our closets

"If honor be your clothing, the suit will last a lifetime; if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare." -William Arnot

Two days ago I had several hours in the afternoon available. Since this was a rare treat, I decided to do the responsible thing and be productive with that time. I quickly flipped my mental rolodex to "tasks I would like to get done" and the following came to the top of the list: "Organize drawers and closets." This is a task that I really do enjoy, but I know it takes a significant of time to do well and effectively. I have made it a habit to do this every year we've been married [see HERE for our year one attempt!], and always find it rewarding.

I want this post to be honest, so HONESTLY I can say that I didn't think I would have much to get rid of this year. Since this is the third year in a row I have ransacked my clothes, I figured by now I only had the essentials.

Boy was I wrong…and it ended up being quite the slap in the face. After cleaning my closet, and doing a little inventory of my "stock," I was quite embarrassed by the fact that I sometimes dare to utter the phrase husbands across the world dread the most, "I have NOTHING to wear!" Why do we say that? Do we really THINK that? Can we really stand in front of our stuffed closets and drawers and actually let our selfish, Western minds BELIEVE that we need more? Unfortunately I think we often get caught in that trap.

Growing up I never even had a closet. Pause for that to sink it. :) No, my parents weren't trying to punish me [I don't think?!], but in our first home the closets were very small…very, very small. There was no way my mom and dad could fit all of their clothing in their one, tiny bedroom closet. And it wasn't because they lived with excessive amounts of clothing! It was because they would have had to have fit it all in what most of you would deem a small amount of space for a coat closet in your entry way. SO…the equally tiny closet in my bedroom was assigned to Dad. I still remember swinging my bedroom door open and looking at his array of ties. My favorite and least favorite one was one that looked like a fish. It was my favorite because it was so creative; I could almost imagine it coming to life. It was my least favorite because sometimes it freaked me out, hanging on the hook behind the door; I didn't know if it WOULD come to life. I had a a shelf/rack to hang my clothes on though, my shoes scattered the floor like pepper beneath them. Eventually my pants and dresses drug the floor, as I continued to grow. Back then I knew that a new article of clothing was a blessing. It was cherished and prized. I hated to go shopping, but loved the smell and feel of new articles because it wasn't a weekly, and sometimes not even monthly occurrence.

I write this now because I back then, even when our family of four knew no want, we did without a lot of "new" stuff. My parents were very wise with their money. Kali and I never knew the sacrifices they made to support Mom's ability to stay at home. I also think though, that it wasn't just my family that lived like that. I think that more families 20 years ago didn't feel entitled to having new things all the time. They didn't have to stuff their closets so they could feel "trendy," or accepted. It was a simpler time in many ways, and I think our wallets were better for it.

That being said, as a way to purge my guilt a little I want to share some of my findings from the depths of my closet! AHHHH…

Some of the inventory I took is as follows:

Dress pants/slacks: 19.
Skirts: 21
Solid/plain colored tank tops: 34
Cardigans: 30
Shoes: 62

Wow. I was so surprised. I ended up sorting through and getting rid of quite a few of these items, realizing I didn't need and couldn't possibly even USE 4 black cardigans!

I threw away 2 pairs of shoes: My old high school softball cleats that I had hung onto for memories. They were disgusting and worn through with holes. It was time to let them go. And a pair of sandals that I had worn so much the strap actually broke in half. I had worn them a few times with tape and realized that it was probably time to let those go as well. I found 8 other pairs that I simply didn't need, and am donating those soon.

I have a large bag to donate with other findings too, with the total number of items over 50.

My main problem is clearly SHOES! :-) They just ALWAYS fit when nothing else seems to!
I found I hace a slight obsession for flowered shoes:
But I also realized I have some pretty odd shoes as well. The Jelly Shoes just couldn't be justified and I did get rid of those, but the other four I just had to hold onto, if only for one more year. The blue shoes I've had since college when my sister in law gave them to me and they are very comfortable. The plaid shoes I snagged at a garage sale for 2 dollars and they make a black shirt a little more fun to wear in the winter. The silver heels I purchased for around 8 dollars at WalMart when I needed a pair to match my dress for the DOVE AWARDS in Nashville with Kali [They are actually a size too small, but they were the only ones I could find!] And the purple ones I found on a clearance rack and snagged them for under 10 dollars to wear with a crazy purple dress for a formal in college. :-)

I couldn't help but take a picture of these fun, green sandals and laugh! There is a story behind these that I'm sure my mom would LOVE to share sometime, but in a nutshell she split the cost for these with me one time, swearing I would wear them ONCE or TWICE if at all. I have proven her quite wrong, and usually let her know when I'm wearing them with an outfit :-). It's become quite the joke.
I was most shocked to realize I still had these Doc Martens from my high school days! Do you remember how popular Docs were?! I remembered that, but I had forgotten how unbelievably HEAVY they were?! Wowee. I do remember that getting these was quite a treat for Kali and me, and I wore them…or should I say, CLOMPED around in them…quite proudly.
So there you have it, folks, my clean, purged, and selfish closet.
My grandpa made me the white shoe rack in high school. It extends double this length, with the other half being on Brent's side of the closet.
As you can see, he is still trying to find time to clean his side, but I told him I should get the rest of the shoe rack since he doesn't even use it. His response? "No, Kels! I'm cutting you off! If you can't cram them into that side then you don't get to keep them!" :-) I knew I needed him around for a reason!

I challenge you to find the time to clean our your closet…or at least A closet in your house. Get rid of what you don't really NEED or USE [if you need to keep a pair of silver or purple shoes though, feel free :-)]. Find a good, local place to donate your excess too. Then blog about your guilt and STOP BUYING CARDIGANS! :-)


TheStartPhoto said...

I can't even BEGIN to explain how badly I want to live near you. But you know this. Except, I want to even more so now. I would loooove to go through your giveaway piles (especially for one of those black cardigans), then be inspired to make my own (giveaway piles, not cardigans). But, alas, I don't live near you... :(

maybe you should purge your closet before I see you again, because I WILL be encouraging you to shop. count on it :)
(you NEED that terribly patterned, awfully colored cardigan. trust me :) )

*carrie* said...

Loved this post, Kelsey. I often sort through my clothes, and it's always amazing to me that I find more to get rid of. I've posted in the past about the number of shoes and sweaters in my closet.

On the subject of having nothing to wear, I have a post brewing on that, too. And this seems a fitting time to tell you that you are one of a handful of people who I think is always cutely/nicely dressed. So there.

Sharon said...

Why don't you come and inspire your mother!