Real-Life Dialogue: Wardrobe Culling Edition

[The scene: a suburban home in North Florida, USA. He has stayed home from work on this day to prepare a guest bedroom for painting. In this guest bedroom is a closet, and in the closet are His clothes. All of them. Woven shirts, knit shirts, jeans, suits, ties, socks, underwear, shoes… It’s not a particularly big closet. It makes sense, on this occasion, to go through the stuff folded or hanging in there, putting aside usable-but-old stuff for Goodwill donation, throwing away unusable-and/or-old stuff, and just generally… organizing — since He will have to completely empty the closet for painting, and then refill it when the painting’s done.]

She returns home from work.

She: Did you get a lot done?

He: Uh-huh. The bags in the hall are all trash. I’ll take ’em out in a little bit.

She goes to the guest bedroom to inspect the results. She returns, smiling.

She: Didn’t it feel good?

He: Uh…

She: You know — straightening up the clothes. Getting rid of the stuff you don’t wear anymore. It always makes me feel renewed and refreshed whenever I do that.

He: Let me put it this way: there were shirts in there that I bought before we’d ever met.

She: But that—

He: Yeah. Twenty years ago.

She: Sooo…

He: Right again. I can’t say I’ve done this often enough to recognize any patterns at all.

She: [silence]

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  1. Do you think it’s a sex-linked thing? TBG won’t begin to deal with his closet; I do mine before winter and before summer every year. I, too, have shirts from 20 or 30 years ago. i replace the buttons and starch them up and they are still my old friends. If you had bags in the hall you did a good job of culling. Tell us in a week or so if you notice a difference and if it makes you smile.

    • Do you think it’s a sex-linked thing?

      Ha! Even though I suspect you mean “sex” as in “gender.” :)

      We’ve got a completely spare room, nominally “John’s study,” where we keep dumping things we don’t know what else to do with. (And we’ve been in this house for 10 years now.) The closet there holds things like Christmas ornaments and giftwrap, but the clothing rods (is that the term???) are pretty much empty. So I use that closet as overspill; flannel shirts go in there during the (way too many) warm months, and short-sleeved knit shirts get switched in during the cooler ones. But that’s pretty much the only “culling” I do. I love the feel of older clothes, casual ones anyhow — the way repeated washings make everything softer.

      My general sense is that things aren’t all that much improved, because now I have waaaay too many empty hangers.

  2. Well, as for the gender-linked idea, I’d say no. My husband is always ready to throw old clothes away. Now whether or not he’ll put his clothes away…that’s a different issue.

    • I don’t know why I have such an aversion to throwing clothes out (unless they’re worn through or whatever). I’ve never been a clothes horse. I do have “favorite writing shirts,” and usually can associate a particular one with whatever book or other big project I was working on at the time. Those, I can sort of explain.

  3. Well, I can see you haven’t gotten into the uniform, color-coded, just the right number of hangers stage yet. You can double your closet space using the right thin (non-wire) hangers. You can think about matching them to the new paint color of the room.

    • This is scaring me. Is this my future???

      I once read a science fiction story about various types of inanimate objects whose populations seem to wax and wane independently of human need. You’ll go for weeks never needing a paper clip, for example, but noticing them everywhere. Suddenly one weekend you decide to get all organized in your office… and can’t find a single one anywhere. The story’s premise was that these objects were actually stages in the life cycle of formerly unknown animate objects. Paper clips would go into hibernation and metamorphose into clothes hangers, which would then pupate (is that the word?) and emerge as bicycles. I’ve always treated my hangers with respect since reading that story… If they hatch all at once I’ll have some ‘splaining to do.

  4. My daughter and I tore through her closet just before the beginning of the school year. We emptied out more than half of its contents. I’m happy to report the she has discovered the joys of purging (the healthy sort).

    Me, I need my big sis to help me closet-purge. She is a pro at saying, “Ah! Get rid of it!”

    It does feel good, doesn’t it? Especially with a fresh coat of paint.

    • Well, this is the guest bedroom. We almost never have guests, so my thinking might be summed up as, y’know, why get all dressed up with no place to go? Once it’s painted, and the guest we ARE having next week departs (her sinuses probably ringing with new-paint smell), it will probably take me about two or three weeks to stop feeling like a stranger in there. :)

      After my dad died and then, a few years later, my mom moved out of their house, of course the old place had to be emptied out to make room for the new owners. (How unreasonable!) Luckily — well, for me — I lived too far away to help with that. Otherwise, 15-some years later, I’d still be rummaging through storage areas and the basement, picking up fondly remembered objects, fondly remembering them, and putting them right back where I’d found them. The little kids in the new family would have grown up thinking they had some hoarding-fixated crazy adoptive uncle who lived with them.

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