The person who uses my closet to store her clothes is a stranger to me. She is smaller, has a bigger life, and cannot bear to part with any outfit that has an event attached to it. She buys many things at TJ Maxx, but these items do not match any other items. Many still have tags. We both like purses and shoes, (they always fit) and never toss them. Real world Janet has had an intervention with the fanciful Janet who filled up this space. The result was my promise to take the closet to the walls, try on and evaluate everything, and purge. I hate making such promises, but for once, I followed through. I can call this the Lost Weekend, because the job expanded to cover 36 hours. My wardrobe has narrowed significantly. It is aligned with my narrow life. A Martha would say, it’s a good thing.
Shoes, boots, purses and such went into laundry baskets. I vacuumed the dust bunnies away, and cleaned off the shelves. Once the closet was empty, I liked the way it looked, and didn’t want to clutter it up again. I also did not want to try on things that would mock my size. I am not delusional: I do not indulge in the “shrinking” notion- I have expanded since my knee rendered me inactive. Did you hear the screaming as I tried to wriggle into jeans? Did my wailing disturb you, as I contemplated muffin tops and back fat? Did the earth rumble when my racked clothes tumbled to the ground, tangling my apparel and a hundred empty hangers? The dogs were terrified by all of the preceding. But I forged on.
Saturday night the stacks and racks made it hard to find a spot to sleep in. I had a philosophical debate with myself: sweaters, hangers or drawers? I could not solve the sweater conundrum, so I slept on the issue…and the sweaters. I awoke with delay tactics in mind: I gave myself 8am-12pm for coffee and newspapers, and then I would return to order my wardrobe. I would celebrate my New Order with the Grammy Awards. If only my timing coincided with reality. I am in bed, finally, as I type this. It is midnight, and I have just completed the reinstatement.
In the upstairs hall, there are 9 garbage bags, filled with my past life-shoes, purses, tote bags, clothing galore (many items with tags) which will soon be relocated to charity. To be honest, some items received stays of execution because they are associated with really happy memories. One or two outfits that tip toe toward “clown clothes” were purchased in the company of my mom- who has been dead for 11 years. I’m keeping them, despite the truth that these clothes were outdated even before Mom crossed over, I also have a few items that were Mom’s- I visit them, and remember her. I can afford a few inches of space to keep Mom’s spirit in the house.
As the day wore on, and I tired of the job, I lost faith that I would ever lose weight, go to fancy places or have the ability to weave the orphan tops and bottoms into outfits. I realized that high heels are incongruent with my imminent knee replacement. Speaking of knees, skirts above the knee would showcase my impending scar. That despair became the engine of change. I detached from stuff I have gazed at for years. My remaining clothes are happily breathing and hanging freely. I am determined to develop a uniform of dark pants and flowing tops- I think I am channeling Maude. Tunics are my new mantra. I have resolved to avoid TJ Maxx like the plague. Well- I’ll limit my visits, at least.
To keep things orderly, I have created rules. For every new thing I bring home, I have to ditch something. All hangers must be notched store hangers, or fuzzy flat hangers. Skirts go on the waterfall skirt hangers. Each pair of pants gets its own hanger- no doubling up. Shoes are stored piggyback, and must be returned to their slot.
It is only a matter of time before my lack of discipline creeps back.
In the mean time, I am feeling accomplished. And chubby. I have winnowed my wardrobe down with such efficiency that I have enough hangers to open a store. I do not want to fill them up…until I am a size 8. And trust me, that will never happen. Next: drawers. Inside them is my life in bathing suits. This is destined to be another cruel journey.
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