8 extra socks

I do clothes washing about once a week. Recently when I was folding my all-purpose black socks, I noticed that some needed mending. Even after that, I had more than I could ever wear from one wash day to the next (even adding on a couple extra grace days for delayed washing). Thus, I came up with the magic number of 10 and am calling it Susan’s Law of 10

After all there are 10 Commandments, I have 10 fingers and toes. There are 10 years in a decade, 10 decades in a century, 10 Hail Mary’s in a rosary decade, and the number 10 is the first Arabic number to have 2 digits. So much for justification 🙂 .
Basically, it was a nice round number to get me from one wash day to the next. So, I started pruning my wardrobe down to 10 items for the 10 basic categories below.

Step 1: The first step was easy – try clothes on to see if they still fit. This eliminated one suit skirt that definitely didn’t fit and another that was too snug for comfort.

Step 2: Note the quality of the item. Did it have holes, stains, or need repairs that I couldn’t do.

Step 3: The next step was noting which items I seldom or never wear (probably because they weren’t my favorites). Others were practically duplicates so I didn’t need them. (I did decide to keep my wedding dress even though I haven’t worn it in 50 years plus one formal gown in case I would ever be invited to a fancy event.)

Ex: kept 10, gave away 2

10 categories I used for pruning my clothes to 10 or under
10 professional outfits (suits, dresses, etc.)
10 slacks (including dressy pants and jeans)
10 long sleeved winter knit tops
10 sweaters (pullover style to go over winter tops on cold days)
10 short sleeved summer knit tops (solid colored)
10 short sleeved summer knit tops (with words or pictures)
10 pairs of black socks (plus underwear and pj’s.)
9 scarves to give variety to my outfits
7 pairs of shoes (3 are dressy shoes I hardly ever wear, but maybe if that invite to a fancy event ever happens, I’ll be ready.)
5 pairs of shorts

I had to make some hard choices for some of my professional outfits. Eventually I figured that even after Covid-19 wanes and we pay attention to more than the waist up view on Zoom screens, I probably won’t be doing public speaking and attending professional meetings as much as I did in my 60’s. There were also some easy decisions like shirts from movements that I no longer participated in

Obvious spiritual reflections that this pruning exercise prompts:

  • What about people who don’t have a sturdy pair of shoes, much less fancy ones?
  • What about folks who don’t need professional outfits because they don’t have a job.
  • What is mine to do? I’ve got miles to go before I sleep restfully with these questions, but some folks don’t have a comfortable place to sleep at night.

So, how do you manage the clothes in your closet?
How do you reconcile what you have with the plight of the poor? (Yes, of course we give away our extras to those in need, BUT what about the systemic changes needed so that fewer people are in need?)
What about YOU?