Unbeknownst to me, by the time you are 30 years old, you should apparently know better than to have a closet full of random shit that you've accumulated over time, like a broken pair of skis or a dusty cervical cap. You're supposed to have a considered closet with useful items that are befitting of a grown-up woman.
"It shouldn't just be a place to throw your things anymore, it should be something that showcases your personality and speaks to who you are," Melissa Picheny at Declutter + Design told Lindsey Campbell at Marie Claire this week. "By the time you're 30 you should really be personalizing your closet," she added.
I couldn't agree more. A closet is more than just a place for your prom dress and favorite childhood stuffed animals. It's a place to keep a deeply representative mix of items that are both practical and symbolic of your truest self and best self, which are not even close to the same person, for better or for worse, past and future. Matching decor and well-appointed knick-knacks are what the rest of your house is for. Your closet is and should remain a sacred space where time is a blur, where feelings are confusing, and where shit stays real.
Which is why I have to say that Campbell's list of 13 things you should have in your closet by age 30—which includes great lighting, a shoe organization system, matching hangers, and a scent diffuser (!)—truly bewilders me. Do not pave over the tumultuous vulnerability that is your closet with a blandly pleasant organizational gleam! What is personalized about a closet that looks like a small, affluent boutique? What 30-year-old has the kind of closet space to incorporate an area rug? I examined my own closet and consulted a couple friends, just past 30, to see what real 30-year-old women should be keeping in their closets.
1. Love Letters
All of them. Even the bad ones. Even the anti-love letters. I hope you have some. Didn't you get any? Come on, you got one. You didn't throw it away because you were too upset or angry did you? That was dumb. Recreate it. That'll be a fun project, faking a love letter and properly aging it like that whole scene in Amelie. Put it in a nice box. Take it out from time to time and just linger over it, because that is a nice thing to do with your time.
2. One Slutty Dress
Never worn. But you will need it some day. For something. Some day. Promise.
3. A Go Bag
For when the shit hits the fan. Maybe one day you'll find yourself on the run from the law. Maybe one day you'll decide you've had enough and it's time to blow this popsicle stand. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to live through the end times, or you're just in an area that's prone to earthquakes. But nothing says grownup woman like a well-tailored exit plan.
4. Something That Works as a Vibrator in a Pinch
An old dustbuster? An electric shoe polisher? Really loud old fan? You get the idea.
5. One Weird Costume
I don't care if it's a fishmonger or the creature from the Black Lagoon, just get one weird costume into that closet pronto. You never know. Last-minute Halloween outfit? Perfect attire for that masquerade ball some rich eccentric will invite you to? Happen to bring a date home with a clown fetish? Be prepared.
Everyone needs a couple wigs in different colors and styles in their closet. You know, for sex stuff. Or like a disguise. Or to properly authenticate a 60s go-go dancer look.
7. Any Part of a Mannequin
Preferably the torso, but an arm or leg will work just as well. Trust me, you'll know when you're gonna need this.
8. Miscellaneous Old Shit
By the time you're 30, if you don't have a couple of really tacky-looking alarm clocks in your closet that still work but that would never match your new aesthetic, than I don't even know how you can call yourself an adult.
9. Edible Underwear
One time somebody gave you some edible underwear, like as a gag gift at your bridal shower, and you never ate them because that's real gross, but you couldn't bring yourself to throw them away because maybe you'll get into it one night. That was a good plan.
10. Secret Embarrassing Item/Secret Sad Item
By the time you're 30 you have hopefully made some huge mistakes and some very questionable choices, and any closet worth its weight in closet will hold such a mistake in physical form. Please keep at least one thing that you will wish you had thrown away if you died and someone else, like your mom or best friend, was cleaning out your closet. You know, something that would mortify you to death if you weren't already dead. Like a weird dildo. Or a Maroon 5 poster.
Likewise, by now, someone you know and probably cared about a lot has died. You have something that belonged to them or reminds you of them, and only you know about it, but it deserves a spot in your closet forever, Place of Real Things You Have Really Felt.
11.One Set of Extra Sheets
You're not a monster.
12. Spider Food
For the spiders that definitely live in there. And the rats. Maybe an old rat trap.
13. Secret Money
If by the time you are 30 you don't have a few hundos in an envelope up top for when you need to split town or hit up Burning Man last-min, than please dismantle the good lighting, scent diffuser and matching hangers and sell that shit pronto so that you can put the cash in a stash to grab when it's time to be impulsive. And that time will come again, sooner than later. You might be 30, but you're not dead.
Photo via Getty.
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