AKA: How much is enough?
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Enough. What a powerful word with so many shades of meaning! It was my word for 2016. (Maybe it was 2015? I don’t track these kind of things, do you?) I spent a great deal of time that year meditating on what enough meant to me, and one of the questions that kept popping up was “How much is enough?” It’s a hard one to answer, and completely personal. Even when it comes to something simple and concrete like the amount of clothes in your wardrobe, enough still varies. If you have to take your clothes to the laundromat weekly, your definition of enough underwear for your children will be different from that of the mom who can pop in a load any old time. So how do you know if you have enough, or too much clothing? You may have too much if…
1. It takes the whole day to do laundry. (Not including sheets and towels.)
This is just sad. There is no reason to spend an entire day every week or so washing laundry. Especially at the laundromat. Life is too short! I never wanted to go more than once a week, but if you let it go longer (especially if you have children) you can easily make a day of it. If you can wash at home, smaller more frequent loads are less time consuming to fold and put away. If you are anything like most people, it’s not the washing, it’s the folding and putting away that makes laundry a chore. Don’t get me started about ironing…
2. Your drawers are overflowing.
Is your dresser full? This seemingly not-a-problem becomes one and comes into play when you are putting away that enormous stack of laundry from the day long wash-fest. When the drawer is already full, and you have another stack of clean underwear to put away, that’s a clear indicator of too much.
3. Your closet is jam-packed. (Or you have 2 on a hanger…)
The same goes for clothes in the closet. Is there room between the hangers so that your clothes can breathe? There should be. If not, you have too much hanging in your closet. If you keep all seasons in your closet, take out whatever isn’t current, and see if that helps. If that’s not enough, and you still need help, here are some guidelines for a Wardrobe Audit to help you get that closet back under control. And no, you shouldn’t have two or three shirts layered on one hanger. Just no.
4. You don’t know what you own.
One of my favorite quotes runs along the lines of “You don’t own anything you can’t carry in two arms at a dead run.” For 20+ years we were an Navy family, making an international move every three years. I am not complaining… It was a fabulous life! Packing up your family’s belongings (even with the movers doing the boxing and heavy lifting) every third year to see all your worldly goods listed on an inventory gives you perspective. On move-in day, looking at page upon page of sticker numbers and notes as the movers bring in the boxes and furniture makes you wonder “What is that?” And “Where did all this stuff come from?”
I run into you-don’t-know-what-you-own with clients. It happens when I am out out on a personal shopping trip with a client for whom I have done no previous closet work. (If I have been their closets, I have a general idea.) We are in the dressing room and I hand them something special… “This is perfect for your coloring and would look great with ABC and XYZ! Do you have an ABC or XYZ at home?” There’s a pause. “I don’t know.” If you don’t know what you own, (or find that you have 12 pair of black pants) you are beyond enough. Call me…
5. You are considering moving for more closet space.
What? That’s not a reason to move! I get it, and I have lived in houses with no closets whatsoever. Thank goodness for the armoire! If you have more stuff than house (Note: I did not say people, I said stuff!) I would posit that you don’t need more house. You need less stuff. (#sorrynotsorry to all my realtor friends!) More space doesn’t fix the problem. It just gets overfilled again.
Full disclosure. I have been in the too-much-clothing situation more than once before, myself. I hit an enough tipping point years ago on a visit to Ellis Island. It’s a fabulous museum. please go if you have the opportunity. One display is an enormous wall of luggage, and further into the exhibit, the treasures immigrants brought with them. These were not people starting new lives halfway around the world with a moving van full of stuff. These were men, women, and children leaving behind everything familiar with nothing more than they could carry in a suitcase. Maybe two. And I realized I didn’t need more space, I needed less stuff.
How about you? Do you feel like you are at an enough place, or a too-much place with your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments below… I love to hear from you!