Sunday, November 18, 2007


Sometimes I can't believe all the stuff I own. What really gets me is that even though I seem to own a bunch of stuff, it's rarely the right stuff. I don't mean "right" in a "keeping up with the Joneses" sort of way, but more in a "Why do I own six hot pink highlighter pens?" sort of way. Why do I even have these pens at all? It's been years since I highlighted anything other than my hair. I am sure at least two of them must be completely dried out--and surely one of them dates all the way back to college. (That's more than a decade, thanks.)

What compelled me to keep them? And why do I have two pairs of plastic Elvis sunglasses and a tiny eight ball?

Or how about this: The white shirt is a wardrobe staple. I own five white shirts. Two of them are a smidge too small to wear. One of them is a lightweight cotton with a pattern woven in, appropriate really only for warmer months. One is a classic white 3/4 length-sleeve shirt, but the underarms have yellowed a bit after so much wear. (Oh, like you don't sweat and that never happens to you!) The fifth is a very cool expensive white shirt for evening that Bob bought me years ago...and it's way too small.

Hence, if I needed a white shirt to wear tomorrow, say, to a job interview, I would not have one. Of course, I don't have a suit or even a pair of pants appropriate for such an occasion, either, so the white shirt (or lack thereof) would probably be the least of my worries.

I know this is a time of year when I should be thankful for what I have, and believe me, I am. I realize I am lucky to own five white shirts when some people can't even afford one...but then, that just makes me doubly irritated with myself. Why hang on to the shirts that don't fit? Why not own just one good one and replace it when it gets beyond wear?

In other words: Do I really need this much stuff to be thankful for?

How about this: I own at least ten tubes of lip gloss. At least four of them are identical in color. Only the brands are different. Same with lipstick--out of the many, many tubes I own, only three are any sort of unique shade. I essentially have duplicates and triplicates of every other color...again, different brands.

I have six tubes of mascara, and I only like one of them, but I continue to rotate through the others so I won't feel to guilty about buying them. One is a rather expensive brand, but it smudges. When I get home from work, I look like I've been crying and rubbing my eyes (and generally I have, but only on the inside). But. I. Will. Use. It. All.

I guess you can see where I am going with this...I need to edit. It's not so much a question of being virtuous, really, as it is a question of just not being so stupid about how I spend money. I used to be good at this sort of thing, at having all the bases covered and really not having more than was necessary. Now I have way more than is necessary, but the bases are wide open.

I am challenging myself to edit: my closet, my makeup, my books, and even my perfumes. I feel a need to clear away the clutter so I can see what really is (and isn't) there. The books and the perfumes are the most difficult. It's easy, say, to pick two brown eye shadows to keep out of the five that I own. It's less easy for me to get rid of books, because I worry whether they'll go to good homes. Seriously. And the perfumes...I don't know where to begin. I made some newbie mistakes. A couple I will give away, but then, what about the others? Do I sell them on eBay? Do I try to swap them for something I know now I really want? How do I know if I should really let them go? What if I miss them when they're gone?

But I am kidding myself. There are some bottles in there I know I just won't wear again except once in a blue moon. That just doesn't seem right.