The bottom of my closet is currently a mess. Yes, it is my goal to shovel it out, pare it down, and organize it. But right now? Hot mess.
It’s mostly full of extra hangers and various bags – tote bags, gym bags, overnight bags, etc. I do use them for stuff, so I’m not ready to get rid of them, but there are probably more than I need, and I should figure out a better way to store them.
This weekend, I was digging around for a tote bag, when I came across another bag that had managed to hide out in the recesses of my closet for a while. If you just looked at the closet, you would never really see it:
But on closer inspection….
Oh, look at that. It’s a Nordstrom’s Christmas bag.
It’s currently April. What does that tell me? I bought something in November/December of last year, and at some point buried it in the closet. I must have REALLLLLLY loved it, wanted it, and needed it. Because that’s exactly what you do with purchases you’re excited about – hide them in your overstuffed closet for 4-5 months, right?
Well, I’m sorry to say, there is some truth to that.
Buying things and keeping them in the bags with the tags on with the idea that I may return them is probably one of the weirder behaviors of my shopping addiction, and it’s been a problem for a long time. It’s a little embarrassing to talk about, even though I’m guessing I am not the only person who’s done it. I know the behavior mostly comes as a defense against the guilt I know I’ll feel after a spree–I figure if I keep it in the bag, ready to return at any time, no damage done right? Unless of course, I charged the item, which means it accrues interest on my card while I decide whether or not I can overcome the guilt and keep it.
And sometimes, I have taken stuff back. Other times, the return grace period expires and I’m stuck with the item whether I like it or not. Before I met Ron and I lived alone, I consistently had a pile of carrier bags in the corner of my bedroom, full of stuff I was debating about returning. Once Ron moved in, and there was a witness to my craziness, I reigned it in significantly, but would still backslide more often than I’d care to admit.
Prior to the changes I’ve been making this year, I usually have had anywhere from 2-3 bags lurking in the bedroom with still tagged items. But when I started this blog, I either cut the tags off items and hung them in the closet, or returned them.
Except for this one Christmas bag, which I hid in the closet. Because it wasn’t in front of me, I didn’t think about it too much. But I vaguely knew it was there, and it made me feel better. What was in the bag?
A black tank top.
Nothing extraordinary, but potentially something I would wear. Of course, I have several black tank tops already, but this one was longer than most, and therefore kind of new and interesting. Why didn’t I just make a decision about it? I don’t really know for sure. I think part of me thought that during this stuff diet, I might get desperate for something new and it would come in handy for a quick fix. Part of me rationalized that I had bought it on sale, so why not keep it? And I’m guessing part of me was just taking comfort in my old self-soothing behavior.
Today, I went ahead and made a decision about it. I returned it. I will admit I felt a bit of a pang as I did – because it truly was the last still-tagged item in my possession. There are no more carrier bags with tagged items in my whole house – hidden or otherwise. I don’t have any kind of a “secret stash” for a quick fix.
I am curious if keeping that one item was preventing me from going out and buying something else. Knowing it was there was a bit of a safety net for me – it kept me from feeling desperate, like a talisman of sorts. I’d like to think I don’t need it, that I will be fine – even freed on some level–without it. I guess only time will tell.