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I started thinking about cleaning my closet nearly four months ago. I realized that finding anything had become impossible because I had so many clothes stuffed all willy-nilly from one end to the other. It was one of those situations where I never seem to be able to figure out what to wear, since it’s impossible to tell what I actually have. Translation: I keep buying stuff I don’t need.
Since the holidays are fast approaching (and I’m determined not to buy new clothes, but repurpose what I already have) I found myself confronted with one of those now-or-never moments. As my mother has always been so fond of saying, “Well, it isn’t going to clean itself.” (Please note, this was generally directed at teenage-me when I was whining about having to clean my room before I could do something fun.)
As I began grabbing handfuls of hangers and clothes and tossing them on my bed, I realized I might have been very well-served (and perhaps even wealthy) if I’d actually proved my mother wrong and figured out how to create a self-cleaning closet.
I’ve never been very good at spatial logic, which probably explains why, among other things, I put parallel parking in the same category as quantum physics. To my way of thinking, a space usually looks way too small, which means I have to go around the block at least twice looking for a place where I can just pull in head first (I’m talking about parking right now, not closets)!
The same is true when I’m trying to figure out just how much I can cram into my closet. Sure, I’ve tried those handy dandy contraptions you can buy that allow you to hang a mountain of clothes on a set of hangers that miraculously folds into another configuration. I’ve tried organizers and helpers. I’ve tried the thingy that allows you to add a lower rack for hanging stuff (result: my skirts all hanging at a 90 degree angle because the pole was too close to the floor). Sadder than having all of my skirts bent is the fact that I so seldom wear a skirt, it’s ludicrous I’d even find it necessary to figure out how to store them.
The problem I have whenever I tackle this sort of project is that I get bored and distracted way before I’ve completed my task. This time I swore I’d actually finish. I was so committed, I even recognized a plan was necessary.
I decided it would be smart to have all of my sweaters and jackets in one section. Then I determined it would be very handy if my cotton shirts were kept separate from my flannel shirts. And, of course, if I was doing that, then I needed to make sure my long silky shirts have their own place. My determination kept bringing up unanswered questions, like do I want to keep my linen shirts separate as well? …Seriously, has breast cancer taught me nothing about the importance of how we spend our time?
No surprise, at that point I felt my enthusiasm waning. I began to think about grilled cheese sandwiches, coupons I should clip (if I clipped coupons), phone calls I needed to make, people I should visit – pretty much anything that would allow me to avoid finishing.
As usual, I spent way too much time pondering all of these dilemmas, but finally forced myself back to the task at hand, because as I’ve already mentioned, the closet wasn’t going to clean itself (darn it)!
I realized some of my sweaters are actually intended to keep me warm (what a concept) while others are lightweight and should be used for layering. Those definitely needed to be kept separate. Or did they? The bigger question should really have been, I live in California so why am I embroiled in a sweater quandary in the first place?
Yet another component of this project was putting anything I couldn’t (too small), wouldn’t (out of style), or shouldn’t (go-go boots from the 60s) wear into boxes to send to my sister. I’ve never been quite sure if my hand-me-downs are a blessing or a curse to Jenny, but I merrily send my stuff her direction any chance I get. She thinks I do this to be nice. Actually, I do it because in some small way it means I didn’t really part with the clothes. I can visit them whenever I go home to Indiana.
For anyone still reading this (who hasn’t wished they could just stuff me in a closet and slam the door), I want you to know that I actually stayed true to my chore and completed it. In just over four hours, I managed to not only weed out the unwanted, but organize the outrageous, sort the sensible and place the preferred. Now, if I can just remember what my thought process was while I created this masterpiece, I will be golden.
Okay, so much for closets. Now I’m going to use my hard-earned knowledge and apply it to stuffing a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!