Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Retirement Planning – More on Thinning Out the Closet

Some who have read my earlier post on thinning out my many closets have asked what happens if I still have too much left after I “audition” my clothes. I have new criteria to address that inevitable situation.

The first came to me last weekend as yet another woman complimented the handbag I was carrying. It’s small white leather, with delicate painted flowers; the handles are yellow. I get frequent compliments on it, and I always share the story of how I lusted after it in a local Marshall’s store, but wouldn’t pay the price. One day I went in and it appeared that the bag had been sold. I found it tucked away in a far corner, on sale. I end this part by crying out “It was meant to be mine!”

Last weekend I was sure the bag shouted to the woman: “Please stop complimenting her! She’ll never give me up. I’m not supposed to be owned by a woman in her sixties. I belong with someone in her twenties!”

This led to my first two rules for clearing out more stuff. Rule 1: Keep things people always compliment, unless they fail rule two. Rule 2: Get rid of anything that should be owned by someone in her 20’s instead of her 60’s, no matter how comfortable it is and no matter how cute I think I look in it. (That’s why God invented mirrors…)

One of my previous posts prompted a guideline to keep a good balance of serious and light hearted. Some examples: a good interview suit (just in case) and a funeral outfit (also just in case, and the interview suit doesn’t count), balanced by a gypsy-style skirt and a jacket with Guatemalan embroidery; sensible black pumps, offset by red Chinesey platform slides.

I’ll get rid of things that are major magnets for cat hair and will trash any sweaters that have more than three moth holes, even if they’re well-darned. Anything that is no longer its original color gets tossed (except the white “Crazy Cat Lady” sleep T-shirt my brother-in-law gave me that is now pale turquoise.) Likewise anything that is missing a button, if those buttons would cost more to replace than what I paid for the item.

I’ll part with any shoes with buckles so small that I need a jeweler’s loupe to fasten them; but I’ll keep footwear that makes me smile when I look at my feet, especially my oxblood Doc Martin Mary Janes and my black patent duck-style rain shoes.

I’ll give away any article of clothing that has writing on it (unless that writing is in French;) all T-shirts will be exempt. Those of you who have been reading carefully will realize that the Crazy Cat Lady sleep shirt escapes the winnowing process even though it has writing on it, because it’s an over-sized T.

You should also not be surprised that I’m keeping that little white purse with the flowers. Even though it fails rule two, I’m saving it from exile because it provides the light-hearted balance to my serious black shoulder bag.

If you know me well, you probably now have an image of me sitting on our front porch, wearing that Cat Lady shirt and holding my flowered purse. People will whisper as they walk by, but I’ll just sit there quietly sipping a glass of wine. The more I think about it, I really am looking forward to retirement!

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