A guest post by: Cindy Bogard
Colleen asked me to write another guest post, and I was not filled with inspiration, so I polled my friends: What would you like to read about? Sentimental clutter was the most popular answer, and one that Colleen has tackled numerous times. But there was also a challenge, specifically the sentimental clutter of The Wedding Dress, big, bulky, and probably never to be worn again. What to do with The Dress?
So I polled my friends again: What did you do with your dress? The unanimous answer – I still have it or once, my parent has it.
I have mine, which I still think is beautiful 13 years later. It’s hermetically sealed in a gigantic box and is in the top of one of the closets. This particular shelf is rather hard to reach, so the only things that would ever be placed on it are long-term storage items. I have enough storage room in the house, so it stays. Ironically, I do not enjoy looking at it. There is a big oval on the top of the box, and the dress is laid out beautifully, but something about it reminds me of looking into a coffin, so it kind of creeps me out. Weird, I know. However, since I told my daughters I was going to write this post, they’ve been clamoring to see my dress, so I am vowing here, before all of you, that I will pull it out and actually look at it soon.
While we like to think that our dress will be worn by a relative, most likely only a piece of it, such as the veil will make a second trip down the aisle. Accepting this notion, some women have cut up their dresses and given them new life as christening gowns or flower girl dresses. One woman I found on the Internet lets her children play dress up with it. I wouldn’t even let my children play dress up with the cocktail dress that I wore to my first wedding, so I know there’s no chance of them prancing around in the traditional gown I wore when I married their father.
In addition to keeping the dress, there are a couple of other possibilities for it. The first, of course, is to sell it. However, this needs to be done in the first couple of years, because no matter how classic we believe our dress is, styles change, and it likely won’t be sellable after 4 or 5 years.
The other option is to donate it. That I was able to discover, there is only one nation-wide charity in the U.S. that takes wedding dresses, Brides Against Breast Cancer (www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org), but even they won’t take gowns older than 2005.
But back to keeping the dress. I thought my girlfriends had interesting things to say about their gowns and their choices:
One of my friends despises her dress, but she still won’t part with it. Here’s what she wrote: Anyway, I have dragged the dress across the country four times. But I never throw it out because it’s a piece of history, if you will: a tangible remnant of my past that the kids can explore or chuck. So far my daughter agrees with me that the dress is pretty putrid. But she always says that she’d like to use parts of it for her gown. So who knows? Maybe butt bows will come back in style — and if they do, I’m ready!
Initially, this friend’s dress was saved by her mother, who later mailed it to her. I think it speaks to the feeling of intrinsic importance that we place on our gowns: By “mailed” I’m being literal: She just slapped some stamps on the hermetically sealed boxes –no wrapping, no insurance, no anything!– and sent ’em US Mail. When they arrived, our mail carrier –who was a woman– knocked on our door and proceeded to berate me for 15-minutes about the “irresponsibility of sending something as precious as a wedding gown” in such a manner.
Another friend said: My husband wanted to know why I was keeping it recently and I didn’t have a very good answer. It seemed like bad luck to get rid of it or something.
This friend’s husband is with the U.S. State Department, and they move around the world every two years. While she did not keep her dress, her father cannot part with it, and it lives at his house. (And, as you will read, she’s a natural declutterer): So interesting that everyone who answered has kept their wedding dresses! I’m surprised. Maybe because I move so often, I just can’t keep stuff. I cried the day we had to sell my grand piano, and I think that was the day I learned not to develop an emotional connection to “things.” I haven’t looked back since, and now I am queen of “get rid of.” The only things I would hate to lose are my scrapbooks. In contrast, everything my parents purchased was to last a lifetime (actually several generations’ lifetimes). I think it may be something about that generation, or perhaps growing up in the Depression. I now can’t imagine living that way, with all that stuff piling up!
In the end, though, I think this friend said it best: Every so often I think I should sell it just to make space but you know, I’ve got SO MANY worthless things that could be gotten rid of, I am keeping the dress.
Well said! – Declutter what is not precious, so you have room to save what is.
ITEM 294 OF 365 LESS THINGS
Just a few more kitchen items that haven’t been used in three years. If I need to core an apple I will borrow an apple corer from a neighbour – problem solved.
5 Things I am grateful for today
- Those odd flashes of brilliance – Like this morning when it suddenly dawned on my that I can listen to CDs with my son’s PS2.
- The walk, chat, coffee combo – a little exercise, a little socialising and a coffee what more do you need to start your day off well.
- Neighbours with a good vegetable garden – I only ever need a little bit of lettuce and when I buy a whole one it usually mostly goes to waste. When I get lettuce from Fred I only pick what I need and it’s free.
- Getting something free that you thought was going to cost you $110 – There is a bloggers festival in Sydney in November and the day I wanted to attend was going to cost $110. It has now being sponsored by pctools and is going to cost me nothing.
- Cindy writing this post for me today she had clearly put a lot of thought and effort into it.