The Stuff – Closet Results

My closet -- before

My closet — before

You have seen the situation in our closet, and you’ve seen it all laid out across our bedroom in preparation for doing the KonMari sort.

(We appreciate correspondent Joan’s concern regarding how we would ever be able to go to bed with all that stuff piled on it. No, problem, Joan: we moved to the condo for a long weekend. Kidding. Before taking off, I went through the entire mess.)

Picking through the stuff one item at a time, I tried to be brutally honest about each piece’s worth with respect to its place in my “wardrobe” and my affections. The results were probably divided between decisions based on “bringing joy” as Marie Kondo would have it and serving a function. I was surprised by how little sentimentality played in deciding. It was much easier to cast off my personal belongings than to relinquish my daughters’ childhood outfits, many of them made by family members. (That was largely dealt with years ago when we relocated to our current home.)

In general, this is the way it shook out. Many items had not been worn in years. Whatever the original need or attachment, I was able to let go. Next, many were a poor fit, either because I was no longer that size or it was an ill-advised purchase from the start. Out!

Shoes: oh, my. With my years of knee problems and trying to get comfortable walking, I had amassed a collection that was approaching Imelda Marcos’s legendary stash. I am now able to assess most pairs and decide whether they solved the problem or were just hangers-on. A few more pairs to be put through their paces, but this won’t take too much longer. (Aside: I have found a British shoe company, Hotter, that makes my feet happier than they have been in many years. Three pairs came home with us last fall, and two more pairs arrived recently for the warmer months.)

What about the stuff that stayed? Many items were pieces that filled a function. This is quite different from bringing joy. If I kept only things that bring me joy, I could well be wearing the same thing every day. Also, I want clothes that are functional and make me feel good about being seen, but I truly do not want to enter into a deeply personal relationship with them. For me the concern is that they do their job.

I have a few old standbys. There’s the very nondescript sun-blocking shirt that can go with anything when we travel and works with most casual attire. I have dubbed this my “essential shirt.” Joy? No, but grief should it self-destruct. There are sweaters that I can throw on after 10 or 20 years and feel enveloped by their warmth. They stay as long as I can keep them in repair.

Other items are just plain mundane. Some are carry-overs from our previous professional lives. In the year before I retired, I bought a good three piece suit. Why? I told myself that it would get me through the last year at work and that, being black, it would be suitable for funerals and other formal occasions thereafter. It has not disappointed. In fact, I may have to replace it. There are a couple more “business” suits that I brought with me. (A great number went to a church shop before we left.) While most have both a skirt and pants, it is the pants that are most used. Which of us wants to get into stockings anymore? Still, I keep the suits intact.

After all that, here’s what it looks like now. Not a result that would earn anything much more than a D+ from KonMari, but so much better than when I started.




Next up: Odds and ends.


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