The CUT: Well Hung
Before pandemic the barbershop was my spot.
I used to take a load off while I got my hair did every three weeks or so—Shout out to Austin and his crew at Austin’s Barber Shop at William’s Village shopping center in Boulder. Aside from some well deserved self-care the barber was one of the few places I ever slowed down enough to forget about work and life.
Fellas would crack jokes, talk sports, and give out life advice. Much of the ‘advice’ wasn’t any wiser than it was delivered from a place of expertise. Regardless, most of it was fun and funny and sometimes a true, valuable pearl of wisdom would slip through.
About this time three years ago I sat in Austin’s chair getting my fade on and complained about all the clothes I had in my closet that I never wore.
One of the guys waiting for his turn listened to my qualms before telling me what he does to solve the same dilemma, “What you need to do is flip all your hangers so the hooks are facing out. Next set a reminder in your phone for a year from then. As you wear your clothes throughout the year put them back on the hangers facing in. Finally, when your alarm goes off check out all your hangers. You’ll know you haven’t worn the ones that are still backwards in a year, so you’ll be able to get rid of them.”
It was a gem unlike any I had heard before while in the chair. It was like liquid gold was being poured into my ears. I knew the advice was perfect.
I’ve stuck to that script twice since and just last weekend my ‘closet hanger check ‘ alarm buzzed once again. I stared into my closet. Many, many hangers were still flipped; exactly how they were one year in the past.
As you’re probably aware, 2020 was surreal. Like many, I hardly had any opportunity to get dressed up. I barely went out except for work or to go to stores.
Naturally, there was an array of dress clothes I hadn’t worn. Short and long sleeve button downs, polos, and slacks; you name it. There were t-shirts from bands and businesses I hadn’t worn either. There were jackets and other miscellanea with their own backwards hangers as well. They were all calling out to me waiting to be released from the roster.
There’s even a half rack in my closet where I’ve been keeping a bunch of clothing I told myself I’d sell, but never got around to. Last year wasn’t a great year for clothing in my reselling side hustle, so there was more than what I usually had to sort through.
The sales clothes were easy. Screw ’em!
I could waste time on photos, picture edits, professional listings, and knuckleheads on the internet and maybe make five or ten dollars per item, but it’s not worth it. I value my space and resources far greater than that.
I took all the sales clothes off hangers except a Wolverine t-shirt and some fancy-Nancy Tommy Bahama sweat suits. The Wolverine shirt is one of my old faves. It’s too big to wear, but it’s so soft and comfy that I still can’t let go.
I won’t wear the Tommy Bahama gear either, but it’s premium and in like new condition. I’ll either try to sell those or I won’t, and will be having this same internal dialogue next time around like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day.
I neatly folded the sale clothes and set them to the side.
Next was the hard part. I had to assess the clothes I might one day still wear. When I’m home I tend to wear the same few things. I’m wearing the same sweatpants I spent most of the pandemic in as I write this. I may or may not have been wearing the same thing when I did my CUT.
I pulled down a solid black Old Navy fleece from my retail sales days and some old 5 and 10K race participant tech tees that I never loved and loaded it all into shopping bags. I flipped the rest of the hangers around again for the third time and finally reset my annual reminder and called it a day.
I was victorious at filling four shopping bags with clothing to give to the needy and simultaneously defeated by not really giving up anything from my actual wardrobe. Much of what I hadn’t worn in the past twelve months came down to pandemic and quarantine. . .or did it? The line between COVID-19 and old fashioned too much was blurred.
More clothing got a pass than I hoped, but in light of everything I made a deal with myself. I wasn’t going to beat myself up. I set a second alarm for six months out. I would make my closet hanger check a biannual experience instead.
You’ve now been blessed with the same priceless advice I received while sitting in the barber chair all those years ago. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably got too many clothes to go along with all your other too much. I recommend trying out this simple method of reduction for yourself.
And if anyone has an idea how to similarly deal with folded items in dressers and on shelves I’d love hear them. Just use the comments button below.
So flip your hangers or don’t, but remember one day someone is going to have to go through all that clothing. It may as well be you and on your own terms.
Until the next The CUT, want less and save more. . .and as always stay geeky.
Written by John Andreula
Edits by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk