19 pairs of tights: musings of sentimentality & hoarding

For a change of pace.

I’m not going to rant about animal welfare.

Instead on this fine December eve, beer in hand, I’d like to talk about something very prevalent in my thoughts this semester.

Hoarding.

Because I have a confession.

I have a lot of stuff.

I mean. You’re not going to see me on that intervention show where they find dead cats in the refrigerator.

But I’ll be the first to admit I have a lot of clothes I never wear.

It’s not that I shop a lot. At least not anymore. They just kind of…. add up over the years.

Over the summer I began the laborious process of purging. I got rid of a garbage bag (the big kind) of clothes and another one of shoes. Off to charity to find new homes.

Last night I got rid of another pile. Admittedly it took me three hours to go through everything, piece by piece, and rationalize why I needed to keep it, but I am quite proud of the results. 19 pairs of tights were just a start (when was the last time I wore tights? Highschool?)

I’m not here to preach of about consumerism in relation to the present holiday season. Although that may seem fitting. On the contrary, I’m in a state of contemplation of the emotional weight we put on things.

At what point does something become sentimental? Because you wore it to a special event? Because it was your mother’s? Grandmothers? What if you have a closet of their clothes?

Getting rid of things for me is difficult for two reasons: the classic hoarder question of “but what if I need this later?” and the sense of nostalgia. The memories triggered by that item.

In response to the first question “but what if I need this later?” It’s almost a reverse consumerism ideology if you think about it. Why would I get rid of it only to have to buy something new later? The question is. Are you really going to need 13 pairs of jeans?

In regards to the second. Is this item really our last connection to that memory? Of course not. We’ve just deposited it there. And next thing you know we have closet-fulls, nay, house-fulls of knickknacks designed to trigger memories.

I’m not quite sure where this is going. Maybe it’s the beer. But I for one am not comfortable with my memories and happiness finding refuge in the things I own. If I no longer have use for a dress I wore to a dance once… or even say… my graduation… should it not find a new home? Somebody put a lot of work into growing that cotton and manufacturing that thread and painstakingly sewing on all those sequins.

All this of course is very hypocritical. I’m still holding onto an ENTIRE CLOSET FULL of costumes from my musical theatre days. But hey. I’ll cross that bridge when I’m ready.

I suppose all this is to say that I’m approaching this holiday season mindfully. Trying to sort through needs versus desires and resisting the urge to buy too much crap for my loved ones.

I’m not going to get all snuggly and sentimental and tell you to give out hugs and coupons for quality time.

Nobody wants that.

Please don’t give that.

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