Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Trapped In the Closet... Part 73

Oh my God. I'm a hoarder.

I am. I am a legitimate hoarder. I have long been a watcher of Hoarders and Extreme Hoarders and People Who Hoard Coupons So They Can Hoard Lots More Crap For Free so that I could witness people who were way worse off than me and revel in the fact that having a little laundry on the floor and an overwhelming collection of magazine clippings wasn't so bad. But as it turns out, I was merely watching an extreme version of myself. I am... a fashion hoarder.

Everyone that knows me knows that I like clothes, jewelry, accessories and talking about/taking pictures of/buying said items. I've really been trying to control my tendency for spending, so recently I took it upon myself to do a little organizing, which turned into a full on retail store style inventory.

I would also like to point out that this was my last day off before a seven day stretch at work so this very quickly turned from a leisurely clean up game into an existential crisis as to how I got here.

It started small, as these things often do. Steve has been mildly hinting that he is literally out of house and home (wardrobe-wise... probably kitchen-wise too) and that my "section" of the closet had spread so far over to his side that his shirts were suffocating. I kind of laughed it off, until he stood in our once a walk in (I say once because at this point, it's so full that there's about a foot left of space to walk into) and started scanning my all white hangers for answers. He quickly discovered that I had many things hung that didn't really need to be. Like tank tops, for example. Did I really need to hang my tank tops? No, I said out loud, while my inner monologue told me that the reason the tanks were hung is because there was no where to store them folded, either. But marriage is all about compromise, so I was determined to make it work.

Once I made a trip to The Container Store.

Before you accuse me of being a shopaholic, know that one of the best investments I have made in my wardrobe decisions was purchasing Our Deep Sweater Box. Our apartment has nine foot ceilings, so the top shelf of my closet had a ton of wasted space. A few months ago I purchased a retractable stool and one of those containers, and I was able to make room for all the bulky winter sweaters that seem to fit nowhere else. When thinking about how to eliminate a fraction of my stuff from his side, I determined that if I acquired just one more Deep Sweater Box, I could move my cardigans out of one of my smaller Ikea boxes and put the tank tops in that box. Genius. Also, it was the Spring Organization Sale, so the Deep Sweater Box was a whole dollar less. Point, Lindsay.

Then I started pulling out my tank tops. I started with the whites, and there were quite a few, which is to be expected, because who doesn't need multiple white tanks? But as I made my way through the pale pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, purples, blues, greens, grays, browns and finally into the blacks that I realized... I have a hell of a lot of tank tops. So many that they literally engulfed my queen sized bed.

i guess you can just refer to me as tank girl from now on.

I started to freak out a bit, calming myself only by the reassurance that it just looked like a ridiculous amount because the weren't neatly color coded and folded. But once I rolled them and arranged them into a rainbow-like pattern, I felt the overwhelming need to determine exactly how many I owned.

tank roll ups. like fruit roll ups, but take up a hell of a lot more space.

And there were thirty. As in three-zero. THIRTY TANK TOPS. I am only one person. How could I possibly own that many shirts that are barely shirts?

Then the obsession really started.

If I had somehow acquired that many of a most basic under layer of clothing, how many of other items did I have? Am I really that bad a judge of numbers or do I have a problem here?

I don't think I have to tell you what happened next. But I will, because that's what blogging is about.

I went Rainman on myself and began counting everything I own. And not only counting, but documenting the process so that I could remind myself later what something like, oh I don't know... seventy five t-shirts look like?!


That's right. Seventy five. Also rolled, because I'm convinced that's the only way that things will ever fit. I think the real question is... when was the last time you even saw me in a t-shirt?

I figured I might as well go all out and head to the dress closet. Some of you may know the story of the beloved dress closet. This was a particular amazing find from a random Wednesday night Ikea trip when I still lived at home in New Hampshire. My parents and I drove to Ikea in search of extra storage for some of my closet overflow. We found this armoire in the As Is section, which if you didn't know is an extra 10% off on "Wacky" Wednesdays. I ended up taking this piece home for a whopping $36! We barely had enough room in the car, and I rode the whole way home in the passenger seat with my knees hugged against my chest, pressed up against the glove compartment, armoire digging into the back of my seat. But I didn't care, because it was such a good deal. If that's not bargain shopping, I don't know what is.

Oh wait, this is:

all my favorite gals. hello, ladies.

I always knew I had a lot of dresses. I mean, I think it was implied by the fact that I needed an entire extra receptacle to house the collection that had to be kept in my parents room because it didn't even fit in mine. When I was living at home I want to say I had about seventy five total. I figured I still had that amount, give or take some. Believe it or not, I have given away a few things over the years. Emphasis on few.

Looking at this closet, what would you guess was in there? Eighty? Eighty five? Personally, I think it looks like thirty, which probably explains a lot about the way I am. But you're all wrong.


That's right. There are exactly one hundred dresses in the closet. Now that is including all types- sundresses, coverups, formal wear, wrap dresses and more. But what are the odds that there would be exactly one hundred?!

Next I moved on to the roommate of my dress closet, the black skirt. Now I have to wear solid black bottoms to work, so this does seem like more of an essential, but fifteen? Fifteen black skirts. I may as well work at a funeral parlor.

back in black.

From there, one can only go downhill and see how many black tops are being combined with those skirts. And the answer surprised and depressed me:

oh wait, more black.

Fifty seven. Fifty seven black tops. Granted, a few patterns snuck in there, but please look at the rest. Even Johnny Cash would be like "giiiiirrrrrl you have too many black shirts." That is, if Johnny Cash were a homosexual who happened to be helping me organize my closet.

house of cardigans.

At this point I figured I should go back to what started this whole thing. So even though I had already neatly organized my cardigans, I grabbed my stool and almost decapitated myself trying to bring down my new Deep Sweater Box, probably because the weight of twenty two cardigans is one that no woman should be allowed to bear alone. And yes, nine of them are black. While I like to organize by color, for the sake of time management, I thought it best to keep the black ones on top.

Here's one that just baffles me. I didn't even count this one, because I don't understand how it's physically possible to have so many pajamas that your drawer doesn't close. Also I was afraid if I took them out to count them, I would never be able to get them all back in. Let's remind ourselves- this is an overflowing draw of articles of clothing that ONLY ONE PERSON sees.

what, didn't you think the pj's would be rolled, too?

After this I just couldn't take anymore of the clothes, and for some god forsaken reason, I thought it was a good idea to move on to accessories. It was there I found myself knee deep in oversized tote/beach bags (18):

this is straight up terrifying.

Clutch purses (14):

just a hint of a clutch obsession.

And of course, earrings (107):

okay, well we all knew this was a problem.

It really couldn't get any worse. Until I looked at my nail polish collection (75):

four minis should equal one regular sized nail polish. 75 polishes equal one regular size crazy person.

If you think that there's no way there's seventy five bottles of nail polish in this photo, you're right. Because there's an overflow of about sixteen full sized and seven minis chillin on top of this container as well. Also I counted these not realizing I had lent four bottles to a friend.

After all this, I did semi achieve my original goal of providing my darling husband a little extra real estate in the closet area. I didn't think to take a before picture (and actually showcase something POSITIVE in this post), but I happened to snag an after. That teeny tiny amount of white hangers towards the back? That's all that is left of me on that side.

make room: the striped polos & hockey jerseys need their space.

... Minus the shoe wheel hiding underneath. Now Steve can actually move his hangers around, which is really helpful when he's on the desperate search for his colonial night shirt. I wish I was making that up.

I was so proud of myself, I decided it would be a good idea to tell Steve when he got home just how productive my day was. As I verbally explained to him my voyage into my closeted past, he saw the list I had made out of the corner of his eye where I had recorded all the numbers of things I had counted. He glanced at me as I stared back at him, and we immediately beelined for my Glee notepad. Since I was obviously tired from the road to reformation and he apparently possesses cat-like reflexes, he got to it first.

And then he exploded.

As he read each number, I could feel his blood pressure rise and tiny bits of steam escape his ears. When he got to the nail polishes, he lost it.

"Seventy five?! You have seventy five nail polishes?! You have TEN FINGERS and TEN TOES. You will physically never be able to use all of that nail polish again in your entire life. THAT'S $500 WORTH OF NAIL POLISH. You are never allowed to ask for nail polish ever."

In my defense, I think he was just a bit testy on the whole issue because he had to desperately search for a particular color and brand of lavender polish that I had asked for for Easter, which caused him to have to go on a mad dash through the mall the day before in between working at the restaurant and going to the Bruins game.

After this, Steve felt it was necessary to make his own version of my list, outlining how many of each of these pieces a sane person without a shopping addiction should have. His "notes" are written in black on the left side. The green is the chilling realization of what I already own.

the figures on my notepad are trying to tell me something.

As I was organizing, I posted pictures of my progress and current counts on Twitter, thinking I would get some sympathy or at least like a "girl, I feel you" style support from my fellow fashionistas/bloggers. It turns out that even those that care the most about clothes took one glance at my pictures and were like "girl, you have a problem. Seek help." So apparently, it is just me.

I got rid of an oversized tote bag worth of stuff that day. I donated the tote too. And I know that I should part with more. But I actually genuinely like most of the stuff I own, even the pieces that I haven't worn in two years or that still have tags on them. Because they motivate me to have the kind of life where I will wear all of these things on a daily basis and never have to repeat an outfit twice.

I might as well sign a lifetime contract with TLC. Or just, you know... buy less.



  1. Steve has 20 dresses? hahah

    At least let him know the Canucks have been playing like shit!!

  2. Haha no Steve listed the numbers for what he thought a normal, non hoarding woman should have in her wardrobe. And yes, I made the mistake of asking Steve who he was cheering for in that series and he just looked at me like as his wife, I should know.


  3. Oh, you are definitely NOT alone! I'm in the process of moving and have spent the past month weeding through all of the things (both fashion and non-fashion related) I have amassed in 5 years. I'm almost positive, had I counted, that I could have rivaled your clothing collection. :) Dresses and shoes? Definitely pushing into the hundreds on both fronts!

    Fortunately, I donated a lot of clothing and that made me feel better (or at least, like my hoarding will be someone else's gain). It's the leftover stuff (which still seems to be far too much for one person) that I can't seem to make a decision about!


    1. Thank you Lauren! I'm glad you are a card carrying member of the group as well. So many people looked at me when I told them how many dresses I had and said that they had five. Five?! How is that possible?! I couldn't tell if I was the crazy one or if they were!

      I do donate things when I happen to get rid of them because I know it's the right thing to do, however, parting with an item in the first place is so difficult to me because I feel a connection to almost everything I own! I can always remember if I got it for a special price, or who I was with when I bought it... I mean, that's crazy, right?! Those are emotions you should only share with people! But I also always convince myself I'm going to wear everything at some point. Now that Pinterest exists, forget about it. I can't get rid of anything now, because I know the second I do, I'll see something similar on a board somewhere and hate myself for parting with it.


  4. Oh man. I just read every word you wrote thinking about how you just spoke so much of my truth. The counting, having too many, refolding, organizing by color... that all sounds like me. I'm your newest follower because girls like us need to stick together and encourage each other!

    1. Hooray! There's more of us out there among all the normal people. Welcome. This is a safe place.

      Seriously, thanks for reading. I'll make sure to check out yours as well :)