Coming out of the closet


‘Doing a Marie Kondo. Kinda.’

I had to throw away a pair of shoes today.

And I mean I had to — the soles were literally peeling off. And, since they were a pair of boat shoes I got for maybe 12 bucks at the Bass Shoe Outlet back when there was a Bass Shoe Outlet here in Amagansett (now a Jenny Kayne or the Pink Chicken; I haven’t been to either) I didn’t bother researching whether the soles could be replaced. I just tossed them into the gaping maw of the “Non-Recyclable” bin.

Now, these vintage babies also had their soles peeling off. But they could be saved

The other closeted item I tossed was a pair of Horrible Fleece-Lined Jeans. Trust me; they were one pair of butt-ugly jeans. Too high-waisted, too acid-washy and somehow too baggy and too tight at the same time. The fleece lining was all clingy and polyestery; these pants literally sparked when you pulled them on — and I don’t mean they “sparked joy,” they just sparked. 

No, these aren’t the Horrible Fleece-Lined Jeans. These Eighties–Era beauties are much more attractive

So, Good riddance, Horrible Jeans! I did put them in the Used Clothing Donation bin, though I can’t imagine anyone being desperately cold enough to wear them.

Sorry to have gotten carried away there. But these two tossed items are illustrative of my new Closet Theory. Sorry, Marie Kondo, but not sparking joy is one thing — not fitting, not flattering and/or being basically worn out is a whole other deal. And a whole other way to closet prune.

It’s pretty simple. You get rid of anything that a) doesn’t fit, b) doesn’t flatter you and c) that is so worn out you can’t — or don’t want to — repair it. Once you’ve done this, I swear on a stack of old tee shirts that you’ll be able to reach into your closet blindfolded and anything you pull out you’ll be able to wear, and wear happily. Maybe even spark joy.

You can’t let emotion get in the way. I finally got rid of a tattered red jacket — seen here when it was half of a mother-daughter combo — tho it broke my heart to do so. I loved it so much I wrote “The Coat of Many Stories” to celebrate it

Of course, when Dude Man and I moved from our rather roomy classic six New York apartment into the adorable-yet-tiny less-than-500-square-foot Ken & Barbie House, I pruned my closets something fierce, and I hadn’t even invented my theory yet. I just sort of desperately distributed things to The Child and her friends. (Notice I said “closets;” yes, I had commandeered one of The Child’s closets to store my Out of Season Wardrobe. She never noticed, but if she had, I would have definitely pulled rank. Also notice the photo at the top of this post. That’s her closet, but it’s full of stuff I gave her from mine.)

The Dude did not prune. Not even a little. He just piled all the stuff that wouldn’t fit chez K & B into boxes — unsorted! — and schlepped it all out to Amagansett, where it moved in with the rest of his never-pruned closet stuff. Honestly. He has stuff in there that belonged to his father — a man who passed on to the great dressing room in the sky more than 25 years ago. Dude’s Dad was about six inches shorter, so his stuff doesn’t even fit His Dudeness. But has he cleaned any of this out?

Dude Man sporting one of his father’s jackets. Sleeves are waaaay too short, but with a jacket like this, who notices sleeve length? This jacket was so cool I wrote a piece about it: “No One Notices What A Man Is Wearing. Until They Do.” Check it out.

Nope. Dude Man is a hoarder. Well, maybe not one of those pathological ones you read about where someone found their dead body under a pile of ancient National Geographics. (But wait! We do have a pile of National Geographics; he can’t bear to part with them!)

Here’s a little observation. Why is it that Hoarders tend to marry Get-Rid-Of-Itters? Hmmm. Maybe there’s a post here.

One of my treasures that still fits, still flatters and doesn’t matter if it gets worn out. Guess where I got it? Stole it from The Dude’s closet

Anyway. Yes, Dude Man does tend to hang on to things. Many things: tools, rubber bands (he puts these in a dish on a shelf; I empty the dish every couple of days; so far, he hasn’t noticed), National Geographics, clothes.

The clothes thing came to a head yesterday, right about the time I was pondering what to write about in this week’s post. It was when he came downstairs ready to be transported to the jitney back to the City — wearing a pair of flannel-lined jeans.

Now this might not be very interesting — except for the fact that I had just ordered him a pair of flannel-lined jeans. See, I had done a big internet search for a pair of really nice, really attractive flannel-lined jeans to replace the Horrible Pair, and had proudly shown him the outcome: a seriously good-looking and beautifully-fitting pair from the Duluth Trading Company.

“Gosh, those are nice,” he said. “Do they come in men’s? Could you order me a pair?”

So I did. In fact, I got a notice just a few minutes ago from the good ole Duluth folks telling me they’re on their way. So what got me so steamed? Dude Man’s closet is so stuffed with stuff that he had not realized that he already owned a pair of perfectly good flannel-lined jeans. That look exactly like the ones I just ordered for him.

Heavy sigh goes here. And another pair of jeans goes into his closet.

Amagansett, New York. February 2022

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4 thoughts on “Coming out of the closet

  1. I totally agree with your theory on how to get rid of stuff that just clutters the closet. Luckily, the women’s stuff in fashion right now is largely atrocious so that helps me not accumulate. Also my husband has twice the closet space I do. It’s a sickness–ha!

    • Ha indeed! It is indeed a cruel world that allocates closet space. Unless one is married to a man who organizes his closet by color (which I almost was once), the girls get shortchanged. So, hey! Do a little “closet creep,” kind of like I did with my daughter’s closets. Just kinda assume some of his space is yours. Chances are he won’t even notice, and you’ve got yourself some extra room.

  2. Too funny about the jeans. My husband has a “leather look” jacket in the front closet that has started splintering like plastic will do here in the West. I don’t know how he can stand it.

    • A “leather look” jacket! You totally win, Judy! But does he actually WEAR it?!? My guy has seriously hideous things, some of which he actually puts on and then leaves the house (!)

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