No garage sales in my future

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I’ve been asked in the past to participate in garage sales.

“Just bring your used stuff over and we’ll include it with ours,” have said friends and co-workers.

Well, I would if I could. The problem is that no one will ever want what I have.

I tried — I went to the space where all my current clothes are stored. The truth is that this black hole is completely filled with ancient clothes that were long ago deactivated so the stuff I actually wear is stacked in piles or hung on a sliver of the rack.

So, just take it all to a garage sale, you say. Not going to happen. This isn’t stuff that anyone will ever want to wear and I’m not quite sure why I’m hanging on.

I started going through the hangers — well, there’s that bridesmaid dress from 1995. And there’s another from 1994. And another from 1992. And another from 1991. In an array ranging from black, to metallic blue, to a strange gold with black brocade, there hang some sorry throw-backs in formal wear.

And there are prom dresses — so many, so much money, but no use in sight. My light blue, long dress with big ruffle at the bottom — good God, I was wearing a chiffon bedspread. And another — a giant white mess of off-the-shoulder cotton with monstrous bands of elastic around the chest, the waist and even the strange sleeves.

Of course, there also hangs the Cyndi Lauper dress. I’d never wear it today and no one would be caught dead in it now. But I am proud to hang onto that bold strapless monstrosity which is bright red, with giant black polka dots and netting under the big skirt. It’s ridiculous — but at the time, it was so incredibly cool.

I still have the vintage 1980s dress I wore the first time I told my husband that I loved him. It’s so strange — this white, net-like thing draped over a super-tight, Spandex-type cocoon. I guess the effect was to look like a mermaid that had just gotten caught in a fisherman’s net. I didn’t wear the dress specifically to break the news to him — we just happened to be at a friend’s wedding when the words came flying out of my mouth. Luckily, he was already blindsided by the netting and my giant gold earrings.

Of course, there still hangs my black leather skirt. Real leather, I’m telling you. The purchase of a lifetime. I’d still wear it today — if I could get it on. Not sure what happened . . . over the past few decades, it must have shrunk while hanging in the closet. Can’t imagine . . . just can’t . . . quite . . . get the . . . zipper up . . . and still breathe . . . at the same . . . time. But if that leather ever relaxes . . . or whatever miracle has to take place . . . I’m going to wear it again.

Next to it is the brown suede skirt that I should have never worn in the first place — way too short. Now that I’ve gotten wider over the years (or again, the skirt shrunk), it’s probably even shorter than it was in the late 80s.

There are some drawers containing pieces of lingerie. Well, dusty lingerie. My anatomical features used to match up to fabric logistics. It’s interesting how the bottom of the drawer holds more see-through and risqué pieces. Then appear the layers of conservatism . . . first slinky silk nightgowns, then warmer fabrics like cotton and flannel, now buried under pajamas and a fleecy robe.

There are decades of jeans — straight-legged, the kind that we rolled up at the bottoms (again, 1980s, early 1990s), the wide bottoms from a few years ago, the high-waisted, the low-waisted, stone-washed, tie-dyed, ripped, torn, faded, dark westerns and even a pair of Chics from my first week of college.

The shelves are filled with shoes — cobwebs in some because they’ve been there so long. There are the hideous ankle-high witch boots I wore on New Year’s Eve in 1989, the pointed-toe flats we wore with those horrible stirrup pants and even a pair of bright pink pumps.

There’s nowhere to put my current clothes and there is nowhere to dispose of this stuff. No one would want it, even if it was free. I’m sure there’s even a landfill law, upheld by the EPA and the DEQ and anyone else who cares, which prevents its disposal.

Maybe I’ll hold onto it and start my own museum someday.

Maybe I’ll seal the whole room off and leave a map for this time capsule – so future generations can research the use of long, neon belts that wrapped around us a million times (they’ll call it the “Madonna Effect”).

Or, hey, maybe I’ll find a way to slip back into that leather skirt and those interesting pieces of lingerie . . . but I’m also going to need a time machine and some extra vitamins.

No matter what I decide to do with these antiques, there’s no way that a garage sale is in my future. So I guess I’ll just hang onto the past . . . and build another closet.


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