My husband and I first met in college. His style was typical for a college student: polo shirts and jeans. It wasn't until we moved in together four years later that I noticed that something was askew: I couldn't close his wardrobe drawers. They were stuffed with an endless number of t-shirts -- he is a t-shirt hoarder.
Men collect t-shirts the way women collect shoes. Whether it was from sporting events (he was a water polo champion in high school), restaurants or places he traveled, you could tell where my man had been by just a casual glance through our laundry bin.
His mother has contributed to his collection. Every birthday or holiday he would receive bags of shirts from his doting mom. But he can't get rid of anything, and thus we have exploding drawers.
We now split our time between my mother's country farm and our city apartment. His collection has metastasized to the point where I've had to carve out places in my mom's home for his shirts.
Every once in a while I'll nag him to do some spring cleaning, but even if he does try to edit down, it doesn't make a dent. Without a doubt, the shirts at the bottom of the piles haven't been touched in years. My favorites are the dual-colored mesh sleeveless jerseys for high school gym class ... that he still wears to this day (he graduated from high school 12 years ago).
There are times when I am driven to insanity by his hoarding tendencies. His "in-between" pile really drives me nuts: It's the sloppy, haphazard pile that he deems not-dirty-enough for the laundry, but not-clean-enough to go back in the drawer. So not only are our cabinets bursting with his shirts, but there are now messy piles littering our apartment as well. And don't even get me started on his five-year-old textbooks that still take up space in our home -- he says he may need them as reference materials one day.
It wouldn't be fair to publish this post without his opinion on the matter, and this is what he had to say:
"When it comes to t-shirts, the older they are, the better. Worn in, soft, comfy; they all have sentimental or comedic value. They're also good conversation starters. For instance, the one I'm wearing right now is from a 200-mile relay race, so not only is it dry-fit, which makes it ideal for active days, I'm also proud of the achievement that it represents. In general, unless it's got a hole in it, I'm not throwing it out."
So that's that. As I look at our wardrobe full of t-shirts that he hasn't worn in years, I've decided to wave the white flag in defeat. I'll file this as ammunition for the day when my shoe collection forces his shirt collection into exile, and you can bet that I'll relish using his old tees as cleaning rags.
Please note that this is just one of four places where he keeps his shirts. Photos courtesy of Sonja Fallon
Photos courtesy of Sonja Fallon
These are clothes that he deems not dirty enough for laundry, but not clean enough to go back into the drawer. Photos courtesy of Sonja Fallon
Please note that my husband's not-too-dirty clothes are piled on our son's baby seat. Photos courtesy of Sonja Fallon