In the course of a little spring cleaning, it has come to my attention that there are two types of people in this world. People who regularly cull their wardrobes, gleaning items that no longer fit or haven't been worn for a while, and those who hold onto everything, come hell or high fashion. Knee-deep in swag, closets bulging at the seams, squishing more and more into already limited space, sometimes resorting shamefully to double hanging (2-3 items on one hanger) – these people, my friends, are clothes hoarders.
Now, depending on how famous they become, a clothes hoarder may be viewed through the lens of time, not as a saddo with too much stuff, but a Wallace Simpson: outfits a snapshot of a life lived in style, from flapper dresses and pearls to mod shifts, someone who ends up leaving their belongings to a museum. This largely comes down to the quality of their collection. Balenciaga gowns, vintage Halston, “Yes, please” says the V&A. 150 Hawaiian shirts, all pretty much the same, and you'll probably get, “No, thank you. Security will escort you to the exit.”
You can guess where I'm going with this. Yes, the economist is a clothes hoarder. Borer Towers is filled to the rafters with everything from Dr Martins' brothel creepers to acid-house flares. Worse, like a doomsdayer anticipating the fall of civilization, he has secret caches all over town: 20 jackets hang on the back of his office door, fifteen jandals (none of them matching) litter the backseat of our car, multiple jerseys make a woolly nest at the bach – shoring up supplies in readiness for a clothing apocalypse leaving him sartorially unmanned. Plus, he doesn't want anyone (except for me) to see him in exactly the same outfit twice, in case he be thought boring. Its like living with a really hairy Princess Diana.
I don't want you to think badly of my Snugglebumpkins. There are no flattened cats buried under piles of rubbish in our house. People need not fear a tower of newspaper collapsing on them should they visit. But the economist does have enough clothing to dress 300 people (replacement value: $12.50), if they were all 6ft tall, 100kgs and colour blind. This clothes hoarding is not without reason, stemming as it does from a pre-Rogernomics adolescence (young persons, I'll spare you the dull fiscal history, trust me when I say there was once a time when you could only buy boardshorts in Australia and there was no such thing as the Warehouse). Luckily, for him, the poor man has a sickness.
According to British researchers Ashley Nordsletten and Mataix-Cols, 2-5% of the adult population would meet the criteria for a diagnosis of hoarding: persistent difficulty discarding or parting with personal possessions regardless of actual value, strong urges to save items and/or distress associated with discarding them, leading to extreme cluttering of the home. However, I think Nordsletten and Cols might be batting a bit low; according to an uber-scientific Facebook poll of my own, that percentage could be much, much higher.
“If you keep it long enough, it comes back into fashion, said Robyn, who identifies as a hoarder. “Keeping the same body you had the last time you wore it is a little more challenging...”
“I'm more hoper than hoarder,” said Sandra, “hoping one day I'll fit them again.”
Michelle confessed, "we shifted house last year - and found boxes never unpacked from 13 years ago - with clothes I couldn't bear to throw away.”
"My name is Jo and I am a clothes hoarder,” said Jo. “I have clothes going back to when I was at school. When I go through them to throw them away, I remember all the brilliant times I had wearing them, where I bought them and who I was with and I decide to keep them again.”
How sweet. I am the opposite. I discard often and mercilessly, as water retention and the fashionable-ness of orange dictate. Perhaps it is symptomatic of a ruthlessly unsentimental personality, but it gives me a reason to shop.
“Its not hoarding,” protests the economist. “Its contingency clothing curation.” Whatever. Don't tell him, but I have started giving items away. Come to our house at the moment and you might just leave with something from the 2015 Boyfriend Isn't Home Collection. This does give rise to complications. A certain attire overlap.
“That's a nice jersey,” said the economist at a party recently. “I've got one just like it.”
Oh no he doesn't.