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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Emperor's New Clothes?

I have a whole bunch of new clothes. Okay, not really, it just seems like I do.

For over 20 years I have kept two boxes (and various and sundry other) of old clothes that were too good to throw out even though I could no longer fit into them. You know the story, one day I'll . . . and they're too good . . . and I looked so good in them . . . and they were my favorite . . . and a million other reasons not to get rid of them.

We emptied the closet when we repainted the bedroom several months (a year?) ago. Somehow the two boxes, three crates, multiple shopping bags and various and sundry just didn't quite fit back into the same space. Seriously, we didn't do anything to alter the size of the closet, the stuff just would not fit.

Then, a miracle happened. Me TV, Channel 23 in Chicago, started showing reruns of some of those great (horrible) shows from the 80s. Who's The Boss, Charles In Charge, The Facts Of Life, Gimme A Break, and I realized - there was absolutely NO WAY IN HADES I was ever going to wear those 20 year old clothes again. I was not going to save them and cut them up to make quilts or pillows. I was not going to look at them without being sick.

Seriously, the sight of Tracy Gold, her hair tied up like a frowzy willow with a shiny gold lycra schmata (Yiddish for "rag"), a similar lycra thing in electric blue swaddled around her hips, a wildly floral skirt swishing around her leggings-clad skinny legs and an equally garish "thing" serving as blouse (can you say SHOULDER PADS?) was all it took for me to realize the stuff in those boxes, crates and bags had to go. NOW!

So Bill built a shelf system to fit on the existing closet shelf. Off to Ikea we went to buy the exact size of plastic drawer/boxes I needed to fit the shelf, and back home to a weekend of closet clearing. The two boxes? OUT! The crates full of old t-shirts and never worn exercise clothes? OUT! The bags of shoes? GONE! The miscellany of dresses, blouses, skirts and jackets hogging closet space? HISTORY!

I was merciless. I pulled out what I could reach and shoved it aside, quitting only when there was no more space outside of the closet to put the stuff. That first weekend two crates were emptied and refilled with exercise clothes, shirts, shoes and other items and given away to charity. The other stuff is hanging on the coat rack or shoved in the living room waiting for the next pick up day. The plastic boxes are nestled on the shelf, and lovingly folded within are winter sweaters and other clothes that I actually do wear.

The bonus? Room enough to actually slide the hangers from side to side. Room enough to actually get IN the closet to see what's there. Room enough to actually hold the clothes I do wear all the time. No more clothes stacked up on chairs and dressers in the bedroom - now they're IN the dresser!

And best of all, skirts and blouses I had forgotten I had (which fit and which ARE in style) are now visible, accessible and WEARABLE! I'm wearing one today. It's like having new clothes that I didn't have to shop for or pay for! And when I go home tonight and change my clothes, I know I'll have a place to put it so I can wear it again in a week or two.

Next charity pick up date is Monday. My goal is two boxes, minimum! I'll be busy this weekend!

Oh yeah! I also went diving in the front closet and pulled out a wonderful Victorian black widow's dress, my costume as Mrs. Sowerberry in Oliver a few years ago (long enough ago that it no longer fits). Remove zipper, hem the now open back seam and it's ready to go to Tony for his Photo Costume collection, complete with black widow's cap and black mourning apron. He'll love it, and I get to hang up a coat! Yippee!

Quotable Quotes: In the category No thanks, I'm just looking.

"Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes".
Henry David Thoreau, Walden