Adventures in Tidying

Last week I cleaned out two closets. This is a monumental accomplishment for me. It was perpetrated by the fact that we were away for most of the summer and unusually busy the rest. No time for Spring cleaning (not that I ever partook of this activity, cleaning is done on whim and windows of time). I was also inspired by a visit from my daughter, the most capable, organized woman I know. She juggles career, home, motherhood, and social life with ease. Well, I can’t imagine it’s with ease, but she manages—actually, she more than manages, she’s succeeds! Go figure. This innate talent for efficiency and control surely comes from a distant ancestor, as I’m certainly unworthy to take credit for it.
Nevertheless, motivated by her example, I dug into the horde that had collected in two closets, disposed of the useless and filled the trunk of the car with serviceable donations. Then I sat back in satisfaction—but not for long. Each day I’m forced to face a larger clothes closet in order to dress, stow clean clothing, remove and replace footwear. Also occupying this closet are my cloth shopping bags, past Halloween costumes, scarves, a safe, jewelry, makeup, assorted beads, tassels, clips and doodads that might come in handy someday…or not. Will a hatpin come in fashion in the future? Will I use the ten pairs of eyeglass frames I’ve taken from friends and family? Will grandchildren appreciate my Lone Ranger pocket watch? My Reddy Kilowatt earrings? My father’s Reddy Kilowatt tie clasp?
I have no idea of the value of the foreign currency from a dozen countries I’ve neglected to turn in after traveling, nor the jar of old coins. Who will appreciate my painted motorcycle jacket? Does holding on to my father’s wallet give me joy eighteen years after his death? Heck, yeah! The mini dress I saved from college in the 60’s—it still fits, though it can’t be worn outside in my dotage.
You see where I’m going with this…
A week’s gone by since my initial “surge to purge.” I open the doors of my two clean closets and my yet-to-be-cleaned closet, and stare but the fire is out. In an effort to motivate myself to finish the job (or, ok, evade the guilt of not finishing) I make a pilgrimage to a relevant site in my neighborhood, a monument to the dire effects of hoarding, Collyer Park, the site of the home of the infamous Collyer brothers ( ).
When I get home, I’m too tired to do any physical work, so in the course of looking up the story of the Collyers, I discover a site, with the same name, selling furniture. The irony frustrates me more and I retire to the sanctuary of Netflix.
I find contentment in the knowledge that my children (both) have surpassed me.
Maybe I’ll get around to that closet next week.
Anyone want to buy a motorcycle jacket?

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