The other day whilst tidying up my wardrobe and drawers, the sudden realisation hit me of just how much stuff I actually have; and more to the point how I don’t actually NEED anymore things. Not really. Sure, an extra purchase here or there to finish a look would be nice, but really I have enough. Of some things, probably too much. I could probably give half my stuff away – which is in fact one of the reasons for the clear out – and still have enough.
I’m one of those ‘just in case people’ who keeps bizarre and unusual things just on the off chance I might one day need them. (I think it’s genetic – my mother’s a hardcore hoarder too!) One day in the future, perhaps I might camel ride again I contend, so I’ll keep a chic yet practical camel riding costume on hand, just in case. Who knows, at some point I might be called upon to dress up as a Tudor person (again), or Wednesday from the Adams family, or zip wire into a jungle, or boss it up in a boardroom. Whatever the occasion, you can be sure that I have an outfit for it. The problem with spending so much time living out of a suitcase and tailoring your luggage to that particular trip, is that you rarely have time to take stock of all that you actually have. I know we talk about travelling light, but I think lots of us may be doing that, whilst at the same time amassing a secret arsenal of outfits and other paraphernalia back home.
But it’s not just physical stuff. With each item comes a memory – an attachment to where or why you bought it and memories of who you were with and what you did whilst wearing it. A wardrobe isn’t so much a holder of things, but of rather of memories. And opening the wardrobe, much like in C.S Lewis’s novels, transports you somewhere else, although in this case you are not so much stepping into Narnia, but rather back in time. I have the dress I wore to graduation, the hoodie I was wearing the first time I met my ex and my infamous lucky red beret. Some items are, of course, kept for nostalgia’s sake, rather that for any real purpose. It’s not likely, for example, that I will wear the bridesmaid’s dress I wore for my friends’ wedding again, but there’s something a bit irreverent about throwing it away, and besides it’s nice to keep the memory of such a happy day.
Another thing this week which really allowed me to take stock and put these things in perspective is a video made by Spanish production company ‘Dulcinea Studios’. As part of an experiment, the crew invited along several people from different backgrounds and age groups, sat them in pairs separated only by a thin partition and proceeded to ask them the same question: what would they wish for if they only had one wish. Now, I won’t spoil the video for you, but I will say that the division was deliberate and the answers on the two sides are markedly different. And, whilst we’d all like to think we would answer in the best way possible, I think that most of us would probably answer in a similar vein to those who answered first: answers which are in and of themselves all perfectly normal and acceptable. It is only when you hear how those on the other side answer that your lens zooms out and you begin to see the bigger picture. A gentle reminder that whilst lots of things might be important in your life right now, some things blow everything else clean out of the water.
Look after yourselves and your loved ones folks!