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Favorite T-shirts serve as blend of cotton, memories


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I’ve never considered myself to be a hoarder. I have no trouble getting rid of things that I’m sure I no longer need, such as magazines and Swiss cheese with fuzzy green mold growing on it.

But when it comes to cleaning out the clothes closet, I definitely have a problem. I find it nearly impossible to dispose of clothes. More specifically, shirts.

When my pants start to show signs of wear, I have no problem donating them. But shirts seem to last a lot longer. I have some 15-year-old dress shirts that are still in good shape.

However, I did not stop buying shirts 15 years ago. I continue to buy a few new shirts every year. Now I have a whole closet full of dress shirts, polo shirts, flannel shirts and even a few Hawaiian shirts, all in wearable condition.

But I don’t wear them all. In fact, I would guess that in a year’s time I wear fewer than half of the shirts hanging in my closet. Some I wear quite often, others a few times a year and some only once.

That leaves roughly half a closet full of shirts I no longer wear, including some I haven’t worn in at least four years, and a couple I may never have worn at all. I know I should donate these shirts to people who need them, and I try. The process goes something like this:

I pull a shirt I haven’t worn in years off its hanger and start to toss it on a “donate” pile. Then I look at it and think, “This shirt is still in really good shape, and it’s not terribly out of style. I will start wearing this one again.”

So back on the hanger it goes … to remain unworn for yet another year, when the process repeats.

The “donate” pile usually ends up consisting of one or two shirts that I simply can’t wear because I’ve had them since I was young and my belly was flat. But sometimes even those go back on the rack. I’ll never be young again, but I haven’t given up on the belly quite yet.

Who knows, maybe keeping these too-small shirts will motivate me to exercise more. So far they haven’t, but miracles can happen.

While I have difficulty parting with shirts of the button-up variety, occasionally it happens. The same cannot be said when it comes to T-shirts.

Some of my favorites, and all of my long-sleeve T-shirts, are hanging in the closet. I have a dresser drawer full of T-shirts and another 50 or 60 folded T-shirts stacked on a shelf in the closet.

Over the warmer months maybe four of the shirts in the drawer will see regular duty. The rest won’t get worn at all. I might wear some of my favorites a couple of times, but others will just hang there. I have four long-sleeve T-shirts I wear regularly during the cold-weather months, but several more never come off the hanger.

The T-shirts stacked on the shelf all have some kind of sentimental value. Maybe they’re from a charity event or have a funny saying on them or were a gift from one of my daughters, etc.

I’ve stacked them up because I know I won’t wear them, but I just can’t bring myself to part with them.

Even when the T-shirts I wear regularly are worn out, I don’t toss them. They move to the basement and start a second career as a rag.

It’s silly, I know. They’re just T-shirts, many created by oppressed laborers working in third-world sweatshops. But they’re my shirts, and many remind me of special times in my life — beach vacations, amazing concerts, Christmases when my kids were little, etc.

I just can’t part with them. In fact, I believe I’d have an easier time getting rid of all the dress shirts, polo shirts, flannel shirts and Hawaiian shirts hanging in my closet than to give up my Pillsbury Doughboy T-shirt.

What can I say, that’s just the way I crescent roll.

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