Friday, February 20, 2015

The Great Closet Purge

Funny thing I forgot to mention about Wednesday's choir adventures: I'd collapsed at the back of the sanctuary for the Ash Wednesday service when one of my choir kids came in with his family and enthusiastically headed straight to sit by me. His dad gently tugged him away and said, "I think she needs a break from you right now." I think I could have dealt with him, but still, you've got to love the perceptive and understanding dad. Oddly, that's a kid I have to correct a lot, so I guess it's nice that he still wants to be around me.

In lieu of painting yesterday, I purged my closet. I ended up with two of the big green "lawn and garden" garbage bags full of stuff to donate and one tall kitchen-sized bag of stuff that probably needs to go in the trash, unless I find a place that wants stuff just for rag or other recycling purposes, since these things all have either bad stains or holes. Meanwhile, I put a lot of out-of-season stuff in a big suitcase and stashed it in the upstairs closet. That cleared out enough space that I emptied all of the space bags and under-bed bags (aside for the good ones for the sweaters that require special handling) and still have room on the closet shelves for my hat boxes. I couldn't really follow the "if you haven't worn it in a year" rule because there were good things lurking at the back or at the bottom of the piles that I'd forgotten I had. By getting rid of a bunch of stuff, I found good stuff that I can still use. I'll have to do one more pass on the "good" clothes to convince myself that there's no saving those suits, and that will require trying things on. I also need to go through the handbag collection. I was pretty ruthless with the shoes. If they aren't comfortable, I'm letting myself ditch them. I guess feeling kind of woozy made it easier because I wasn't prone to nostalgia. I was strictly basing decisions on whether I will ever wear that particular item again, not on where I might have worn it in the past.

I do have one suit I'm pretty sure needs to go and that it will be hard to let go of. I bought it in my mid-20s, and it was a jacket, skirt, and slacks combo that was rather 1940s (I could imagine Agent Carter wearing it). It was a tiny houndstooth print in navy and white, with the jacket being a short "Ike" jacket (big shoulders, of course), and the pants were high-waisted and wide-legged. I wore this suit on my first trip to New York. I'd gone to D.C. first and took the train to New York, and of course it seemed like the perfectly appropriate outfit to wear on a train trip. I just needed a navy fedora to go with it. I felt like I should be in a black-and-white movie. I got a lot of compliments on that outfit from random strangers. Now I feel like the shoulders are just too huge, and the pants have that "mom jeans" waist. But man, that suit made me feel like something else -- all grown-up and sophisticated.

I have two other suits I bought in New York on that trip that will also probably have to go. They served their purpose in my life at that time, but I can't imagine wearing them again.

Now I need to find a good place to donate all these things. Most of the charities I've looked up want "gently used" items for a resale shop. These are probably more suited to "well, if you're desperate, these will cover your body and keep you warm" use. A clever seamstress might be able to remake the suits into something worthwhile. Otherwise, there are a lot of old t-shirts.

It feels really good to get essentially a carload of stuff out of my life. That may almost spur me to finish purging my office. At the rate I'm going, getting the house ready to show will be the hard part. Then almost everything will be sorted, and a lot of it boxed up, when it's time to move.

Now, though, I need to spiff myself up a bit to go to the library. Normally, I'd hike there in jeans and a sweatshirt, but the teen librarian at my branch just e-mailed me and said she got an ARC of the upcoming book at a library conference, and she noticed I live in the city and wanted to set up some programs this summer. I told her I actually use her branch and would be by today, so she told me a good time to meet with her. And so it begins ...

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