Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Outfit Post: Sentimental old sap or crazy crazy hoarder?

One of my favorite TV shows is Hoarders on A&E. If you've never seen it, you are missing out on one of the most fascinating sociological experiments of our time (aside from Jersey Shore, that is.) Hoarders documents the exploits of people who, for whatever reason, cannot throw things out. Whether it's a childhood stuffed animal collection, stacks of canned tomatoes, or rusting fetid beer cans, the items pile up to the point where they are literally eating the house. Though hoarding seemed to be the hot-button topic of 2010, it's hardly new. In 1947 Langley and Homer Collyer, two well-heeled New York City brothers, died after becoming trapped under 170 tons of debris. One suffocated after being crushed by a tower of baled newspapers. Clearly, these guys had issues.

I audibly cringe when watching Hoarders, mostly because I just cannot understand the thought process behind hoarding. I don't consider myself much of a sentimental person. I'm not one of those people who believes items have the magical ability to transport them back to the time of their origin. Back in high school, when my friends were saving the pens discarded by their crush and rereading notes passed between them from sixth grade, I was cleaning out my locker, gleefully tossing the previous week's notes. During cleaning spurts I am cold and ruthless when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to toss. If I don't need it, it goes. Period.

However, I will concede that there are a few things I will never, ever get rid of. And all of these items are clothes or accessories. Like the Santa outfits worn by my twins when they were newborns. Sure, they're covered in baby drool and smell a tiny bit like spit-up. Will they ever wear them again? No. Do they serve any purpose at all, aside from making my uterus weep? No. boys wore them during their first Christmas photos. And they're awfully cute. The outfits I mean (though my boys are pretty darn cute too.) So they stay.

There's also my prom dress - a dress so horribly, spectacularly tragic that it makes me wonder if I suffered a mysterious head injury before purchasing it. It reminds me of a simpler time, a golden age when I sported a bad perm (which I sprayed into submission with Aussie Scrunch Spray) and did hard time in detention for talking in class (sadly, this happened a lot.) In addition, I've got a too-small leather bomber jacket I scored on eBay, ancient concert tee shirts, 107263 pairs of designer jeans, multiple pairs of black ballet flats, and a J Crew argyle sweater I purchased with money saved from babysitting. In high school. The dress I'm wearing today, picked up during a particularly fortuitous thrifting excursion back in 2006, is another one of my can't-let-go items too.

Many people create attachments to clothing for one reason or another. Over time, these clothes can take up too much space and create a cluttered closet. While I believe in sentimental value, there has to come a point where you have to differentiate the important things from the not-so-important stuff. There are certain things that I will never get rid of (see items above, though I could stand to pair down my denim collection.) And others, like those skinny aspirational-sized pants I hold onto to torture myself with, need to be donated immediately. The feeling of needing to keep everything is hard to get rid of. But the value of having less crap in your closet is priceless.

Do you have things in your closet you could never get rid of? How do you determine what to keep and what to donate/throw out?

Thrifted Loft denim shirt; thrifted Forever 21 dress; Anthropologie lace camisole; thrifted Coach belt; thrifted vintage Coach satchel; Frye boots; Target socks; Plato's Closet leather bracelet; Betsey Johnson gold watch

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