you was purchased on 12/24 at 4:46pm…but, I digress.
And so, in the evil corner of your closet (where the dust bunnies have their little dust bunny conventions and one of them gets roasted), this dress gets lost in the frenzy of Spanx, hosiery and candy wrappers and becomes the fashion equivalent of a miniature Shar Pei. Ironing would probably remedy this, but have you EVER had a reason to unbox that iron you received 2 decades ago at your wedding? Why now? Besides, this is obviously some doll dress (although, you are the only XX living in the house, you think.) Plus, this dress is missing tags (you can only assume, since you don’t wear those reading glasses – just too geeky) and it looks like the dressmaker’s name is some bizarre off-brand (again, corrected vision – NOT THAT IMPORTANT.) But for the sake of achieving your ultimate goal of becoming a saint, oh hell, just donate it. And as you place the dress into the black bag, you are sure you detect a faint gasp escaping into the atmosphere, just like when Horton heard that Who. Or was that gas? Whatever. So, Goodwill takes over and your bag of donated items becomes…THEIRS…(cue ominous music)
Shortly thereafter on the ONE day of the month you decree to do the laundry, you find a receipt in your husband’s underwear drawer, right underneath the viagra. Donning your readers (because nothing stands in the way of being the biggest snoop in the world), you observe that OMG, he has paid a cool grand for something Versace. You smile and feel momentarily guilty since you’ve obviously blown this delicious surprise for your upcoming birthday. You then notice the date on the receipt. One blood pressure drop and two bladder releases later, you sit up and hazily recall that silly article on HuffPost where a woman scored a vintage Versace at her local Goodwill for the grand total of $12.50… after tax.
At least you think that’s what it said. You weren’t wearing your readers that day.