“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
― Henry David Thoreau
I hate all malls, and shopping in general. The clothing stores I usually frequent, like Ross or Marshalls, are an evil necessity I must mentally prepare myself for before visiting. I shop online occasionally for clothes, but usually just workout gear.
I am also as far from hip as you can get. Since I’ve been old enough to buy my own clothes, I’ve never even attempted to keep up with the trends and styles of the time. You sure as hell won’t see me thumbing through the pages of GQ exclaiming “I need that”.
And then there’s this. When I moved from San Francisco to Hawaii in late 2012, I donated eight garbage bags full of clothes. Mostly they were warm weather items, but I also rid myself of things that no longer fit or I hadn’t worn in years. I’d actually felt proud I’d jettisoned so many my garments before the movers arrived.
But I still consider my wardrobe excessive for what I need.
How did this happen?
Since we moved in together, my girlfriend J’Nell has been telling me I have too many t-shirts. I knew she was right (in theory), but when I actually inventoried them this weekend I was astounded. I have over eighty t-shirts . . . that I know about. There are storage bins in my closet I didn’t even open, and I shudder to think there are probably more. Through the years it seems I’ve taken the cliché “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt” far too literally.
I can break my tees down into five basic categories: (1) Boston Sports Teams, (2) Jimmy Buffett, (3) Travel/Cities, (4) Work/Fundraising Events, and (5) Undershirts. That is not an exhaustive list, and I think I might need another for all the awesome comp ones my buddy Marcos has sent from his company Wounded Apparel (shameless plug, but they do fine work there). Regardless of how you break them down, I have too many damn t-shirts.
For Day 12, I took the easy route and focused on categories four and five. Since I no longer wear a suit and tie for my job, my need for undershirts is at an all-time low. With work/fund-raising tees, usually you wear them on the day of the event and then bury them deep in your closet or dresser. It didn’t take long to complete my dozen.
In fact, on top of the twelve I put aside, I identified twenty more tees I’m fairly sure I can donate. But even if I go through with those, that still leaves more than fifty! Do I need that many? Of course not, but getting rid of any that rate high on the nostalgia scale (categories 1-3) will be challenging. I’m thinking of you, my Saturday Night Live 15th Anniversary t-shirt that I purchased in 1990.
Moving along in my wardrobe, on March 11th I selected eleven pairs of shorts to give to Good Will. For the most part they were either too big, too short (who wears short, shorts?), or else I owned its doppelganger. And then there was the work-out ones I’ve had for a decade (with the Italy insignia), but have probably worn less than five times. They fit, but I always hated they didn’t have any pockets (a major deal breaker when it comes to shorts). I must have kept them all these years out of stubbornness, which has no place in the Minimalism Game.
Day 13 was all about boxes. Either I’d been keeping them just-in-case, or else I had wanted to see how long I could play an over-sized game of Jenga in the corner of the apartment. Cardboard is clutter, and those thirteen boxes are all now on their way to being recycled.
I’m almost two-weeks into this de-cluttering project, and I’ve given up 91 of my things. Only 405 more to go . . .