When you grow up in a big family with lots of siblings and not a lot of room, someone is always up in ya bizniz. There is always a sibling to “borrow” your shit. I wore uniforms in high school but I had a few things from Delia*s (yes, THAT Delia*s) and probably Goodwill since that was the cool thing in the 90s. Our middle sister, despite being a few inches shorter than me and differently endowed than me, would “borrow” my clothes all the time.

I finally learned to arrange my closet by color from white to black, then by sleeve length within each color. It was the only way I knew what was missing and set me up for a sweet case of future insanity. My closet was white tank tops to long sleeve black shirts and blouses. Riveting.

I’ve been unemployed for over a year now and have had time to stop and think about things, like what do I want to be when I grow up? So flash that forward to today, when I was laid up on the couch with a bad back (pulled it on Saturday like an idiot) and listening to You Made It Weird when Pete had Iliza Shlesinger as the guest. You can listen to it here.

They were talking about lots of silly things but also about authenticity and being real and you know what? The last decade of my career has been about doing the thing to make money – that’s it. Was I good at it? Moderately, depends on who you ask. Did I pay my bills? Yep, although now I’d like to punch younger me for wasting some of it but whatever. It served a singular purpose and that was making money to pay bills. One day you might wake up and realize you haven’t been doing what you love since you quit dancing when you’re 16.

WTF does this have to do with your clothes and your dumb career? Thanks for asking. I purged my closet today – really, truly got rid of everything that does not serve me anymore. I follow a delightful Canadian blogger/writer/thinking-person named David Cain and he recently completely purged his entire apartment in a systematic and thoughtful way. You know I didn’t follow anything systemically or thoughtfully.

So this afternoon after I saw the amount of mandatory discussion posts that are due this week for my classes I thought “let’s purge the closet instead.” And I did. What did I find?

  • FOUR pairs of black dress pants, exact same size and cut and a blue pair, same size and cut. GONE.
  • Tan blazer two sizes too small that is also missing a button. GONE.
  • A couple of business dresses that just made me sad looking at them. GONE.
  • Three completely different kinds of skirts that I have no use for right now and no foreseeable use for in the next year. GONE.
  • A bunch of shirts/blouses that I haven’t worn in over a year. GONE.
  • Four tank tops that get super stretched out the second you put them on. GONE.
  • Four (?) different kinds of purses/clutches/bags that I haven’t used in probably three years or more yet keep getting put into moving boxes and dragged along. GONE.

I also went through my make-up drawer in the bathroom vanity. FUN FACT: eye shadow with any kind of glitter makes my eyelids itch like crazy. I had FIVE little Bare Minerals eye shadow jars that I can’t wear. Why was I keeping them? Because I spent money on them and felt bad throwing them out. Well guess what? You can’t sell them back either. GONE.

How many duplicate make-up brushes did I have? About 32 million, for use with all the eye shadows I can’t wear because I’m probably allergic to them. GONE.  *At least a dozen elastic, over-stretched, smelly headbands that I used to wear to the gym when I was crazy training. GONE.

(*Editor’s note – I don’t care how you interpret this sentence. I was training a lot aka “like crazy” but it also made me crazy hence training to be crazy so either way fits here. There is no preferred reading – MASTER’S DEGREE APPLICATION, ACTIVATE!)

See what I’m getting at here? I can’t use it and I can’t sell it so it has to go. Cain talks about holding onto things out of guilt and then we feel more guilt. YUP. I wrote myself a little reminder about how I don’t actually need any more new clothes (outside of a pair of black skinny jeans because I do) because now my closet only has things I LOVE. Get it? Some of the clothes that are in good shape will go to consignment but whatever they won’t accept get taken to Goodwill, along with a bag of a million Tupperware containers we were dragging around move to move.

Rad things I found in the purge:

  • Tragically Hip T-shirt I bought at a concert with my friend that was the last one they had so I had to buy it off the little mannequin
  • Buffalo Fire Department T-shirt from my grandpa, who retired as a captain (BRAGGING)
  • Lisa Frank multi-colored pen in a bag, the kind that you push the little buttons for the different colors
  • Lululemon blue and yellow capris that are like Wolverine and a pair of black track pants (I’m sure they totally fit)
  • Two Bills and two Sabres T-shirts (I usually buy a new shirt for every season)
  • Pair of thermal flower PJ pants that are totes cozy

So in conclusion, the system I grew up in drove my future behavior and tendency to hang on to things out of a scarcity mindset rather than a need- or appreciation-based mindset. Letting go of excess and being true to you is the key to not going completely insane while unemployed in a vast wasteland of country that you should probably stop passive-aggressively making comments about to your husband because he really is doing his best and being a great sport and you didn’t have to leave Seattle so you are in a hell of your own making and haven’t really put in a legitimate effort to get to know the area and made a couple solid acquaintances and just really need to put forth a better social effort, you know, but you are a hardcore introvert and also do dumb shit like throw out your back so really are you fit for public appearances? We may never know.

But who is pissed this isn’t about me vomiting because I have to tell you, I basically did just vomit all over your brain.


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