I was having a very grownup conversation with my boyfriend over the phone when he asked about how closet space would be distributed once we moved in together. Well, I explained, I have a lot of clothes and need a lot of space for them. How much?
It took me awhile to answer. There were the two closets I had in my apartment, four clothing bins (two upstairs, two downstairs), two more closets at my parent’s house, three full dressers and five garbage bags in the basement. If you think that sounds absolutely ridiculous, you’re right.
I could almost sense the disapproval coming through his end of the phone so I countered “Well, I’ve been the same size for almost five years.” But I knew that wasn’t an excuse. How did a totally innocent, occasional frugal (bargain sales are my friend) shopping habit result in two houses full of clothes?
I decided that I would get to work immediately getting rid of everything I didn’t need. Lightly-worn clothes would be given away to Salvation Army. I’d have a Shop & Swap party and exchange some of my treasures with fashionable friends. I’d pass the short dresses that I never really wore anymore off to my younger sister. I’d get over the nostalgic significance in my head (“I wore that dress to my college graduation so I have to keep it,” and the like). Done and done.
Then it dawned on me I do this ‘hoarding’ thing in every area of my life. I have more spices in my kitchen then I’ll ever use, even if I cook something new everyday for the rest of my life. I have a cabinet full of half-used fragrances just taking up space. Shoes that haven’t seen the light of day in months.
And before I could chalk it up to our culture of consumerism (when all else fails, blame society!), I realized I hoard mementos too. Cards, letters, notes, you name it, have all been collecting dust in, get this, a trapper keeper I’ve had since my pre-teen years. Do I really need the first love letter I received from my first boyfriend in fourth grade?
And why am I so damn prone to accumulating stuff I don’t need?
Yes, it’s a first world problem, but it is a problem nonetheless. Especially when it comes time to move and you realize all the unnecessary stuff you have as you pack it all.
I learned I need to be more proactive and disciplined about managing my closet, kitchen space, beauty cabinet, etc. The first step? I’m taking inventory of all the things I really use, regularly, during two month’s time. Chances are I can get rid of most everything else.
Come November, I’ll be hosting shop and swap parties, creating donate/sell/trash/keep piles and even having a garage sale. And more importantly, I won’t be replacing the items I give away with new stuff in a matter of months. I’ll already have everything I truly need.