Lame Adventure 74: Summer Cleaning

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.

Not exactly user-friendly size-wise.

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.

4 responses to “Lame Adventure 74: Summer Cleaning

  1. found you via a comment you left on the nyt article re: zsa zsa gabor! i like your style, kiddo. i’m going to add you to my blogroll/reader. thanks for the laughs.


  2. I own one of these garment bags which I purchased in 1987. I’ve used it every year since then. It’s still perfectly functional, and a testimony to build quality that is no longer the norm. We live in a throwaway society-buy it cheaply, dump it in a couple of years, buy another one. You registered this subconsciously when you held that bag and wondered why you were reluctant to part with it. When it was made, Eddie Bauer’s name was synonymous with rugged reliability. Today that’s all passé.


    • Wow, H, you nailed a lot in this comment, especially the decline in Eddie Bauer quality. I’ve stopped shopping there. Yet, they’re not alone. My Gap brand tee shirts are so much flimsier now than they were just a few years ago. J. Crew calls their reduced quality tees tissue tees, but that’s bunk. They’re cheaper tees that cost more. I feel lousy about throwing out perfectly good things, but I live in a space that’s about the size of a ferret’s cage, so every so often I have no choice but to purge. Hey, thanks for visiting and taking the time to share your thoughts.


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