When I lived in an apartment, I stuffed my one small closet so full of clothes I could barely get anything in or out of it. I also jam packed a chest of drawers with clothes, and had piles and piles of laundry all over my room. I only had access to shared laundry in the basement of my building, and since the laundry hours weren’t compatible with my schedule, I frequently used that as an excuse to go out and buy more clothes – especially underwear (at one point I probably owned close to 5o pairs of underwear, but never seemed to have any clean ones in my drawer so once a month I’d hit the Victoria’s Secret “5 pair for $25” sale they always had going). I also had a small front hall closet that was overflowing with coats and theatrical costumes, and on any given day I probably had about 10 items hanging out at the drycleaner’s as well.
When I bought my first house, I immediately spread my wardrobe out in my much bigger bedroom closet thinking, “Finally, I have some ROOM!” And for a couple months I did. But since my shopping was particularly out of control at that point, I quickly filled that closet too, and added a large armoire that was soon bursting with clothing, along with the aforementioned dresser. It was a two bedroom house, and because there wasn’t a front hall closet, I put all my coats and costumes in the closet of the second bedroom, along with any clothes I couldn’t fit in the master bedroom.
When Ron moved in, I had to make room for his stuff. It was not an easy process. I was not ready to part with what I had, and I was still buying things at an alarming rate. The poor guy had almost no room for his clothes in a house that was positively overrun with my wardrobe. If the roles had been reversed, and I had walked into a house like that, I don’t know if I would have stuck around. When we moved, I saw that I had permanently bent the closet rod with the weight of all I had hanging in there. Awesome.
Our current house has built in closet/shelving cupboards in the master bedroom, and we still use the armoire as well (I ultimately pared down my clothes enough to get rid of the dresser). Ron’s shelves all have some spare room in them, but mine are packed full–even though I have the lion’s share of the space in both the closets and the armoire. Ron even built me a closet in the basement to house all my costumes, and we have a dedicated coat closet in our home office for coats/scarves/umbrellas. The guest room was the only room in the house that wasn’t holding some of my clothes- and so of course, I took pity on it and filled it with sundresses, my purse collection, and some evening wear.
And once again, all closets in the house were full.
But as I’ve previously mentioned, my friend Kelley was staying with me for a while. A lot of people have stayed in our guest room, but usually for only one or two nights at a time. Kelley was here for about three weeks, so I took a look at the room with new eyes to see how I might make her more comfortable. And of course, I realized that she would have nowhere to put her clothes. So I emptied the closet and put all my stuff in suitcases down in the basement, leaving her with shelf space, hanging space, and floor space.
Kelley’s rehearsals have started, so she has left to stay in actor housing, and my first impulse was to refill the closet with everything I’d removed. But then it occurred to me -what if I didn’t? What if I took Peter Walsh’s sage advice and limited the amount of clothing I owned to what would fit in the space I had to store it? And what if “the space I had to store” my personal wardrobe was limited to my bedroom closet/armoire? Would that really be so terrible? Wouldn’t it be nice to always be “guest ready”, and have that closet only hold items meant to make guests more comfortable? And wouldn’t it be nice to have all my clothes consolidated on one floor, instead of spread out over three?
I decided to leave it empty. I took the suitcases with my excess stuff up to our bedroom, and left the guest room…a guest room. Minus all my crap.
I have no idea how I’m going to incorporate all those items into my bedroom storage, and I can guarantee it will involve some serious clothes/shoes/purse purging. Today, I can’t even face it. But I’m determined to do it. I’ll post about it once I figure it out, but for now…well, wish me luck. Ugh.