Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder

Yes, I said clothes hoarder, not the proverbial clothes horse.

I have decided that I am not just someone who likes clothes, I am, indeed, a hoarder.

Oh, not the kind of hoarder where my house is piled high with boxes and dead cats are found under old newspapers. In fact, I have a very tidy home with pristine kitchen counters and uncluttered surfaces.  Well, mostly uncluttered.  I go for the cottage look so that does require a few tchockes to decorate the place.

No, my hoarding is in one area:  clothes and other adornments, also known as accessories.

I know I am a hoarder and not just a clotheshorse, because for some reason, I want to own the thing, have it waiting for me in my closet, but not necessarily wear it. Well, not right away, anyway.

It started early.  Not that my family had the money to allow me to hoard clothes, but when I did get something new, I would not wear it right away.  I would save it for some special but undefined occasion. Just having it hanging in my closet waiting for me gave me a great deal of pleasure. When I met Hubby I was stunned to see him buy something new and immediately put it on and wear it. Why didn't he save it for a special occasion?

No, it's more about the HAVING the item than actually wearing it. My closets are shrines to clothing with the tags still on waiting for just the right moment to wear them!

We might not be aware of it, but clothes represent who we are to the world.  If we only wear sweatshirts and sweatpants, that says one thing about us.  It could say we like to be comfortable and don't really care what people think.  If we are always all buttoned up, it could say we are inhibited or shy.  If we always wear bright colored sexy clothes, we are probably saying, "Hey, look at me!" 

In my case, I haven't really settled down into one style. I think that clothing represents how I want to be, how I see myself at any particular time.  When I see an outfit, I picture it as something that will change my life and I must acquire it. If I put it on, I feel it will somehow transform me.  I am always looking for that perfect outfit.  It's kind of like my dad who played the trumpet.  He kept buying new trumpets hoping one of them would allow him to hit the high notes like Doc Severinsen.

The problem is that perfect outfit keeps changing depending on what is going on in my life, the styles of the day and the size of my body. Maybe that explains why I am such a hoarder. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince and in this case, I have to hoard a lot of clothes to have the right thing when I need it.  Plus, I enjoy the hunt.  However, I realize it's one thing to enjoy shopping, but when you find yourself with almost 100 jackets, hundreds of scarves and earrings, 25 pairs of boots, 100 pairs of shoes (or more but don't tell Hubby), coats up the wazoo, you know you have a problem.

I was lying in bed the other night thinking about this and realizing that there are not enough days left in my life to wear all of the clothes that I now own, especially when you take into consideration mixing and matching and what you can do with accessories.  And though we go out, I don't think there are enough events either that will require them.  I no longer go to work every day because I am retired.  The closest thing to a job I have nowadays is going to the gym so most days you will find me in what is now euphemistically called "active wear."

So I don't really need the sequined sweater that says "Librarians Do It Better" or the pencil skirt with the six-inch slit up the back.  I know I not only need to stop buying, I need to start getting rid of clothes. But even knowing that, there are things I just cannot resist:  anything with fringe, faux fur, velvet, leather and suede and anything sparkly.  You can see that there is a great deal of room for abuse there.

But clothing is a way to express myself.  And if you read my blog, you know I love to do that. But most of us express ourselves through how we dress whether we know it or not.  We use clothing to express our creativity and to put themselves out to the world as a particular person.  If you see someone in tight pants, tight jacket and big glasses, you know he's a hipster.  If you see someone in bell bottoms, a headband and clogs, you know she is a hippie.  If you see someone in a bright colored dress with matching coat, hat, shoes and handbag, you know it's The Queen.

But me?  Us hoarders can't decide.  We want to be all kinds of different people.  One day I might want to be sporty and wear a cute hoody and another day dramatic in a black slinky maxi dress.  Or I might want to look like a 40's glamour queen or a rocker.  I go through these different phases, if you will.  And to make sure I can fulfill the desired look, I must have the requisite clothes hanging in my closet ready for whatever sartorial whim takes my fancy, right?

I think that's the only way I can explain some of these...uh, looks, and why I still have some of this stuff.  As Tim Gunn would say, "That's a lot of look!"


80's Rock & Roller.

Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach?"

I think I was going for a rockabilly look here.


Faux fur look. 

This is my "pinto pony" look. Or does it look more like skunk? I can't resist faux fur of any kind.  I have about 20 fake fur coats and jackets and it doesn't even get that cold here.


My "I love all things UK look."

I can't resist anything with the Union Jack on it even if a woman in her 60's wearing PLAIN Doc Martens would look ridiculous.

"Game of Thrones" got into my head a little here for this look.

I got this from one of those "goddess/witchy/sexy costumes for your husband" catalogs that also sells vibrators.  It even has a little hood with a tassel on the end. It's one thing if I had gotten it to tease Hubby but I've never worn it! 

This is a "Look at me!" look.  Look at me, I'm wearing wooden shoes!

If I could have taken those wooden shoes home from Amsterdam I would have.  I loved Hans Brinker.

And then there's this.  It's a gorgeous dress, but where will I wear it?

See?  It's a disease.

It doesn't help that one of my favorite ways to get exercise is to walk the mall. It's like an alcoholic being hired as the night watchman in a bar.  I walk the mall and if I see something that is 65% off I can't help myself.  Hell, even if it's not on sale and it's a faux fur coat with the Union Jack on the back or a fringed bathing suit, I have to have it.

Earlier today, I just strolled through Ross and bought a couple of muumuus.  Muumuus?  What have I become? But I imagined myself floating around the house like an ethereal hippie with my hippie name, "Violet Skye" that I got from a Facebook quiz.  Anyway, back to the muumuus.  Even though there were selling points I find hard to resist (they were only $9.98 each and "one size fits all!"), but muumuus?  How far have I fallen?  Have I hit my bottom?

So now I realize I am at an all-time low and that's why I an confessing.

So you get the picture.  There is a fine line between a fashionista who uses clothes as a way to express herself and a hoarder where the clothes use her.

So now I need to go back to that book I reviewed a few weeks ago (and made fun of) -"Spark Joy" - by that trendy Japanese de-clutter guru and get some tips.  I saw the author on "Ellen" and she demonstrated how we are supposed to decide what to keep and what to toss.  First of all, you are supposed to put all of your clothes in a big pile. Then, take one item at a time and hold it up to your body, close your eyes and see if it "sparks joy."  If it does, keep it.  If it doesn't, toss it.

Can you imagine how long that would take me and how hard that would be? I have a feeling every item would "spark joy," because I never know when I might need those zebra booties or that "witch jacket."

I know what I have to do, but as Scarlett O'Hara famously said in "Gone With the Wind," "I'll think about it tomorrow."

Right now, just thinking about de-hoarding has given me an anxiety attack and with all of this confessing I have done, I had to soothe my nerves with a little Ben and Jerry's which in turn made me think I should probably get some exercise at the mall.

Pray for me.
Thanks for Reading! 
See you Friday
for my review of the new Netflix original movie 

"Special Correspondents"

 The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."

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  1. Those muumuu's still have the tags on them…I say, "return 'em!" I can tell by your, "how far have I fallen" comment that they definitely do not spark joy. And the whole spark joy thing WILL work and I know you won't hold onto everything. You really won't. When you hold up that skunk coat you will say to yourself, "I never wear this, I don't know why I have it, and I feel silly still owning it." Definitely not a mindset that sparks joy. But if you wear those zebra boots and giggle to yourself every time you put them on…then keep them! They make you happy. You just have to be ruthlessly honest with yourself, and listen to your inner spark. Making a little space in the closet is easy and releases stress. Try it!

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