I might have mentioned this before, but I am embarking on a major long-term decluttering project. Later this year my house is going to be renovated — cross fingers it happens. It’s been put off so many times — and I’m going to have to move out while the work is being done.
It’s everything, you see — walls, floors, new bathroom, new kitchen and laundry — and there’s no way I can write while all that is happening.
So I’m trying to get rid of stuff. I have a charity collection coming tomorrow for clothing and so I’m attempting to be ruthless. I’m not very good at being ruthless — there’s a reason my house is full of stuff.
But I’ve just pulled out several large vacuum-sealed bags of “clothes I used to wear, and loved.” They smelled faintly musty, so I put them all through the wash and now I’ve just hardened my heart and packed all of them, clean and sweet-smelling (but unironed) into bags for the charity collection.
It’s so hard. I used to wear a lot of small, delicate silk shirts — I was thinner back then — and also lots of vintage clothing — crepe skirts and jackets, clothes from the 40’s, 50s and 60’s, lace shirts, and general hippy-style clothes as well. I still love them, but I know I’m never going to wear them, even if I got to be that thin again. So I’m biting the bullet and out they go. Someone is going to love them, I know.
But I feel as though I’m packing away my youth, because so many of these items of clothing spark memories and events and people. Some were very special purchases that I had to save to afford, others I discovered by serendipity at a market or in an op-shop, or were passed on by a friend.
There’s the outfit I wore for my graduation — complete with academic gown. I hadn’t planned to formally graduate, and had told my parents that. But the next time I went home for a visit, there was an academic gown hanging on my wardrobe. I took the hint and graduated, and as it turned out the ceremony was quite personal as the supervisor for my thesis was the guy who handed me my certificate. He winked, and I grinned and forgot to bow — Mum was appalled. LOL.
I’m keeping the academic gown. Over the years it’s been used for numerous plays and costumes, but the black cord skirt and African print top is going. My beloved long red boots wore out long ago. But the academic gown is going to be used by a friend next week in a ceremony, so it keeps on proving its usefulness.
It’s tough, giving away the clothes of my past, but I know once it’s all gone I’ll feel so much better. I was planning to start my book cull (shudder — I’m dreading that) but the charity people are not taking anything except clothing at the moment, so the cull can wait. (phew)
PS I realize now that I should have taken photos before I packed stuff away, but it’s too late now — everything’s securely bagged. So here are some of the bags I’m putting out. They don’t look big but each one contains 30-40 items of clothing.
I know how you feel, Anne. I have a navy silk suit that’s almost an exact replica of the one my mother wore when she married my dad. I love that suit and wore it often though of course, I too was so much thinner then. Out of all the things I’ve donated or will donate this week (must be that time of year) that’s the one thing I refuse to part with.
I’m sure whoever ends up with your things will be over the moon :)
Theo, that suit sounds beautiful. I comfort myself with the thought that not only will somebody love many of the things I’ve given away, they will also make money for charity. And I still have more to go . . .
In the past I wore lots of silk shirts and “nice” clothes. That was a long time ago. My life changed, I got a different kind of job, and my wardrobe be came much different. I can sympathize with you….when I finally admitted I needed to let go of the “good stuff”, it was painful. Then I realized that someone somewhere would love them. The things were all classics and that meant that someone would get to use them and enjoy. I use the same mind set to pare down my books. I figure that someone somewhere is going to… Read more »
Yes, Annette, since I’ve become a full-time writer, I don’t have special “work clothes” that need to be nice and ironed and professional-looking. These days I spend most of my time in teeshirts and comfy pants, and my wardrobe consists of these very casual and comfortable clothes, and “conference clothes.” So it was both painful and cathartic getting rid of so many of my old clothes. And yes, I know they will be found and enjoyed by others, and that pleases me immensely. My fear with the books is that I’ll start rereading them — and there are hundreds, maybe… Read more »