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Your lifestyle, your quirk
When it was suggested that I start writing down all my random thoughts into a column, my initial reaction was, "But I already have a blog."
"But you could have an actual column, too. You know, and talk about things."
"You know. Your life or whatever. I'm sure there's other twenty-somethings out there trying to figure it all out. Everyone freaks out and goes on a self-improvement binge before 30. You can, too!"
Wait, what's this about a self-improvement binge? I don't remember any self-improvement binge. I get the idea of constantly trying to better myself, but I didn't realize it was linked to the third decade…what else aren't people telling me?
Anyway, here I am, being a columnist, and trying to share…something along my disquietingly short road toward 30.
So let's get to sharing!
One of the things I've been meaning to do for a while is to clean out my closet. It's always at the back of my mind: Suz, you don't wear this. Suz, that's just taking up space. Suuuuuz, that is just ugly, why do you keep it?
(Please note, the fine wardrobe pictured above is not my closet.)
The StyleQuirk gig is initially what prompted me to start dressing better; after a year of freelancing, my idea of personal style had turned into "Bathrobe & Ratty Slippers," which, as you can imagine, doesn't really go over well during Skype meetings. Besides that, turning 29 reminded me that maybe it's time to start clearing out the baggage, so to speak. We all have baggage, be it emotional or just plain physical. We hang onto things, thinking they'll be useful down the line, or possibly shaming ourselves into believing we need to keep them because it's a waste otherwise.
The problem here is that I live in an apartment that is 500 square feet and not one inch more. My furniture is largely hand-me-downs or garage sale finds (except my bed and dresser!), and it's all big and not really suited to this small space (although I make it work). Small space, lots of stuff…and I'd like to redecorate sometime in the next few months. So I've started doing what I should have done a few years ago: clearing stuff out. And yes, maybe clearing out the closet would lead to clearing out other things, like undergoing a crazy metamorphoses and emerging as an obnoxiously fresh-faced optimist.
If you do a Web search on closet cleaning, you'll turn up all kinds of books, blog entries, and advice. Oprah's website has a small article up featuring advice from Adam Glassman, who I assume is some sort of Cleaning Expert. He cites the familiar "If you haven't worn something for two years, toss it," but also adds, "If it doesn't fit you anymore, get rid of it" and "Don't fantasy dress."
Don't fantasy dress? Does he mean I have to toss my corsets?
Like Adam, I broke down my closet into particular categories and went from there. As an aside, the cleaning tips I followed are geared toward clothing, but they can probably apply to books, computers, and possibly men, if you've been eyeing your on-again/off-again boyfriend.
I sorted items into these categories:
Okay, odds of me gaining/losing enough weight to fit back into this are slim to none.
Well, it fits, but I have other pieces I like better.
This is here because I feel bad about not wearing/using it and am mildly ashamed by the idea of dumping it.
Well, maybe one day…
After an hour of pulling things out of drawers and off hangers, I realized I had a bunch of the "maybe one days" in my closet, mixed in with a few "well, it fits." I didn't have anything junky, having tossed the ragged stuff after I graduated college, but I was definitely looking at varying degrees of classiness, which I guess is what happens when you leave an office job and can't bring yourself to dispose of your suits. You know, just in case you need them for interviews in between working your Bathrobe Chic style.
Almost everything fit, at least to varying degrees, which did make me happy. But I had things in there I'd purchased in 2008 and never worn.
Yeah, I know. Messed up. And it's the sort of thing you don't even think about until you get to that point.
You have a choice when this situation happens. You can say, "Well, it's a nice piece, I'll give it a chance." If you've bought it within the last year, fine. But if it's that old…the only exception I made was for a green dress that I wear on St. Patrick's Day. It's too cute to give up. Yes, I really just said that.
I folded the shirts, the sweaters, and the jeans, and the shoes, and put them into a pile on my bed.
Then there's the handbags.
Maybe this is the "fantasy dress" Adam talks about. He has a story about Oprah and her purses that I didn't really read, but I did go through a "I want to be fashionable" phase in the mid-2000s, spurred by my time spent with a very glamorous group of career women. I've always been most comfortable in jeans and a tank top, but these gals always looked fabulous, and I wanted to look fabulous, too. I think it was my one effort at really trying to live the Sex and the City dream.
So I went for clothing and handbags, as women are wont to do. And I never used any of them.
Well, that's not entirely true. I used some of them. But not all, and certainly not the way they should be used. Most women apparently rotate bags. I…do not. Since 2010, I've used this tiny little cross-body bag from Brass Plum that I adore (and it's getting worn out…any lookalikes out there?). I'll bust out the bigger, classier bags for important occasions, or pair a clutch with a dress, but overall I'm just not a purse fanatic.
By the time I was done I had quite a pile sitting on the bed, and I wasn't sure whether I ought to kick myself or be proud of my work. The idea of getting rid of it -- whether via donation or just pawning it off on friends -- seemed like a waste. I'd spent all that money on this stuff over the years, and I should at least try to get more use out of it, right? Otherwise it was dollars down the drain. I briefly toyed with the idea of making myself wear it all for the next month, just to see if I could.
Then I realized that thought process was probably the first step on the road that leads to being featured on Hoarders: Buried Alive.
"You are not enriching my life in any way," I said to the pile. Then I shoved it all into a couple of bags. I'll let my mother take first crack at them, then my friends, and the rest will be donated.
And thus went my first big project of 29.
I guess I could tackle my books next...