Big Bags of Crap

On Sunday afternoon I went crazy.

I went in my walk in closet to find a particular shirt and I couldn't even find my hand. My closet has become the Bermuda Triangle of our house. Twice a month the cleaning lady comes to our house and twice a month I shove laundry baskets of crap into my closet. I shove bags of shit (OK, not real shit, but you get my drift) into my closet: art projects from school, dirty clothes, clean clothes that I haven't had time to put away, books, sheets and towels. Stuff goes in there and never comes back out. Besides all of this crap that really doesn't belong in a closet I have clothes in there that haven't been worn outside since 1990.

I tried to push into my closet and when I couldn't get the door open all the way, something inside of me snapped. "That's it!" I screamed. I stomped into the kitchen and grabbed the box of garbage bags and stomped back to my room. I logged into my computer (Yes, I wanted to check Facebook just one more time before I started my journey. This was going to be hard and I needed some virtual ((hugs)) to keep me going!) and scheduled an appointment with my favorite donation center to come and pick up the good stuff I was bound to find in there. (Plus, I needed a deadline to work towards if this was gonna get done!) Someone will be there on Tuesday! the donation center's site told me. Shit. That's quick. Better log off Facebook. One more look ... Yum! Trisha's lunch looks delicious!

I started pulling piles of junk out of my closet and organizing it into two piles: TOSS/RAGS (Q: How many t-shirts can a person own that are misshapen and pit-stained? A: 30. Upside: New Rags!) and DONATE.

It was quickly apparent that I have a problem. Remember a while ago when I thought Adolpha might be a hoarder? If she is, it's my fault.

I had a pile of jeans on my bed ready to donate. Jeans that haven't been worn since 1990. Light denim jeans with high waists and no stretch in them. I don't know about you, but I haven't worn jeans without a bit of stretch in them for at least 10 years. Plus, do you remember how HEAVY jeans used to be? I bet this pile of jeans weighed 25 pounds. Despite all of these drawbacks, this pile of jeans kept calling me back. Maybe you'll need to do some messy yardwork, I told myself. You won't want to wreck your good stretchy jeans. You should keep some of those for messy yardwork days. Yeah. Guess how many times I've done "messy yardwork" since 1990? If you guessed "none" you'd be right.

I took a deep breath, said a quick goodbye to my old friends, jammed the jeans into a garbage bag, and turned my attention to a pile of power suits circa 1994. The shoulder pads! The pin stripes (yeah, I had a real affinity for pin striped jackets)! The modest, knee skimming skirts! The matching sensible pumps!

The suits were easier to bag up than the jeans. I hope there is never an instance in my life that I am required to wear a suit. Or if there is I'll just buy a new one that isn't so ... what's the word I'm looking for? Matronly. Seriously, who wears a matronly suit at 25? This girl did.

The final piles were more Eddie Bauer, Lands End, and J. Crew sweaters than a person should be allowed to own. I think at one point in my life I must have thought every day was a catalog shoot for these brands. It didn't matter what the occasion, I had the perfect sweater for it!

Going boating? Let me just grab my cable knit fisherman sweater!


I ended up keeping this one. I might go boating again and it will come in handy.

Berry picking? How about this jaunty, cozy fall cardigan?


Yeah, I guess I never went berry picking, because this one still has a tag on it. According to the tag I bought this on clearance for $40. Ahh, the days before I had kids and I could spend money willy-nilly!

Christmas party? At a cabin? In the woods? No worries, I got it covered.

Really funny story about this sweater. I'm writing it right now for my new book, but let's just say imagine me going to lunch at Le Cirque in Manhattan wearing this sweater paired with a prairie skirt and meeting Ivana Trump.

I worked tirelessly all day yesterday finishing up before my deadline and I am ready for the pick up this morning. I have 16 trash bags full of clothes, shoes, and accessories.

I am rarely embarrassed, but this morning I am embarrassed by my front hall. No one should have over two decades worth of clothing sitting in their front hall.

No one should have ever bought half of this stuff to begin with. Did you see that Christmas sweater? Believe it or not, it was a favorite!! Let's just say, Ivana was not impressed.

I've been told that the 90s styles are coming back. Ugh. Well, I have some good news for any short, plus-sized hipster who will be shopping at my local thrift store in the next week or so. Go get it, girl!


41 comments:

Kris at AintNobodysMama said...

You may want to grab that tree cardigan. You can sell that sucker on eBay under Vintage Ugly Christmas Sweater. Add some sequins and the tag line "worn by famous author" and you are golden!

Jen Piwtpitt said...

Digging it out now . . .

ComfyTown Chronicles said...

OMG, you have some great entries for http://www.uglysweaterstore.com/ <-- REAL web site and real Facebook page.

I have that closet, too, we call it "The Laundry Room" and it inspires my husband to actually willingly drive to the Goodwill, to drop "bags of shit" off, almost every month.

Michelle said...

In the 90's Eddie Bauer was the bomb. No apologies. Ditto for metal hair clips with giant bows attached. And overalls...of all lengths and materials. If only I still had my Winnie the Pooh appliqued cardigan...

Anonymous said...

The more I read your entries the more I know we are cut from the same cloth. I too went into my closet this weekend. I have not finished but did managed to get rid of 120 shirts. Most of them circa 1990 silk blouses for work and t-shirts that would have never seen the light of day again.

The picture of the sweater you kept, I am pretty sure I have it and in the same color. I kept it too. Now living in Mississippi, I never know when there might be a random blizzard.

Michelle said...

OH I can so relate. I end up keeping things for Halloween (which move from the closet to the attic!) and get attached to remembering what I paid for something and thinking maybe I can get a few bucks back... its so frustrating. Good for you for moving out those 16 bags you've inspired me... time to spring clean!

Jen T said...

I have that closet too, and the basement. The basement that is littered with bags and bags of children clothes. Those little ones go through so many clothes in their first few years of life. I have visions of selling them. I have visions of keeping little outfits that remind me how cute and small they are. But really I know that will never happen.

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

I hope you autographed the tags on those. That'll do wonders for the resale value.

Denise McDevitt said...

I did shoes this week. My downfall is black boots, short, tall, high heel, mid heel, wedge, flat, suede,leather and anything else you can think of...size 9 all 18 pairs at goodwill. Don't feel bad for me...I have plenty more :)

Starr said...

I have spent the last year being ruthless about my wardrobe. Zillions of bags have gone to charity and some clothes have actually had to go in the trash because they were in such bad shape.

And now I have nothing to wear and no money to replace anything.

Deann Salazar said...

This entry makes me itchy. My mother was a hoarder (okay not a real hoarder with bags of trash and cats but you know one with copies of newspapers from every birthday for us kids, the art project we did week 5 of preschool, and week seven's, and ten's, the permanently buried dining room table).

I wish I could be one of those people who have 100 possessions to their names tops, but they are usually super hippies who have children named Leaf and Elfen who are okay getting a homemade flower wreath for their hair on their life celebration days and winter solstice festivities.

L Morris Stum said...

HA! Seriously, it's an illness.

L Morris Stum said...

Why do we do this to ourselves?

WordChazer said...

Black boots...oh yes!

WordChazer said...

I would love to say I am as ruthless as you appear to have been, Jen, but at last count I can't even log into my preferred site for removing my clothes from my possession when they have reached the end of their time with me. The house loft is the usual hoarder holdall in this house and with two packrats in the place... I booked a week off work next month to spring clean!

RachRiot said...

If this "writer" thing doesn't work out, you can always open your very own sweater outlet. Jen's Ugly Garment Garage. C'mon down to J.U.G.G.S!

Anonymous said...

I have a closet full of clothes. They aren't ugly. They're the more painful "cool clothes that don't fit anymore." These are a close cousin to the high-heeled shoes that Moms don't wear but keep for someday that never comes. Crap I'm totally making myself depressed with this - GAH. Anyhoo that's my hoarder closet - if I throw them away I'm acknowledging that they'll NEVER fit so instead my closet is overfull of clothes that DON'T fit.

Amanda said...

You mean you've never been to an ugly Christmas sweater party???? I say keep that one and host an ugly Christmas sweater party!

Rachel said...

I've moved so many times recently that I don't have a lot of stuff (except books, but they're important!) so I'm constantly amazed/disgusted at how much useless, unnecessary, pointless crap other people have.

Karen said...

Mary Mother of God, I think I live with the male version of you! I can't even think about the pile of sneakers and boots that have been set aside for the time he needs to--and I quote--tar a roof. And white socks. He has enough white socks to do a Sha Na Na reunion for the next 20 years. Which does not work well with my OCD for having socks matched and rolled. Oye Oye Oye!

Karen said...

P.S. Notice I said nothing about the space bags full of 1980s party dresses and that one bra that I am convinced that I will someday fit into again (it's pretty sexy).

Teeny said...

OMG woman, you need Poshmark! Makes some cash of that sh*t!

Teeny said...

One word: Poshmark!

Lucky Mama (Little Rock Mamas) said...

If you want to feel better about yourself, you should come to my house. You just have a closet of shame. I have a whole room of shame, not to mention my basement. Clothes don't even make it into the closet, they are simply piled on furniture in the room of shame, also known as my office, in the 5 minutes before the housekeeper is due to arrive. And the basement -- well I can't think about that room without needing medication.

BadParentingMoments said...

I'm sorry, but, the Christmas sweater is the fucking business. You just need a glitter gun and some of those puffy balls that used to be standard issue on ankle socks and you are golden.

TNMom said...

Love it!!! I do this too!! I had my $130 Partylite waterford crystal serving bowl on the floor of my closet, you know from the cleaning lady being there, and I kicked it one day and it BROKE! I was devistated!! That was IT! I went in there like a bat out of hell! I only did shit though, not clothes, so never fear, all my 90's clothes and shoes are still in tact! They will go soon, though, except for my crop silver jacket that makes me colder than warmer, I will have that thing in my grave with me. I'll tweet you a pic, it's AWESOME! :)
<3 Devan

Carebear said...

my coffee almost cam through my nose about "tarring a roof"!! CLASSIC!

Ann Bryant said...

If it makes you feel better I am an anti-hoarder having grown up with my mother always on the brink of being a full-blown hoarder. Thankfully that was before the dawn of TLC and all day cable t.v. so we were never in danger of being mortified on national television.
I religiously get rid of stuff. I make monthly trips to Goodwill, my garbagemen hate me and I organize and store everything else within an inch of its life.
Yet for all of this when we moved this weekend (something I had been packing and preparing for, for two months) massive amounts of crap just kept appearing everywhere. My basement apparently had become the breeding grounds for every kind of useless shit you can imagine. We kept thinking we had everything and then would find more shit! And our house was very modest in size. It was my whole half of a house of shame when all our friends and family came to help us load the truck. While moving was an amazing motivation to get rid of stuff I'm not sure I recommend it.

Ann Bryant said...

I forgot to mention that dealing with my basement was like watching the episode of Friends about Monica's closet. Apparently my basement was just a really big closet where I stuck all the things I couldn't get rid of but didn't fit into my OCD organization in the rest of the house.

Wendy Wainwright said...

Holy crap (or carp if you like)! Seriously though, I think my motivation might have been in your closet because it sure as hell isn't in my house (although my closet is sort of the same as your closet was so theoretically it could be in my closet but I don't think it is because I yelled in there and it didn't respond. At all.). Anyways can you check and see if you accidentally donated my motivation the other day and if not, send it back to me and if so provide the phone number/website/whatever contact information of the donation taking people. Thanks.

http://marginalia.wendysahl.com (currently under reconstruction)

Anonymous said...

I toss and I toss and I toss some more. I have donated countless bags of clothing. And I really don't acquire more very often at all. The occasional dress for a Christmas party and some new LLbean tees, but I doubt I spend more than a couple hundred bucks/year - tops - on clothes. Seriously. So WHY do I have so many clothes? WHY? (And why haven't I made a dent in my cellar junk?)
I'm beginning to think my stuff has a really good sex life and doesn't use contraception.

Anonymous said...

I give away trunkloads of stuff 2-3 times a year. I too think that my stuff multiplies. I've got an idea, why don't all of us here make a commitment to get rid of two items for every one that we buy/acquire for the next month!

Jessica said...

Hahaha, this so much.

Sadie K said...

Jen,

Pat yourself on the back hard! Or many times- or however you choose to say "atta girl" to yourself.

Trust me, if you saw my house... aiga aiga! I need to do that as well, in most every room.

So, great job- go and get yourself a margarita and think of all you can start getting to fill that space- ha! Have a great one.

Alison Sommer said...

This post makes me want to rush home and clean my closet. It needs it (although maybe not as badly as yours did, that's a lot of stuff!)

Kelly Fleck said...

I have the issue with just crap filling my house. Like the furniture. I give way a lot just cuz I get sick of it.

Amy M. said...

I swear this was a running thing for this past weekend. We finally cleaned out our master closet on Sunday too. And when I got to the good will (at lunch) to do a drop off on Monday, there was a whole slew of stuff that had been dropped off since that morning lined up the wall almost to the corner.

Anna Sandler said...

I'm inspired. We moved three years ago and there are still unpacked boxes.

Adrienn TUJ said...

It really is amazing how we acquire so much shit, and it's like we notice it all the sudden-damn! I've got way too much shit! I love cleaning out my closet and dresser, and I try to do it a couple times a year so I only have MAYBE a bag full at a time. I bet your closet is so roomy now!

True Grit Leather said...

My bedroom really needs to be de-cluttered. My closet recently fell apart and so i only have the use of half of it at the moment....Messenger Bags

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