Wearing Thin: A Closet Intervention

I was totally trapped. My one year old and I were sequestered deeper and deeper into one side of the house by workers until we had nowhere left to go but my parent’s master closet. Every other room was occupied with men things that babies can’t be around. Naps were out of the question, so we got to work.

The closet rods hadn’t been installed, so piles of clothes and boxes had just been put onto the floor. For some unknown reason my son adores playing with plastic hangers, so he had the time of his life with a hanger and an empty box. However, I was on a mission.

I had been warned that my parents wanted a smaller wardrobe—about 1/3 needed to go. Soon I was surrounded by horrific 1987 shrapnel. I made an overwhelming pile that consisted of green jeans, shirts older than me, worn-out shoes, and items that were several sizes too large. Several guidelines for the future are not instituted. A few of these are:

–          If the item is from 1996 but is not from the Atlanta Olympics or a keepsake from the Chicago Bulls (not to be worn in public) it must go.

–          If it is within 4 shades of pea-soup exorcist vomit, it must not be worn.

–          Christmas sweaters should not light up or attract woodland creatures.

–          The clothing may be tied to a memory, but it won’t bring that time or person back. Throwing out the item is not throwing out the memory.

What is your closet like? In my family the closets vary widely. One closet has an assortment of belongings ranging that are mostly shoved in. Another member’s closet is so organized that the clothing and hangers are color-coded. Another’s is fairly organized but needs a good cleaning sorting through.

It’s amazing to me how long some people retain certain items of clothing. Attachment to items is nothing unusual; the show Hoarders depends on it. I have a few favorite items that are important keepsakes, but not many. Today I went through a box of old t-shirts belonging to my sister but discovered a shirt of mine. It was a student council shirt from 2003 with a cartoon penguin wearing a superhero outfit. It made me smile; I identify with such a super-hero! Beware the Waddler! My powers include going to the grocery store and discovering the last 6 pack of Diet Coke buried in the caffeine free Cokes. I have a boy-wonder and a (literal) side-kick…but I digress.

Sometimes we need to sort through our belongings and really re-evaluate what things we are ‘putting on’. Fashion sense: it’s a knowledge we don’t always apply, that differs widely among individuals. There are lots of jokes about the need for fashion police, but they actually do exist. I don’t mean television make-over shows; I mean actual police who tried to detain my husband for a lack of a specific belt in a particular area overseas. (Details are hilarious, but can’t be further shared for OPSEC. Sorry.) Of course, it can be helpful to have someone else to bring in a fresh perspective. When I moved out of a dorm my roommate I lamented aloud, “How am I going to get dressed without you?” We had spent a year saving each other from fashion disasters and assuring each other that indeed, the event’s ‘best 80s outfit award’ would be in our dorm room by tomorrow.

There are way too many voices bombarding us with advice on fashion, how to dress, and how to present ourselves. We are supposed to find our own style…within guidelines. Who advises you on your wardrobe?

The Bible talks a lot about clothing. Whether it is to put on the whole armor of God, clothing yourself in righteousness, or not worrying about fine adornment, clothing matters. Consider that for 40 years as the Israelites wandered the desert, God made it so that their clothing and shoes didn’t wear out. (When it is God’s action, the “do not wear for more than 20 years” does not apply.)

It’s hard to find time to go through an entire closet and pitch out the old things that shouldn’t be put on and feel the weight of throughout the day. Perhaps it is time for a little sorting…

Are you wearing things that others gave you out of obligation? (That ugly sweater)  Are your adornments reflecting your inside and showing off who you are? Are you dressing for yourself or someone else? Are you wearing cheap clothes that won’t last? Are you covering yourself adequately?

With love, here are a few guidelines:

 Plumbers crack applies to both genders.

V-necks may be popular, but men shouldn’t have cleavage. Purple skinny jeans…not okay.

 Belts worn at the knees should be garter belts… not regular belts. Likewise, it is a waistline, not a thigh-line.

If wearing a transparent or thin material, please wear appropriate undergarments for the good of all involved.

Your hat will never measure up to the Pope or Elton John’s, so don’t try to compete…please.

Happy organizing and casting off. Try not to get hung-up

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