My parents sent me a stun gun as part of a care package in college.
I figured I should open with that, so that when I say, “I found my stun gun in a shoe box in the back of my closet over the weekend” – ya’ll don’t think I’m the kind of girl who A) knows where to buy a stun gun, and B) keeps it in a shoe box in the back of her closet. Nestled next to a scarf and a pair of high heels. Because that’s where it was. Who knows why. Who packed that box when I was moving?
Me. I packed it. I packed all of my boxes. And when I ran across that stun gun, I was probably like, “Well, I don’t have a box marked ‘Weapons’ …. sooo let’s just put it in this shoe box. That should be fine.”
That makes about as much sense as me having a stun gun in the first place.
My parents sent it to me when I was a freshman in college as a… present? Warning? I don’t even know. (They aren’t crazy. They just, care. A lot.) I opened it in the lobby of our dorm building, assuming this was going to be… I don’t know, something normal. Like, a Tupperware container full of brownies. Or a sweatshirt. Or extra pens. Like I said, my parents aren’t crazy. They’d sent me presents before. But this was the first time they’d decided to send me a stun gun.
I didn’t even know what to do with it. I was afraid to touch it. I mean, it was in a box. And I don’t think it had batteries in it. But still. The box said, “high voltage”. Is that really something I should be carrying around in my purse? This little weapon of electricity? What if I shock someone on accident? What if I shock myself? Can I die from this?
“If you hold it up to someone for longer than seven seconds, it can stop their heart.” That’s what my mom said. After I called her to confirm that she did, in fact, mean to send me a stun gun. Part of me thought that this might have been an accident. A weird and unlikely accident, but still. My mother is the kind of mother who collects Tupperware and sent me boxes of mini-muffins in college. I didn’t know murder weapons were on her radar. Let alone that she knew where to buy one.
“Your dad bought it on eBay.” She said. Apparently you can buy them on eBay.
“What am I supposed to do with it?” I asked her. Maybe she thought if this college thing didn’t work out, I could be a gangster. Or a thug. Or someone who works the midnight shift at McDonalds.
“Carry it,” she said. “In your purse. Especially when you’re walking across campus at night.” Ohhh that’s what this was about. I had a night class that forced me to walk home in the evenings two nights a week. After the sun went down. Moms aren’t big fans of their daughters walking alone at night.
I didn’t carry it. I thought it was scary. I imagined scenarios where I would somehow electroshock myself on accident and fall to the ground twitching. I mean, it couldn’t DO anything unless someone pushed the button. BUT STILL. If anyone’s stun gun could accidentally shock them, from inside their purse, without pushing any buttons, I didn’t want it to be mine. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW.
I didn’t see the stun gun again until last Christmas. (It lived out my college experience on a dark shelf in the back of my closet. Despite my mother asking – really casually, by the way – “Have you used your stun gun yet?”… like I’d forget to tell her if I tased someone on my way to class.) It showed up in a bag – another one that my mother sent back with me to Chicago – shortly after Christmas. I guess she thought I could scare off a thug with a neck tattoo if I ever found myself in a rough neighborhood? I don’t know.
Regardless, I was inspired to write this post about “10 things you don’t need in your closet”. (There is no good transition here. I don’t want to be cheesy and say something like, “Realizing how much space my stun gun was taking up in my closet made me think about how much other space I could free up!”…. what space? It was in a shoe box, it was fine. But I already had the idea for this post, and the stun gun thing seemed like a funny anecdote)
Keep this handy list in mind the next time you’re cleaning out your closet. Don’t forget that there are a lot of things you DON’T NEED in there! Such as:
- Things that are damaged
- There’s a sweater that I bought at American Eagle two years ago. It was one of those sweaters that you “always look good in” – you know those clothes? When you feel like you have nothing to wear, and nothing looks right, but you have that one sweater you can throw on that makes everything feel like it’s going to be okay? This was that sweater. And it had a HOLE in it when I bought it. So I sewed it. Easy, right? Then, after wearing it again, I noticed another hole. So I sewed that one too. And it seemed like after every hole I sewed, each time I wore it, I would find a new hole. I don’t who made this sweater – but it’s TERRIBLY crafted… but it looks SO GOOD, so I keep it. And every time I pass by it in my closet, I think “Ehh… I love that sweater, but it has a hole in it”. And yet, when I consider getting rid of it, I think, “That’s the sweater I look SO GOOD in though! I can’t get rid of it!” WRONG. Either keep sewing the holes and keep the sweater, or leave the holes in there and GET RID OF IT. Snags, holes, tears, anything that is damaged – get it out!
- Totes you never open
- I have these tote boxes in my closet that moved with me that I’m afraid to open because I don’t want to go through them. I know what’s in there – junk. And I didn’t feel like sorting through it when I moved, so I stashed it on a shelf in my closet and – viola – out of sight, out of mind. BUT THINK ABOUT ALL OF THE VALUABLE ROOM THAT TOTE IS TAKING UP! I could be using that space for shoes! And honestly – if I haven’t opened it in six months, whatever’s in there probably won’t be missed if I got rid of it anyway.
- Clothes you”might” wear… but never do
- For every sweater that you pass by when donating clothes and say, “Hmmm I *could* wear that”. Sure. You could. With “the right jacket” or “the right accessories” or “maybe if I just style it a little differently next time. It’s not THAT bad.”….. why are you trying to convince yourself to keep something that you don’t even like? If you haven’t worn it yet, chances are, you’re not going to. Because if you liked it, you would have worn it by now. Get rid of it!
- I have five black t-shirts. Five. And they’re all basic black t-shirts. And the crazy thing is, when I’m looking for a black t-shirt to wear, I find myself saying, “No… where’s the one that I *like*?” It’s clear that I pick favorites. Make it easy on yourself – pick your favorite “duplicate” and get rid of the others!
- Why do I always, always, ALWAYS find shopping bags and receipts in my closet when I’m cleaning it out? Always. Like I just took the clothes out of the bag, hung them up, and tossed the bag in the closet too…? What? Get rid of that stuff!
- Clothes with sentimental value.
- Or, in this case, “fake” sentimental value. I have clothes that other people have bought for me that I really don’t even like. I never wear them. But I keep them because I feel guilty getting rid of them. “This was a gift,” I think. “Someone was very kind to think of me when they bought me this shirt”…. but I never wear it. So it’s time to get rid of it. Chances are, that person will never find out and you’ll always have the kind gesture to remember.
- Clothes with bad memories.
- This includes your ex-boyfriend’s hoodie. Stop being weird and holding on to that. It doesn’t make you romantic and nostalgic, it just makes you creepy.
- Clothes that aren’t part of your “brand”.
- I once bought a ruffly, pink tank top at Kohls because I saw Britney Spears wearing it in a Candies ad. And every time I considered wearing it for a night out, I thought it felt too “cutesy” and wasn’t my style. But I held on to it because I never wore it and told myself, “This is practically new, I might wear it”. See above. If you haven’t worn it yet, chances are, you’re not going to. Save yourself the headache and just get rid of it.
- Clothes that are faded and worn.
- We all have those clothes. They’re old. We don’t wear them anymore because they “look” old. Time to donate!
- Trends that aren’t in style anymore.
- This includes puffy vests, polo shirts, and that Goth phase you went through in college when you tried to convince everyone that you were “dark and interesting”.
What are your tips for cleaning out your closet? Is there anything that I missed? I want to hear your comments in the comment section! 🙂