I know people who lead wonderfully uncluttered lives. They don't overbuy and if they no longer need an item, out it goes. I admire such people, but alas! I am not one of them.
An online friend used the phrase "shopping in my closet" when she told of pulling out a couple of items she'd forgotten she owned. She found a garment she needed so she didn't have to buy anything new, but the phrase resonated with me. It suggested exploding closets with mysterious and possibly dangerous depths, too much Stuff, and a meditation on Too Many Clothes and Never A Thing to Wear.
Exploding closets are a real issue since my house is not new enough to have massive walk in closets that are larger than the room I lived in my freshman year in college. (No, I'm not exaggerating. That room was turned into a broom closet in later years, I'm told.) But even if I had a giant walk-in closet, all closets are finite, so eventually there will be Too Much Stuff.
I'm neither a shopaholic nor a hoarder, though I'll admit to pack rat tendencies, and having grown up on a farm, the shadow of the Depression still looms, murmuring, "You might need that someday." Hence–exploding closets. Why? Let me count the ways!
Some categories found in my closets:
1) Clothes that are just right. They fit well, look good on me, and I wear them regularly. These are Keeper Clothes. (though not necessarily forever.) This is a small category. <G>
2) Things I've had for years that I might wear occasionally.
3) Clothes that fit fine and look all right, but for some reason, I never wear them, usually because I have other items in the same category that I like better.
4) A lot of garments that look very much alike because my tastes are consistent and I'll see and buy something I like, not realizing how similar it is to other items I own till I get home.
Side note: I didn't realize just how many burgundy tops and pairs of black knit pants I had until I dived into the closet to thin the herd. But how can I get rid of things I'll wear when the similar items I use regularly wear out? (How often do clothes actually wear out? Not too often, actually, though I once had a cobbler sneer that he threw out better shoes than mine all the time. <G>)
5) Clothes I bought because I feel like I should expand my color range, so I buy teal instead of more burgundy or burnt orange. Teal looks fine on me (the right shades of teal look fine on everyone), but I don't actually want to wear it. (Suggestion to self: don't buy something because I think I should. It won't get worn.)
6) Garments someone gave me that I don't want to wear, but I feel that I shouldn't get rid of. (There's that "should" again!)
7) Clothes I wore on some special occasion and they carry fond memories even if they haven't been worn since.
8) Clothes that might have some value if sold at a consignment shop, but finding one and hauling things is seems like so much WORK!
9) Stuff that I cannot imagine what I was thinking! But I spent good money and maybe I'll figure out something to do with those things. (I believe economists call these sunk costs, and the question is when should we cut our losses and just get rid of the blasted thing?)
These categories are off the top of my head; I'm sure there are more. <G> I did make a good stab at getting rid of things a couple of weeks ago. I filled up 2 or 3 black trash bags with clothes and gave them to a charity. I bought some closet fixtures that make it possible to hang several shirts or skirts or pants in tiers. Explosion seems a little less imminent.
But the real cure is to buy less. I've always questioned the mixed messages of economists who say we should buy, buy, BUY! to keep the economy going while other economists are saying we must save, save, SAVE, or we'll starve in retirement. Since I won't have much effect on the overall economy, I'll stick to working on my own closets.
One useful tip I figured out: don't sign up for emails from clothing sites, even ones you order from regularly. ESPECIALLY ones that we order from regularly, because really, who can resist a 40% OFF header on an email?
Such offers trigger the hunter/gatherer instincts and it's easy to click through and see what I could get because it would be such a great deal and if I add something else to the order, I'll get free shipping, yes! Plus there that little happy spurt of serotonin when buying something new. "UNSUBSCRIBE" is our friend. <G>
So there are my musings on exploding closets, a problem very different from the days of historical romance, when most women had only a modest handful of garments that they repaired and refurbished until the fabric gave out.
How about you? Do any of these clothing categories sound familiar? Have you discovered any great tips to keep your closets under control? Or are you one of those rare being who is naturally good at staying clutter free (and can I borrow your genes? <G>)
Mary Jo, who may write another blog about Stuff that is more general than closets.