When Chris was on holiday last week, in Vegas -- no big deal, TOTALLY COOL WITH IT, WHATEVER -- I took the liberty of clearing up all his clothes that were littered around our room, as if thousands of men in Chris' size and build had had a massive orgy in there and left everything they wore behind.
I have honestly never seen so many socks. Do they multiply? I swear they breed in the night, or little sock fairies swoop in when my back is turned and cover the carpet in a multitude of black socks of varying fade levels. Either way, there are always MILLIONS of socks, everywhere. I swear sometimes I'll reach into my jacket pocket and pull out black socks.
So, I started by putting everything that should have been in the washing basket in there, and then surveyed the damage. Clothes EVERYWHERE.
We have a double wardrobe and three rails in our bedroom. Chris has the wardrobe for his shirts and other clothes. I never open it, because if I did I might get sucked into it and never be seen alive again. It's terrifying. One of the doors doesn't shut properly, so I wedge it shut with a shoebox and hope for the best. I just ignore it. If I can't see what's in there, it's not happening! Yay! Denial!
I have nabbed the three rails -- one for my ever-growing collection of printed tea-dresses, one for scarves and bags and one for nice tops, blouses and all my jeans and shorts. That should be adequate.
I can't deny, however, that my own clothes situation is getting out of control. As I chucked all of Chris' 18,000 pairs of identical Levis into the cupboard and slammed it shut before they could all come streaming out again, I realized that even with all of his jeans out of the way, our room still looked like a clothes graveyard.
Tops with no homes lay scattered among my sandals. Dresses with no hangers lay over the top of the rail, waiting for a home. Jeans I hadn't worn in over a year were folded up next to the TV, covered in dust. A bag full of last year's bikinis slumped despondent in the corner, knowing that it's still some time before they'd get worn again. Clothes that haven't fit me for two years sat looking at me, knowing that their time in the sun had passed.
It's now spring and I had SIX furry winter coats hanging on the hook behind my door, three of which don't even fit me. It was a clothes apocalypse.
Funnily enough, I'd just read that according to Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, only about 20% of clothes in the average person's wardrobe are worn on a regular basis. This definitely resonated with me. How many of these piles and piles of clothes actually got an outing? The answer: hardly any. I've held on to clothes that don't fit, are irreparable, don't suit me, are stained, flat-out horrible. I had a CLOTHING CODE RED.
Have you ever bought a pair of jeans in a size too small, in the vain hope that you'll fit into them before summer? Seen the most gorgeous print on a dress, and splashed out even though you know that the colors will look awful on you?
Bought a top you LOVED on the hanger, even though you know that neckline makes you look like a shot-putter? And then KEPT THE LOT, storing them away for that day that will SURELY come where suddenly mustard suits you and sleeveless vests are your new thing and you can wedge yourself into those jeans? Honey, that day isn't going to come.
I decided to be ruthless. I whizzed around my room, to a "get your arse in gear" soundtrack of Daft Punk and Digitalism and like a WHIRLWIND starting chucking clothes into a pile. It felt good. It felt cleansing.
I was saying goodbye to impulse purchases and past holidays and shoes that gave me blisters even though they were oh-so-pretty and even the leopard print sundress that I'd kept since I went to Jamaica in April 2010 that looked completely shit but couldn't bear to let it go.
There were stacks of things that I convinced myself I would eBay, but never did because eBay is SUCH a faff.
As I went through my clothes piles, I realized that I actually wore very little of any of it. I have my favored colors I come back to again and again, my trusty casuals, jeans that I know make my bum look half decent. Everything else needed to go.
And so it went. Seven bags later, I have a ton of stuff I am taking to my local charity shop, to be given new homes on new people. And it feels good. Not only have I got a room that doesn't look like a squat, I have a nice warm glow that comes with donating bags of decent stuff to charity.
But from now on, I'm going to think just a little bit harder before buying that top that I know isn't going to look good, or another pair of trousers in a size that isn't quite ever going to do up. The impulse buying is going to stop. I might even put myself on a shopping ban.
But not quite yet -- there's a red and black leopard print shift dress I've got my eye on, after all.
Shopping while tweeting: @Natalie_KateM.