THIS WEEK: on the overwhelm

No room at the inn

 I am officially at peak wardrobe bulge. I’m sure I’ve been heading that way for a good few months but it reached critical mass on Tuesday as I unpacked from my Portuguese mini break (which was very nice, thanks for asking). 

Tipping the contents of my suitcase onto the bed, I went to put everything away but then – oh heck, no room at the inn. My drawers were at capacity, I’d run out of hangers (even the ones I’d nicked from Ben’s side) and the stool in the corner of the bedroom – aka my backup wardrobe – had a pile so high and leaning it could have set up shop in Pisa. I was suddenly overwhelmed by midi dresses and roll necks. Jeans and T-shirts threatened to spill at every turn. My solution? I stuck everything back in my suitcase, closed the door and poured myself a wine.

I’m a neat freak; mess stresses me out. However my clothes storage situation – or lack there of –  is clearly out of control. I have recently been putting things in the wash basket just to keep them out of the way. 

I need to be more Marie Kondo about things. Side note, I interviewed her once. She’s teeny, like a little doll. And she makes her husband carry her handbag which I think is rather brilliant. There is video footage on the internet somewhere of her Kondoing my desk. Does this laptop spark joy? Nope! Put it in the bin! Not really – although she did make me thank a paperclip before I threw it away.

Anyway! Be. More. Kondo. Except the thing is, I like my clothes – everything sparks joy. I have a very joyous wardrobe – too joyous it would seem, hence my current overload. And whilst I enjoy a good cull now and again, I refuse to get rid of pieces that I still want to wear.

So what now? Vertical folding? Don’t be daft (sorry Kondo but it’s not worth the tedium). Having given it some though I have a two-fold plan. 

The first step is vac bagging. Having never had a separate summer and winter wardrobe (more a seasonal mishmash), I am going to do what all the fashion magazines tell you to do and split my stuff into ‘warm’ and ‘cold’. The cold stuff (chunky jumpers, tights, my twenty bazillion pairs of black jeans) are getting packed into vacuum bags, sucked to within an inch of their lives and shoved under the bed. I shall also be doing this with coats, making sure I give them a brush (with this) first to get rid of moth-attracting dust – a tip I picked up from a fellow fashion editor friend. 

As for my warm-weather gear, here’s where the second step comes in. These shall now live on space-saving hangers which are quite honestly the best thing I’ve ever bought, taking up about half the room of normal ones. Ta-da! Double the wardrobe space.

Wardrobe overwhelm at bay (for the meantime), now where’s Ben to carry my handbag?

Getting my hands dirty

 People assume that because I’m an oversharer – compliment my lipstick and I’ll tell you about the hormonal breakout sparked by coming off the hormonal pill – that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. But the only true reflection of my mental state at any time is the state of my flat. Its cleanliness, or disarray, is my coping barometer.

I can meet deadlines at work, take on freelance deadlines outside of it, squeeze dates into free nights between friend/family/work dinners and – bar a bit of moaning – seem to be juggling everything ok. It’s at home, when I close my front door on everything else, that I drop the ball.
Or rather, the pot plant. I have nine, not including those on the balcony currently fending for themselves as there’s a dead spider in my watering jug and I’m not sure how to dispose of the body. This plant has green and pink variegated leaves (it was a gift, and I’m not sure what it is) and sits on the time of a low cupboard halfway up my stairs. It’s the first thing you see when you come in.
About a month ago, the framed print behind it – which has been leaning against the wall atop the cupboard for a year, fell forward, taking the plant down with it. I came home late after a 12 hour day to find plant and print in a heap on the carpet. 

At first I bypassed them to check I hadn’t been burgled – but no, my satin Manolos were untouched (literally, as I never wear them), and my mismatched eBay ceramics all present and correct. I walked back down the stairs, righted the frame and plant, and then considered the mound of earth on my carpet. It would have taken me two minutes to gather it all up with the dustpan and brush that’s under my kitchen sink.
Instead, I just looked at it. The deadlines were too much, the to-do list too long. Too many people in my life needed emotional cheerleading. By the the time I arrived home each night I was catatonic, unseeing as Netflix played back to back episodes of The Great Interior Design Challenge until one in the morning. I’d reached saturation point, and that little mound of earth had tipped the scale; it was one to-do too many, and so I stepped over it.

I didn’t forget. It niggled at me constantly – but I kept stepping over it for four days.  Finally I had a Friday night to spend without a late finish at work, or a friend/family/work dinner. I cooked dinner, washed my hair, went to bed not worrying about the scarcity of sleep I could fit in before my morning alarm. I woke up, got the dustpan and brush, and scooped up the dirt.

That Saturday, I finally hung the print – and nine others – on the walls. I replaced a blown light bulb, rearranged my kitchen shelves, started listing things from my ‘to sell’ pile on eBay. I may never get to the bottom of my mental to-do list – but writing it down seems like a good place to start.

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