How many T-shirts does one person need? That is the question that has bounced around my little pea of a brain many times. The thing is, I have a lot of them T-shirts, not brains). Occasionally, I weed through them and get rid of a few. I turn them into rags if they are in really bad shape. I give them away if they are in really good shape. I sold one on eBay–a 1986 Dartmouth College Winter Carnival shirt with a Where the Wild Things Are theme in egg yolk yellow–that I had been hauling around for years. I got 14 bucks for it.
I have too many T-shirts right now. The problem is, they aren’t just random T-shirts. I got them from all kinds of moments in my life–running marathons, working at outdoor education centers, time with friends, you know what I’m talking about. Each T-shirt has a story. I have one red T-shirt from the Atlanta Olympic games, 1996. I was working at the University of Vermont and the woman whose desk was next to mine was wearing it. I really liked it so I said to her: ” I really like that shirt. Can I have it?” She said she wouldn’t just give it to me but would trade it for the one I was wearing (aqua, with a person jumping for a trapeze in the woods). We both took off our shirts right then (I definitely got the better deal there) and I had a new shirt.
It is hard to give up a shirt with a story like that. What about the high school program I did as a junior? I still have the shirt, a one of a kind long sleever, but it is mighty tattered. I keep it, rarely wear it, and decide to keep it again each time I rummage through the pile. I have shirts that are over 20 years old. That just seems silly. I managed to get by just fine twenty years ago without twenty year old shirts, so why do I hang onto these? Good question.
Nostalgia, that’s why. I don’t need them all. I mean, I have a whole drawer full of T-shirts. So again the question: How many T-shirts does one person need? I know there isn’t really an answer to that question; at least, there isn’t only one answer. But I think I may be ready to pare at this point. I need to come up with a number so I can make some hard decisions. I want some to wear around. They are good summer wear, after all. They aren’t all 20 years old, so keeping the newer ones seems to make sense. I also sleep in them sometimes. And I want some to wearing painting or weeding the garden or even just going for a hike.
Five clean ones and five for messing about? That sounds good. But I may have some trouble ditching the memory garb. Maybe I can try for ten and give myself a maximum of twenty. That might work. Maybe I would end up with fifteen. Last night I wore a marathon shirt from 1998 to bed. I love that shirt. Maybe I’ll keep that one. And get rid of the marathon shirt from 2002. I have two of those. And I might be able to sell that Olympic one on eBay, but I like that one.
I don’t miss the Where the Wild Things Are shirt. I can’t imagine that, once they are gone, I will miss any of the others. But crap, kids, this could take a while.