Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It's spring (cleaning) somewhere

I threw away 15 socks yesterday.
They were perfectly good socks, and I don't judge them for having no match, but I did decide that they can no longer be in my life. I'm open to socializing with single people in this world, but I am going to stop letting single socks take up residence in my closet.
I kicked a lot of things out of my closet this weekend, actually.
Eight brown grocery sacks full, and I'm not quite done.
I passed along a suit jacket that grips me a little too tightly in the upper arms.
A tank top that looks great in the front, but pinches enough in the back that it takes away from the aimed for aesthetic.
A t-shirt that I bought within the last 12 months. It boasts a unique print, and yes, it's money down the toilet for me to get rid of it so soon, but I don't love it.
I got rid of a blouse that was a gift. I enjoyed it for a while, but I rarely wore it in the midst of several years. Examining it on me yesterday I realized, yes, this does indeed make me look like a cupcake. (It's very ruffly).
Aside it was tossed.
I resisted getting rid of things during the last several months. I thought I should focus first on cleaning, on getting the environment orderly looking, and then go through things and get rid of them. In gathering old things, it's just one more thing to deal with, I told myself: a bag full of things in my room, which would then get moved and be a bag in my car, and then I'd have to make a trip to Goodwill.
Horror of horrors, I know. #LazyAndIKnowIt
So I kept shoving things into my closet. With my new aim to live within my means, I've greatly curbed my habit for picking up needless things at drugstores, so I've at least stopped gathering greeting cards and tiny organizational baskets and holiday decorations.
But let me tell you something, Friends. When a woman offers me hand-me-down clothes, one word flashes across my vision, blinding me to any common sense:
For one, I grew up without sisters. 1, I never had the joy of receiving secondhand clothing that was feminine, and 2, I was not in a place in my youth in which I desired feminine items.
This weekend I started separating clothes in my closet, and I counted 40 dresses.
I called my dad and said the tomboy was gone.
"Why?" he asked, sounding legitimately a little upset, to be honest.
I told him nah, she's still there somewhere, but that she has 40 dresses in her closet.
"Excuse me, who is this calling?" he asked.
We chuckled and talked about our plans for organizing our spaces, then hung up to get back to it.
I tried on nearly every item in my closet yesterday.
A friend of Abby's gave her five bags of clothing to go through, and when A was done trying things on she gave me the remnants.
I had the instinct to keep all of it, blindly shoving it into a corner already crowded with junk, feeding the mouth of the monster closet as well as feeding my stress and anxiety.
I don't know what came over me, but I tried things on. I've always hated trying on clothes, but I did it. I took a walking break, then got back to it.
I gave everything a five second look in the mirror. I asked myself if, competing with so many other items on hangers, this particular blouse or button down would ever be selected to be worn. If the answer was no, I peeled it off and shoved it in a brown paper sack.
I think the most liberating element of this weekend was the honesty within it.
It's just clothing, for crying out loud, but it felt so good to say, "Bailey, you know you will never wear this."
So often we find reasons to keep things because of their value. I've had a perfectly cute flapper dress in my closet for years. The last time I successfully zipped it up was Halloween 2011, and it's been hanging there ever since.
What's the point?
Yes, the dress has value, but if I can't and won't wear it, what value does it have to me? It doesn't. In fact, all it makes me feel is annoyance that I can't fit into it and annoyance that it's taking up space to maybe, someday, be worn on a magical day when I both fit into it and am invited to a costume party.
And as for Halloween, I don't like to repeat costumes. So this flapper dress needed to retire.
And it has. I hope that someone finds it, and thinks, "Wow. What a find." That's exactly how I felt when I found it at a church rummage sale in Kansas, many moons ago.
I'm so ridiculously provided for in this life. I don't need to be greedy within it.
I'm relinquishing my flapper dresses to the thrift store universe.
And you know what? I'm fine. Feeling just fine.


  1. "So often we find reasons to keep things because of their value. ... Yes, the dress has value, but if I can't and won't wear it, what value does it have to me? It doesn't."


  2. I think about that when I clean my plate, too, which I almost always do. If I pay for a meal, why do I think stuffing myself is better/more valable than potentially throwing some of it away? Of course, there's always the option of taking some home. But if there are only a few bites left, I'm like, "I should eat this because I paid for it." Nevermind that I might be overeating and causing myself future health problems by "getting my money's worth." Does the value of the food I'm contemplating throwing away have more value than my health? I'm sure there's some horrid environmental tentant I'm breaking with this logic, but it reminded me of your whole "value of the dress thing" thing. Also, I know this whole comment is only something that a first-world citizen would contemplate.

    1. I hear all of what you're saying. I used to be this way with alcohol. I would never leave beer left in a bottle, because alcohol's expensive. But now if I have a few swigs left and I'm ready for bed, I brush my teeth and leave it. I'm saving a handful of calories. If anything, it teaches me to buy/drink less beer, which I should be doing anyway.