The Closet Project – One Month To Save My Threads

Earlier this week I waited in Heathrow Terminal 2 for a return flight to Dublin. I waited. And I waited. The only advancement being made was the ever growing estimated take-off time taunting me from the multiple screens. I was alone, it was late and was more than slightly over pacing the near-empty waiting area and soon-to-close Duty Free hall. Needless to say, by the time I arrived in Dublin, hours late and slightly punch drunk, I was eager for some human interaction. Special Gentleman collected me and told me of his work trip from which he just returned. By way of response I smiled, told him I just realised that I was in fact too tired to fill him in on any of my weekend away and that staying awake long enough to get to bed would be an achievement. Then that funny thing happened (it always happens) – just when I thought my eye lids might hit the floor with the newly developed weights that were now in situ, as I was finally washed and brushed and  prepared for my long-awaited slumber, flash goes my brain and my mind has now fully engaged. My consciousness has sprung back into actions with racing thoughts, to-do lists and an insatiable appetite to chat.

checking in for flight

I frantically told Special Gentleman of my plans for sorting the office and organising the shelves so they were more aesthetically pleasing. I shared how we needed to move the direction of the fold-down bed in the spare room as its current location was nothing short of ridiculous. I explained how I was doing a super sort of my clothes which were taking up all of the wardrobes in the bedroom and half of those in the spare room (selfishly, he takes up the other full half in said overflow room). Suddenly he was engaged. ‘That’s a great idea’ came the predictable response (had I not been so sleep deprived I never would have walked into it). ‘You should sort all of those clothes you never wear and get rid of them. Remember you said you were going to do a Car Boot sale? Start trading on eBay? Have a sale rail? That pop-up shop. Remember?’

Woman at her desk

I told him in no uncertain terms that I absolutely do not have loads of clothes that I don’t wear and those to which I was referring in the whole ‘sale’ conversations are pieces that were specifically bought to sell on but actually, I am now very attached and wear them all the time. I don’t generally distinguish between work and play clothes so the fact is that I have use for all of them’. That told him. Then I heard something sounding suspiciously like a muffled yet mocking guffaw. ‘Well that’s no where near true. You do not wear all of your clothes all of the time because you couldn’t. You have enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day of the year’. I told him that was a ludicrous statement. I assured him that I don’t even have enough to wear a different outfit every day for a month. This time the guffaw was less muffled. As we went back and forth pushing our own version of the truth, it somehow came about that there was only one way to prove our specific opinions to be true. Before I knew it I was agreeing to wear every single item of my wardrobe over the next month, thus proving that each item is as wearable, indispensable and essential as I claim it to be; proving that I have just enough clothes to see me through a month without repeating an outfit. Anything left over that I have not worn, I will get rid of by way of donation, sale or exchange. Absolutely no problem. We spat, shook and both went into our slumber all the happier knowing how clever we were.


I woke with a slight panic. My dreams were filled with the Vintage gowns (yes, gowns) that hang in my wardrobe for which I couldn’t call to mind even one occasion that I might wear them over the next 4 months, never mind weeks. I began to call to mind some of the more ridiculous items that I have brought on every trip away (because you expect to wear such items in New York, don’t you?) and have never found reason to don. I began to perspire as I imagined some of my most precious items hanging in the window of Fred’s Fashions just waiting to raise money for charity. The thoughts were endless and frightening. By way of calming myself, I decided the first thing to do was count my hangers. I have one section of my wardrobe that is for skirts, shorts and trousers only – bottoms, if you will. I counted 30 hangers. Yep, the average amount of days in a month. For a girl with a severe dress habit, things were not looking good. By way of organisation and hopefully dodging some bullets, I have taken out everything that is deemed ‘summer’ and packed it away. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still life in this old sun yet so I will require my suitably flimsy threads for the coming weeks. Summer clothes refer to those that you wear on holiday but really nowhere else. These clothes no longer get hangers; they get vacuum packed.


The amount of space I take up with ‘stuff’ is quite the bone of contention for us as a couple. You see I’m a hoarder collector and he’s a protestant. By nature I am easily emotionally attached to things. By nature he is organised and practical. Honestly I don’t really know how we have made it this far. For him, this is the perfect opportunity to rid our home of what he deems clutter. For me it’s an opportunity to reconnect with my wardrobe in a practical (and terrifying) way. Knowing I have to wear everything in there means that those buttons will have to be sewn on, those rips mended, those see-through threads given a little modesty – I’ll need to get around to shit that I’ve been avoiding for years. Part of my job is to encourage people to be ruthless with their own threads; to shed the unworn; to tend to the unhappy; to lose the unloved. Much like the smoking doctor however, I find it terribly difficult to practice what I preach.


 For a girl that claims on a daily basis to have absolutely nothing to wear, I sure am feeling very attached to all of that nothing in my wardrobe…

Wish me luck!

x Irene x

 PS – I shall share the outfits on my Instagram if you care to follow my sartorial progress (I have a feeling things will get quite interesting come the halfway point). I’ll let you know how I’m handling the stress back here!