After I “finished” The Hat Project, I realized I no longer knew where most of my hats were. I’d added hats during the project and acquired even more since the project “ended.” I’d moved hats around to accommodate the new arrivals. Assuming I had anywhere to go (not a given in COVID times) I wouldn’t be able to find my desired hat without taking down several boxes.
I had to get organized.
I created a table listing all the hats in The Hat Project’s Hat Gallery, sortable by color. Then I started opening boxes, inventorying the contents, and tagging each box with a sticky that listed the hats inside.
In the middle of this effort, a friend called. When I told her what I was doing, she mentioned how great it was to “KonMarie” one’s surroundings.
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “I’m a maximalist.”
Some people are taking the shutdown as an opportunity to clean out their houses. Not me. To me, now is when you want your nest extra feathery. Forget cleaning out the closet. Yesterday I bought a fifties vintage coat AND a sixties vintage suit. Plus, I find minimalist interiors depressing. All that white and beige and gray brings me down. Where's the color, where's the fun?
I’ve read many articles that advocated turning all your hangers around and only turning them to the right side again when you’ve worn a garment. At the end of the year, you discard anything unworn. I know myself. I’d be searching through those hangers for unworn clothes so that I could wear them before the year was up. I don’t want to get rid of them.
Yes, I could definitely tidy up my office (papers seem to explode there) and my bedside table, where old New Yorker magazines go to die. But my clothes? My books? A purge every few years does fine for me.
Even the short stories I write have been getting longer. I've switched from 1000-word flash fictions to thirty-page opuses.
COVID has forced austerity on all of us, and I’m sick of it. When this is over, I’m going to dress up for everything. I’m going to wear my vintage beaded yellow blouse and my gold lamé coat and a velvet evening hat to the local bistro. I’m going to travel to New Zealand and everywhere else I’ve dreamed of visiting. I’m going to throw a big party with great food and music. I’m going full maximalist on life.
Nothing creative ever happens in a tidy way. Every first draft I write (even of this blog) is a mess. I don’t want to live in a white and beige tidy world. I want to live with a lime green sofa and a colorful Mexican tile kitchen table, and a stack of books that don’t fit on the nightstand next to the bed, and ideas for abandoned stories littering my computer, and too many beautiful vases crammed into my cupboards.
Yes, I do want my hats to be organized. But right now I’m keeping all eighty of them. And I’ll always find room for another fabulous find.
3/9/2021 12:01:56 pm
Love this Ann! It made me smile, laugh and say way to go. I so agree. I'm so tired of the forced austerity. The other day I got a little too dressed up to go to the grocery store! I know some people like it, but I find white and gray walls depressing. I live in an 1890s Victorian and each room has a different wall color that's very well, shall I say colorful? And I totally agree with you about tidiness in art. A tidy hat room is not the key to success. Whatever I'm on full on creation mode, my room is so messy I can't even find my phone or glasses. But that's okay.
3/9/2021 02:11:47 pm
3/10/2021 10:48:31 am
OMG Ann!! I love the idea of a colorful life!! I'm all about bright colors. It brings happiness to my life. Traveling to New Zealand sounds like an amazing treat...Great Job!!
3/10/2021 11:20:36 am
Thanks, Laura! Yes, I take up more than my fair share of our walk-in closet, plus most of the guest room closet is full of hats and more clothes. The day may come when I downsize, but it hasn't come yet!
3/10/2021 04:09:08 pm
So nice to hear others defend their collections. I will be wearing all my pretty things as well, just because this is how I express myself now that I am older, family is grown and gone....why not? I've got my own way of dressing, up or casually, still have my health, so lets get together soon hopefully at church, and celebrate life.
3/10/2021 05:01:17 pm
Pat, I too feel that fashion is self-expression--a form of art, really. Look forward seeing you soon, hopefully--we'll both wear some fabulous hats!
3/15/2021 06:12:47 pm
I think you should devote a portion of some relatively unused room in your house to these hat boxes. Don't hide them away. Pile them up in an artistic way as a part of your decor. People will think it's unique and will wonder why they haven't thought of something like that.
3/15/2021 08:57:21 pm
Hmmm...maybe a hatbox Christmas tree?
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Ann Hillesland writes fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Bayou, The Laurel Review, and Sou’wester.
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