When Enough is Too Much

And knowing when to stop collecting things.

Carol Burt
3 min readMay 2


I have been spending this beautiful spring day trying to clean out my drawers. No, no, not my underwear. Heavens, no. I’m not that old yet! I mean the drawers in chests that hold my clothes. And it is one onerous and frustrating job.

I won’t finish today. It may never be finished — until my kids haul all this mess out into a dumpster after I’m dead and gone.

What woman needs 22 pairs of pajamas? And some bottoms and tops that have no matching tops or bottoms. Why do I have so many pajamas? Granted, the weather here can be cold as ice one day and warm and pleasant — or hot as blazes — the next.

Even so, I did not plan to have 22 pairs of pajamas. I think that’s excessive. I remember when I might have had one set of pajamas, and my husband, in his younger days, did not let me wear them most nights, so I just slept naked as a new baby. It felt great.

Now, bare skin, his or mine, sort of disgusts me on my pristine sheets, and I don’t want any skid marks on them, and that’s for sure. Skin cells and hair falls off clean people and collects in the sheets. Keep your jammies on. Ugh.

I tried to sleep without my pajama bottoms the other night before we left Florida, and it felt awful. Nothing to hug me as my big ole pajama bottoms do. I felt vulnerable and cold and got up to put my bottoms on. Hubs (now) always sleeps in pajamas in winter or summer, too, but he doesn’t have 22 pairs. He would throw out the ones showing wear.

I put all the unmatched tops and bottoms in the trash box, but then, I thought, what if someone has no pajamas? They might be happy just to have a mismatched pair. So I dug them out of the throw-away box and put them in the donate pile. Then I wondered if people would be offended by some ole bitch putting unmatched pajamas in the donation box. So, I took them out, and right now they’re lying on the bed, along with the pile with 22 pairs of decent pajamas.

See, I wasn’t always as lucky as I am today, and in previous marriages, I was just fortunate to have clothes to wear outside. And there’s something in me that makes me afraid to throw out the extra pajamas or even the mismatched ones. I think I might need them, although I know it’s a lie to keep my chest of drawers packed, overflowing, and hard to shut.



Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.