Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Bulging closets are proof I'm addicted to shopping

A confession: I am a shopaholic.

No matter if the sale signs say 40 or 70 percent off or buy one, get one free, or donate an article and get 20 percent off on a new one, I am tempted. Staying out of the stores would be easier, except shopaholics "just like to look around."

One reason for the admission of guilt is simple. It's a way to save money.

But equally important are the bulging closets. Deciding what to wear at my house is a lot like going shopping.

Name the color, the occasion, the style, and even the size and it's probably in one of the three upstairs closets. If it's not, maybe it's in the attic where cardboard storage units hold the seasonal overload. If it's a shawl or coat for the cold or rain, try the coat closet.

That may sound organized, but trust me, it is not. Almost daily I am surprised to find something while looking for something else. It is downright sinful to have overdosed on clothes shopping. My excuse is that since I retired from full-time work in 1995 I have had too much time to shop. But that's pretty weak when you consider that's the same year I moved to Posey Lake, where there isn't even a store to buy a loaf of bread. It's a six-mile drive to Hudson, Mich., where there is some clothing at the dollar store, and a 12-mile drive to Adrian, with several stores that have been the source of many of the closet treasures.

But friends know Toledo is my shopping mecca.

Two recent Toledo fashion shows gave audiences previews of the latest in trend-setting styles. They were the fashion show sponsored by the Toledo Animal Shelter Auxiliary last week and the Sept. 23 Ability Center of Greater Toledo's annual show. Both were fund-raisers and prime social events where ticket holders are a fashion show themselves in their daytime best and vendors set up traveling boutiques. Having attended my share of fashion shows, I was surprised that neither of these events had a running commentary on the ensembles as they were presented on the runway.

It didn't really matter personally what the prices and sources were because I had already decided not to buy. But just for the record, ladies, heels are very high and I have bathing suits that are about the same length as the short skirts that looked like they would be cold to wear, but in the name of fashion were hot stuff.

Purging closets is not just challenging - it's painful, because whatever you decide to get rid of you are sure to wish you had back in a few weeks. That's when you ask yourself, did I get rid of that wonderful warm wool sweater? I hope not. But you did.

Donating clothes to charity is admirable and soul-soothing. But, taking clothing to a second-time-around-store is not always as rewarding as we would hope.

The drill goes something like this: You finally decide to sell your favorite fall suit and make a few dollars. You hold it up to the light and even press out a wrinkle before bundling it in plastic to present to the store. You may as well take the white silk blouse that is getting tight, and the brown wool slacks that you never should have bought.

At the store, the person who has the distinction of accepting or not accepting clothes checks them out microscopically. No on the suit because skirts are not in, even though fashion shows and magazines say they are. No on the white silk blouse because a fly speck was detected under the magnifying glass. But yes on the brown slacks because they still have the cleaning tag and brown is in.

Now do you donate the white blouse and suit to a charitable organization and get rid of them for good? Or tote them home and find room in the closet?

Last question. Did the $3 received for the slacks pay for your gas and stress?

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

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