After all that hoisting to get Hoist The Hangers launched, I needed a little rest!
I hope you got to start the year with a rest, some time with friends and family, that you’ve managed a sleep in, and it has been a relaxed January so far. Going back to work seems to have kicked off for a lot of people this week, so I decided it was time to get to work on Step Two of #hoistthehangers – the pondering & the start of the sorting!
I’ve been contemplating some of the reasons why we hang on to stuff we don’t need – that’s lead to googling, asking about that in a few Facebook groups I’m in and getting some links to some interesting articles and reading people’s responses. People have mentioned control, and having a Depression Era mindset (which if you’re my age, means the generation of our grandparents) and I think both those things come into it. People also talked about materialism, consumerism, keeping up with the Joneses, and I agree on all those fronts too.
Rather than just philosophise about these things generally, I want to examine why I have too much stuff. It’s something that I’ve pondered repeatedly, especially in the past year or two; why so much stuff? How does it serve me? Does it serve me at all?
That’s lead me to think about comfort, and question whether that has anything to do with my more than full wardrobe – for others it might be about keeping magazines, or shoes, or every piece of art their children drew in kindergarten, or tripping over accessories or updating electronics with every new version of a phone/tablet/laptop that’s released.
I think maybe comfort has been part of what has kept my wardrobe overflowing. Somehow, I think I’ve equated feeling protected and secure, and therefore comforted, with that overstuffed wardrobe of things.
For me, it goes a bit like this – when I go to my wardrobe, and see so many things to choose from (even if I only regularly wear 10 or 15 of them) somehow that makes me feel good.
Likewise, when my pantry is well stocked (read, unnecessarily overly stocked), and my fridge has mayonnaise, cheese and vegies in it, I feel good. This has been especially true in this season of unemployment. (You can read about how running out of mayonnaise last year felt here!)
(Bloggy note: writing those few sentences makes me think, oh quick, edit that because you’ll sound shallow. It might be misinterpreted that that’s all I care about. My response – deal with it ego! You know yourself better than that and your readers are kind and smart; trust them.)
Having pondered the whys and wherefores, I decided to make a start last night, at about 11pm. Night owl, much?!
I found the last big green garbage bag in the house, hiding under the now empty hangers from my last clear out, and I set to work.
I took on the easiest things first, the stuff that was hanging on my pathetic little lopsided rack in my storage room, and then I moved on to the tops in my wardrobe.
I used a tip from Nikki of Styling You, the queen of the wardrobe edit. She suggests playing good music while you’re tackling your closet, so I pumped up the volume on the original cast recording from SMASH, and I was away.
I’m pleased to report that I’m now 16 hangers freer!
(By the way, do you like my busted trellis fence? I’ve been calling the agent about that for almost 12 months. Sheesh. Renting.)
Now 16 hangers may not seem like a lot, but it was just the first pass, and of those 16 items, two of them made me wonder if I really should put them in the recycling bag.
There was a top I bought quite a number of years ago, a tee with a cool overscale flower motif, that’s really now a little clingy, and I haven’t worn in over two years, and a pair of 3/4 length linen pants that I’ve really never worn. I talked myself down from putting my arm back into the bag with the top – it went like this – umm, hello, you’ve got PLENTY of other tops, my dear. As for the pants, I wavered, so I quickly tried them on and now know why they were on that lopsided rail, they don’t fit! I could hardly breathe. Into the bag they went, in really good nick, ready for someone to find them at the Salvos or wherever I take them, and wear them gleefully. You’re welcome!
I also ditched a top I wore to a really good friend’s wedding about five years ago. That colour – what was I thinking? Their union remains strong, so I don’t think me holding on to that top (which I can’t recall wearing since their wedding) is the key to their marital bliss.
As I sorted, a few tops I’ve been given made me pause, so I’ve hung them on a rail in my bedroom and I’ll try them all on over the next few days. Whatever works will stay and whatever doesn’t work is destined for the recycling bag. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the friends that gave me the clothes, far from it, but they were in the process of culling their wardrobes too, so if the things they gave me end up on a rack at Vinnies, they’ve just gone there the long way round. Holding on to something just because it was given to you, even though you don’t use it, makes no sense at all. It really doesn’t.
There’s one blouse that I think may just need an alteration, so that may get a special exemption to stay until I can afford to get that looked at. Blouse is such a creepy word, don’t you think?
I’m claiming my first pass at the racks as a victory. I had 99 hangers, and now I’m down to 83.
There’s no final number in my head, but I would like to push myself to really examine everything I’ve got.
I’ll keep reading and thinking about what’s behind getting to 99 hangers, and we haven’t even started on what is under the bed or in my chest of drawers. It’s a good process, and I’m so happy to read that a few people have been inspired to have a look at their wardrobes too – hooray, go you good things! If you follow me on Facebook, I may post some other questions and photos there, to keep the conversation going.
So, that’s where I’m at with hoisting the hangers, I’m feeling lighter already, and I know I can count on you for encouragement if I get a bit stuck.
I had 99 hangers, now I’ve got 83. Progress!
Have you read anything that’s struck you about hoarding, wardrobe culling, materialism or consumerism that you’d like to share? Got any tips for getting from 83 to 60? Do tell!
Until next time,
I remain, yours in hoisting…