We've forgotten how to tell when we are full

That switch is broken. You wouldn't normally wear more than one pair of trousers at a time, would you?

By Harveena Herr

Published: Tue 6 Jun 2017, 10:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 7 Jun 2017, 12:14 AM

A conversation my mum had with a distant cousin recently turned into a confession session. The gentleman said that he was forced to go over his overly stuffed closet. It doesn't sound like he needed a fine-tooth comb, as the roughly 300 pairs of trousers, 80 turbans, and an unmentionable number of shirts tried to leap out to greet him like enthusiastic puppies.

Now I have to confess that I don't know anybody in my 'circle' who has 300 pairs of trousers. Not a woman, and certainly not a man, so you can't blame me for being startled at the numbers. His wife marches lovingly in consonance with the state of play of his wardrobe. Their house is stuffed to the gills with shiny, new garments.

For those of you who can't wrap your head around how many turbans is too many, think how many scarves would be excessive, or some other garment that you are likely to wear everyday.

There was a movie many of you would have seen about four urban American women who ooh and aah over a super-large custom-built closet for shoes. But how important is it that your personal shoe collection commands its own real estate? Should we not consider that obscene? Shortly thereafter, a beverage company paid tongue-in-cheek homage to the fact with an ad showing a walk-in beverage closet/room/space for men, stocking their bottled drink. The man's friends screaming with joy at the sight looked utterly ridiculous. As was intended.

Retail therapy, shopaholic, binge-eating, compulsive anything - these are all familiar terms, and have slipped into our everyday vocabulary. Which indicates how much a part of the 'normal' they have become. From upsized meals to supersized egos, our journey of entitlement only grows larger.

My reading of the situation is that we've forgotten how to tell when we're full. That switch is broken. You wouldn't normally wear more than one pair of trousers at a time, would you? (As a backpacker on a budget airline with a limited weight allowance, you would sure, but that story's for a different column.)

For those who need some handholding with 'rationalising' their wardrobe, there is an incredible concept called Project 333 started in 2010 by someone called Courtney. She invites people to accept a challenge to live in or within a limit of 33 items of clothing, footwear, accessories for three months. She couldn't imagine when she started, that it would capture the imagination of thousands of people. That it would help so many people. There are rules, of course, and a community of people that work as a support group online.

This is all great, but if I told my parents about the concept they would probably find it hard to digest. They would probably shake their heads and say, 'But why buy so much in the first place?'

The dandy of an uncle that I spoke about above, was quite stunned when he was confronted with the reality check - the hard numbers of his acquisitions. And probably passed out when he knew how many items of clothing his wife could boast of. But I believe they were mortified, and decided to toss the lot into the back of the car, and drove to their village to find a way to share the spoils. He didn't have a rear view while driving because of the mountain of clothes in the car, but they made it safely to their destination.

What remains to be seen is whether they have learnt a lesson, or whether it will become an opportunity to bring home the latest that is in the stores. "Give me five of those, please, in different colours."


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