Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Git ur kleen on, or how many pairs of shoes do I actually own?

Over the weekend, I went to see the little house that Dame Judith purchased, which is always fun for an architect. I provided here with a little professional advice (tear that out, you'll have to cap that, make most of your living happen on one floor), and in return she thrilled me by showing me one of the EPIC WIN bonuses in her new digs--a walk-in closet fully lined in cedar.  Oh, y'all, this closet was Mecca.  And Dame Judith was about to go through ALL of her fantastic wardrobe, pare it down, and move it into this House of Win and Awesome.

It inspired me to do some paring down of my own wardrobe.  The next day, Sunday, I walked over to Bed Bath and Beyond and returned to the Happy Kitten Highrise with some cedar blocks/sachets/thingies and commenced.  For once, I took my own advice and took everything out of my chests of drawers and laid the clothes out on my king-size bed like I was at a clothing store.  Then, I wiped down every drawer and even the innards of the chests themselves with hot water and OxyClean (yes, I was wearing rubber gloves).  While letting my furniture air out, I went shopping in my own wardrobe and assessed my possessions: when was the last time I wore that?  Y'know, I dread putting that on.  I never wear anything even sorta like that.  I can never just wear that--I have to put on a sweater over it to make it look professional.  Everything that didn't make the cut went into a bag to take to Goodwill, and things that were nass-tay went into a trash bag (like undies and socks from college--really? do I still own underpants from 1995?  signs point to yes).

Guy had been at work most of Sunday, so upon his return it was off to the Container Store for a proper shoe rack (mine had broken twice and Guy fixed it for me both times) and a rack for scarves and belts (damn, I still need something for my jewelry--I've got it strewed from hell to breakfast right now).  Back at home, I put the rack together, thinking, Well, this holds thirty pairs of shoes and there's no way on God's green earth that I own that many...

Alas, I do.

I managed to get all my nice and casual shoes in the rack, and they totaled 26.  That 26 doesn't include the hiking boots, nice boots, and running shoes--those put me over 30.  My Imelda Marcos-esque indulgence embarrassed me only slightly more than the discovery that even after I gave away all my poorly-fitting bras, I still own about 20 of those.  I can wear a different bra each day and not have to do laundry for almost three weeks.  Really?  Y'all, I feel a little embarrassed at how much clothing I own.  Even after I cleared out some stuff from my closet (and I still ahve some things on the chopping block), I still have extraordinary luxury in my 5'-0" x 5'-7" closet.  And I still have a burning desire to make it over.  And I know I'm a lucky lucky person.  I'm lucky enough to live in a country and have an income that allows me to simply give away really nice clothes and purses and shoes--I mean nice stuff like a theSAK purse, suede Ann Taylor pants, leather NineWest boots.  I'm lucky enough that I know that even if I were to get laid off, I would still eventually be able to refill that closet if I so chose.  Hell, I'm lucky enough to have the disposable time to sort through my closet and wardrobe and look at things and play Roman Emperor with my garments.

Author and architect Sarah Susanka wrote The Not-So-Big House as a plea to America while it was in the grip of the late 1990s affluenza.  Her plea was to stop building McMansions and other unreasonably big houses with huge closets, attics, and garages.  Stop building paeans to your stuff, she said, and put the money into a smaller, better-constructed, more energy-efficient home.  Build something you can keep clean and maintained on your own.  Build something that holds up well over time and doesn't further pollute the environment with its disposable building and repair materials and cleaning agents and lawn care chemicals and power and water required to run it.  While the HKH and most of my lifestyle are fairly in line with Ms. Susanka's philosophy, my overstuffed closets and drawers were not.

So, while I feel better, much better about lightening the load and actually being able to see my clothes when I look in a drawer, I'm humbled by my little discoveries all the same.


ms. kitty said...

You inspire me, Pixie! I did weed out my shoes earlier this year and took everything I hadn't worn for a year over to the thrift shop. But now I'm challenged to give up the Foxcroft blice and Nordy's tees that go together so nicely but which I haven't worn in a year either. Yikes!

mizscarlett said...

mee too.

i need to do the sameness. I have lots of stuff that I haven't worn since the regan adminstration.

it. all. must. go.

shoes too? Alas, shoes too. If need new ones, I get to SHOP! WHEE!

I shall undertake this endeavor this weekend. Wish me luck.

(Also, I have a stack of T-shirts from college that I am saving to some day make into a quilt. I will not let those go. Yes, I am crazy)

Miss Kitty said...

Plz to send pix of hand-me-downs, kthxbai.

Mile High Pixie said...

Rev Kit: Right on! I know, it's hard to send away some nice things, but I try to console myself with "someone out there deserves to enjoy this more than I have."
Miz Scarlett: Giirrrrl, you ain't lie! I wish you mad amounts of luck on the sorting and chucking. I put my iPod in my ears for about 6 hours to make my cleanup happen.
Kitteh: I noes, I noes, will send piz tonite. lulz!