I woke on a sweltering summer Sunday eager to clear my clutter. Whenever I have no idea what brings on an action or a feeling such as when I find myself getting misty over a manipulative insurance commercial I’ve seen 1000 times before because it features an adorable dog worried about his prize possession bone, I blame it on dwindling hormones advancing the loosening of screws in my head. There is no other logical explanation for this … Or maybe I am just a sucker for animals.
When I woke on Sunday I shifted my thoughts away from my usual preferred wandering mind topics, sex and food, and instead was thinking about a simple black Gap tee shirt that my sister, Dovima, had given me for my birthday several years ago. I knew I still had it, but I didn’t know where it was since it has been missing from my tee shirt drawer for so long. I suspected it was somewhere in my closet, a site sorely in need of de-cluttering.
I opened my closet door and did an archaeological dig for this long lost garment. This involves moving out storage bins, boxes, bags of socks, sneakers and papers, a vacuum cleaner, vacuum cleaner accessories, a rolling suitcase, and a garment bag I bought in 1994.
Why I bought this garment bag is because I had to take a business trip in 1993 where I had to wear a suit, so I borrowed my friend Django in Jersey’s garment bag. The next year, when I noticed that Eddie Bauer had a garment bag on sale, I thought, “What am I waiting for? This is a great price!” I did not put any thought into the reality that prior to that single business trip, I had never once needed a garment bag in my life. Nor did I think that if I needed to use one again, I could still borrow Django’s. So, I bought my very own garment bag. Impulse purchases like that no doubt contributed to the booming economy in those bygone days.
In 1999, five years after that pointless purchase, I finally had a reason to use it, to carry the suit I wore at my mother’s funeral, a suit I donated to charity several years ago. In 2000, I loaned my garment bag to a guy I worked with to carry a suit he needed to wear at a wedding in the Midwest. In the ensuing ten years, it has been sitting in my closet in near mint condition completely unused. I looked at it and thought, “What am I gonna do with this thing?”
Not only do I never use it, I never consider using it. If I need to pack a suit now, it can fit quite nicely in the very practical rolling suitcase I bought five years ago. Still, I felt hesitation over unloading this garment bag. I should add that in the size department, it is also a behemoth. I would probably dislocate a shoulder carrying it through an airport at this stage in my life.
To take my mind off this matter, I began looking for my lost tee shirt. I immediately found several pairs of too short J. Crew shorts I would never wear again unless I wanted to be the featured subject in a “Fashion Don’t” column. I had no problem placing those in a bag for Goodwill. I also found several pairs of J. Crew pants I have not worn in years, as well as a pair of chinos, in a hideous butter color, I’ve never worn once. Those rocketed into the Goodwill bag. Finally, I found my beloved tee shirt in a Bed, Bath and Beyond bag full of hangars. How it ended up in a bag of hangars is beyond me, but I was happy to have found it. In fact, I’m wearing it now.
I reorganized my clothing bins and put everything, but the garment bag, back. I leaned it on my radiator instead. It was now in limbo, still in my apartment, but no longer cluttering my closet. I knew I was not going to leave it leaning against the radiator for years. The only place I could put it to keep it out of the way was back in my closet, my now reorganized and de-cluttered closet.
I asked myself, “Why am I hanging onto this thing? Why am I suffering separation anxiety about a piece of luggage I have only used once in my life?” Still brooding, I thought, “But if I do give it away, what good will it do for a fire, famine or earthquake relief victim?” I concluded, “Let Goodwill figure that one out.”
I donated it.