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Confessions from a fat girl’s closet…

September 10, 2009

closet-long-sleeve_300Photo: Real Simple by Scogin Mayo

I had to write this post, if for no other reason than to use that title. It’s been rambling around in my head for a few days now.

After spending the past few weeks doing long needed yard work, repairs, painting, etc. around this pitifully neglected house, I finally decided to brave the scariest task of all! Every woman knows what I’m talking about. That would be the dreaded closet rehab.

Due to family considerations, we spent the last three years in another city. We’ve returned to a house which is now afflicted with a bagful of maintenance avoidance issues. Don’t you just love that overblown phrase – maintenance avoidance issues ? It sounds like the psycho babble of a home maintenance shrink. Anyway, whatever you want to call them, we have a ton of these niggling issues that have festered under our three year policy of benign neglect. They are exactly the type of problems you would expect to crop up when homeowners are suffering from the too-much-on-your-plate-syndrome. Another one of my fancy diagnoses.

So the things that usually take precedence immediately following a move were not at the top of our list. We found ourselves holding our fingers in the dike to stem the flow of decrepitude around here, while simultaneously shoring up all the little things that were screaming for attention. Unpacking boxes, cleaning closets, etc. were not priorities.

This finally brings me to the subject which the title of this post implies. Yes, I’ve finally gotten down to the business of the horror that is my closet. ‘Tis a woeful tale I tell you, and a confession that is even more shameful when I admit that we had only lived in this house four years before we moved away for three years to help a sick family member. In other words, we had moved from another house only four years before, and I had discarded all that I thought unworthy of the move. Theoretically, this closet should only house things that I thought worthy of making the move at that time. Ha!

I will not divulge all here. Let us not discuss the shoes. Oh, look away! The shoes alone would bring a tear to your eye. And I can not admit to the brand spakin’ new suit, never worn, tags still dangling from its exquisite sleeve – two sizes ago when Weight Watchers was still a part of my life. Now it just hangs there, protected by nothing more than an old and dusty garment bag.

*clearing the throat and dabbing the eyes*

And I can’t forget that uncomfortably small dress coat with classic lines that I loved so much – very old but like-new. I gave it to Goodwill. And hats! I don’t even like hats. Who knew I could have so many hats? Not me. Six stuffed-to-bursting garbage bags later – four for Goodwill and two for the dump – my closet still is not what I want it to be.

Seriously, women who, um, fluctuate in size and weight have certain closet anxiety challenges that others do not. It just doesn’t feel right to pitch perfectly good clothing that is good-as-new, only it’s the wrong size. The guilt alone is sometimes enough to force me to put it back on the hanger, and place it in the closet for another few years, telling myself the big lie, Maybe I’ll lose enough to wear it someday. I try to convince myself that someone else will find it to be useful, but it still feels like waste and excess to me.

So this is how I’ve been spending the past few dark and rainy days. As raindrops drizzle down my windowpanes, to chase the shadows away, I switch on a small light that sits on the dresser, and I remind myself to be merciless. I tell myself to let go of the red blouse my sister gave me. She passed away a few years ago, and I counsel myself to keep the memory but release the blouse. Keep the good feelings but give up the stuff. I’m following through on  my promise to myself about letting go of the clutter, and I’m making a new promise to myself to buy less, to buy only what I need, and to be more respectful of all that I have.

But I have to tell you, there has been much conjecture amongst the neighbors about the mournful wails escaping my bedroom walls.

Check out Real Simple’s 31 ways to make over your closets.

Here’s another article you may enjoy from ZenHabits on How to Declutter.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 18, 2009 12:33 pm

    Thanks for your post and the lovely picture on top )

    This made me feel really sad… this closet story… I never realized that a closet can keep a whole life inside of it. I’m thinking about my current store (I say *current* due to my constant relocation – nothing is permanent with me ) – there’s a blouses’ pile, pants’ pile, short-sleeved shirts, skirts… some winter clothes… Not much after all. What I like to do is revise it from time to time and make a clean up. I like throwing things away much more than making order among them ) And I have a rule: if I haven’t worn a shirt for over a year or two, but have kept it because “oh, it looks like new, I put it on just once, I’ll put it on in the future for sure!” – I GIVE IT AWAY no matter what (to my mom, sister, friends – whoever).

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