SimplifyingThe old adage is definitely true: you never know how much stuff you have…until you try to move it. I remember being horrified at the amount of stuff I fit into my shoebox of a dorm room in college, and every move in grad school was a huge incentive to dislocate my shoulders hulking heavy bags full of books and clothes to Goodwill. When Eric and I got married, we did a collective purge of our things and crammed the rest into the moving van (well, actually the movers did, and in record speed). Since we moved to Pasadena, we’ve been in one place, and I am so grateful for that. It’s a marvelous location, we have a good bit of space, and we are so happy that we’re able to stay put for a little while. But all of the work on our place in the past few weeks has definitely got me thinking not just about the amount of stuff I have, but the kind of stuff I have, and whether or not I actually want it.

I’m talking mostly about my clothes (because it would take a lot for me to part with my books or any of my kitchen tools), and mostly it’s due to the fact that I had to take everything out of my closet. And my dresser. Boy howdy, will that induce a reckoning. I’m a bargain shopper, and that sometimes means taking a chance on things, like when a thrift store doesn’t have a dressing room, for instance. My favorite thrift store on earth doesn’t have one, but all the clothes are less than a dollar, so it’s worth a gamble. I think that I need to have a more editing eye when things make it to my closet, though. There’s stuff I’ve been keeping around that doesn’t really fit, and it’s keeping me from seeing the stuff that I really like and that does fit well.

It’s been so funny, too, looking through the ghosts of wardrobes past as I’ve been sorting everything. I still have a few things from high school and college, but the bulk of my wardrobe falls into one of several early adult phases. The Trying to Be Professional Phase, which involved a lot of button-downs and blazers. The Nothing But Jean Skirts, Loose Tops, and Giant Belts Phase. The Completely Wacky “I Am An Individual Even Though I’m A Grad Student” Phase (oh, that one is the funniest!). The “Oh, I Live In LA Now, So I Need To Replace My Sweaters With Sundresses” Phase (ahem, that one is ongoing). There are remnants and relics of all these selves hanging in my closet and folded in my dresser. I own all of them, and I celebrate all of them. They were Me.

But I’d like the current Me to be able to find things more easily, to make good use of the things that fit this time and place, and to pass the others on to someone who might like or need them more. I’d like to simplify. And so, to mark that occasion, here is a picture of my empty closet (starring, in no particular order: Eric’s bike pump, my macro photo studio box, my sewing machine case, an awful lot of boots I got for $1/pair, and my ancient Winnie the Pooh, who is still really good for a hug when Eric is out of town). I hope soon there will be fewer hangers, but more things I really love, hopefully enough to carry them into the next phase, whatever that might be.

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