I am a self confessed hoarder. Anyone who knows me well will confirm that I am not exaggerating. This is quite tricky as I have moved on average every 3 years of my life and tow most of it with me. Hence moving is a stressful task that I do not enjoy. I don’t consider it to be a good attribute either even though it has often come in handy and sometimes things I have kept for years have usefully found their place.
I have improved with age, like a good wine, and whilst I am far better than I used to be, I do still keep things for far too long. It’s generally a habit that is easy to live with because I tend to live in my own houses. I have only once house-shared and never wish to repeat the experience. So generally I have more space to fill, thus meaning putting a few bags in a corner of a ‘store room’ ie the spare bedroom doesn’t encroach on my everyday life. Easily ignored…..
As a costumier, designer and photoshoot stylist I am compelled to keep things – it’s part of my job surely. You never know when you might get asked for some obscure accessory or suddenly find yourself styling a shoot you never dreamed you would be doing. The juxtaposition of styling can be quite an eye opener.
Don’t get the wrong impression though, I’m not as bad as those characters that appear on programmes like ‘The Life of Grime’. I wouldn’t keep every edition of the local paper for the last 60 years, although I can see me becoming some mad old lady surrounded by rails and rails of disorganised apparel – like a badly organised vintage shop. If you’re ever in Oxford go to the ‘Unicorn’ – a vintage clothing shop of sorts with about 3 square metres of standing room only. Less of a shop, more a hoarder who just flung open the doors of her spare room in hope people would pay to remove things.
So every so often when the warning bells ring and my head feels cluttered by all the mess around me I have a grand clear out. I have been in my present abode for just about 2 years now and although I have occasionally delved in and thrown out a few things I haven’t strained myself in any way. My main vices are vintage clothing and keeping left over scraps from completed projects.
I do have to mentally build up to it and I promised myself that once Uni was over for the summer this was one of the first things on my hit list. An enforced cancellation of a day of work today told me this was it. The day had come.
First I must stress that this was a rubbish clear out, not a clothing clear out although I did find a few bits to add to my sales stall tomorrow. When I had finished, two and a half hours later, I was horrified to discover I had FILLED two full size wheelie bins from empty. Oh the shame! I do feel liberated though. I have been through every bag and every box and I now know exactly what is there.
There are two other things on my list for the summer as part of this clear out. One is to turn all the fabrics I have hoarded into clothing – who’s looking at it stuffed in a box anyway??? Two, to sell some of my stock. I have two industrial strength rails, both of them are crammed full of clothing. I often hang my head in shame in conversation when I say I must have about 40 costumes in stock. But looking at it today I suspect it is considerably more than that. It is mostly costume and impractical for daily wear. Some of them weigh rather a lot and they are all unique, individually made by me over the last 15 years or so. They have a history too, they have all moved with me where ever I have gone and have been the mainstay in my life. But it’s time to say goodbye to a few. Those I am particularly proud of I shall keep.
But here is where my hoarding instinct rears its ugly head once again. What if someone wants to hire some? Some of them have yet to earn their keep. I was considering getting rid of all my Georgian dresses. And then yesterday I recieved an enquiry about hiring four of them. So what do you do? The plot thickens….
Post clearout. You didn’t see it before….