Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clothes Horse

Eternal nothingness is OK if you're dressed for it. -Woody Allen



How many pairs of shoes does any woman need, really?

The glib answer is: enough. How we define "enough" is the hard part. Recently I've been trying to answer the troubling shoe question myself.

Even though most women can justify every item in their closets — to themselves, at least — in a short sentence, we are still left with feelings of guilt over the size of of our respective clothing collections. Perhaps that's good. When so many people go without the most basic necessities, collecting anything can be troubling. The consumer guilt we feel might actually be healthy, just a way of whacking ourselves with the ruler of prudence, saying "enough Imelda! children are going barefoot."

This brings us back to qi, and thoughts of how all these "things" interfere with energy flow around our homes. I've been thinking a lot lately about the Collyer brothers, and the contents of my closet. Maybe the first step to better qi flow in my home is clearing out the place, throwing out the old to make room for the new.

I've always liked old things, or, I should say, appreciated them. As a child, I spent every summer at my grandparents' house, a one-story summer home which was surrounded by pine trees and filled with vast quantities of everything. Art supplies, heirlooms, closets of film reels and vintage dresses. In my grandfathers' workshop I watched him fix old typewriters and TV sets, just for fun — he was a retired engineer and professor. After one summer with him I had learned the names of every item in his tool box, how to use a grindstone, and all about the infamous recording devices of the Watergate hearings. Certainly a lot of information to take in at five years old, but despite my shrinking brain I still seem to have room for memories of these informal lessons.

It's a fact: I have too many hats, and too many hobbies. It's so much harder to be a renaissance person today, without the country house and servants. Sure, I need the 14 pairs of dinner gloves, the 60s car coats, and all those eyeglasses. But, I also need a handmaiden to attend to them all.

Until then, with Rubbermaid and heavy heart, I will try to make the right choices, to find salvation in small bags for Goodwill.

1 comment:

Russian Spy said...

I still don't have the heart to throw away anything except for newspapers (who needs them?), not even the airline ticket stubs, which both chronicle and justify my existence.
RS