Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day Six: The Clothes, The Clothes!

At home near Fort Worth, Texas...

With the Thanksgiving rites finally over, I was feeling a bit frustrated that the purging process had pretty much come to a stop while we were cooking and visiting. (By the way, in regard to the titles of these posts indicating the day number of the project--this figure includes only the days in which we actually work on the purging; who knows what the final number will be?) 

To try to achieve a sense of accomplishment for the day, I announced that I would be taking a run at my side of the master closet. (Actually, calling it 'my side' would be a misnomer; it would be more appropriate to call it a 'corner' of Sandy's closet.) Even so, it proved to be a fertile ground for reaping excess garments; I snagged all of these items of mine in the two photos below on just the first pass:

The criterion used for selecting these things for recycling was almost exclusively 'do I really like it?' If the answer was no, out it came.

Then there were the ties! In this pile are 31 ties, most of which I didn't like and didn't wear, even when I was wo#king.

I am almost ashamed to say that there are probably 50 ties still remaining that I do like and about which decisions will need to be made. And no, I had no idea there were so many.

I was also able to get rid of three pairs of dress shoes that I certainly will not be needing. I'm also ashamed to say there are perhaps a dozen pairs remaining, not counting the casual shoes I now wear almost exclusively in retirement. Many of the dress shoes are brand new and still in boxes. And no, I didn't realize there were so many.

Now before you leap to the conclusion that I am a clothes horse or a shopaholic, you should know that I really don't like shopping and rarely go shopping for myself. When I did go, however, I tended to overbuy, I guess, thinking if I did, I may not have to go again for a long time. The seeming largess represented here is the result of an accumulation over many years, and some of it is due to the attentiveness to bargain hunting by my dear Sandy. She rarely pays full price for anything, and if she can't find a good deal in her department, she has been known to drop into the menswear section and drag something home for me. (This has mostly been reduced to a trickle now that we have grandsons, her clothing of whom has now reached a zeal not seen since the crusades.) 

Now I'm very appreciative of Sandy's thriftiness, but as new items came into my closet, I didn't necessarily discard anything in their place. This will not do in the fulltiming world, as many have advised me it will be necessary to have a one in, one out rule--if something comes into the coach, something will have to go out. 

While I'm thinking about it, let me go ahead and acknowledge those who have been thoughtful enough to offer advice about the task we are now undertaking. I am not a person who resents advice from others. I may not always follow it, but I always value the input. And I admit to shamelessly stealing good ideas from other folks. 

I suppose my penchant for listening to the advice of others stems from my years in the cockpit of an airliner, where the crew must communicate well in order to ensure no critical information is missed. As a management pilot and check airman, it was my duty to instill this concept in the flight crews and ensure that the captains insisted on a robust give-and-take with the rest of the flight crew, including the flight attendants. Later, in my FAA career, our oversight of airline training programs had no shortage of emphasis on this concept. Having in-depth knowledge of the causes of airline accidents via the FAA, I can tell you that inadequate crew interaction was a factor in way too many of them over the years.

But, I digress. Sweet Sandy, perhaps caught up in my beehive of activity, decided to take another sweep at her side of the closet! And what did she come up with? More discards! 

Now we're accumulating a pile of coat hangers! Sandy is discarding the wire ones, but our recycling service won't take them. I'm going to ask the thrift shop if they need any.

Apparently, she must really have gotten into the spirit, as there was soon a pile of old purses on the bed! 

Almost giddy about her display of newly-found energy, I quickly bagged them up for the trip to the church thrift shop, along with the other stuff we hauled out of the closet this evening. When I take this load to the donation center,  especially after the trips we've already made, I'm pretty sure they're going to ask me who died! When they do, I suppose I'll have to explain what we're doing and watch them shake their heads in disbelief, a common reaction, we've found.

What is clear is that we cannot do a complete job of culling things in just one session. Each time I go in the closet, I seem to notice something else that needs to be discarded; Sandy's experience has been the same. I'm pretty sure this will continue until we have the desired outcome.

Now you may wonder why we elected to air all this dirty laundry, if you'll pardon the expression. The answer is threefold: 1) It may help others who may be considering going fulltime; 2) It will certainly provide entertainment to whose who already have; and 3) It seems to help solidify our determination to become less interested in the accumulation of 'stuff.' We thought we had pared down rather well when we moved from our 3,400 square foot house to this one, but it's obvious now that we have some way yet to go. When we consider the plight of so many in the third world who have so little, we can't help but wonder what we were thinking. We've decided to donate all of our excess to charity and sell nothing; that's not much, but it's a start.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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