Closet Confessions

Scientists declare the universe is expanding. If my poundage provides ample support for this hypothesis, why doesn’t my closet?

Getting dressed has become a religious experience. Every morning I fall on my knees before opening the closet door, because one tiny shift on my shelves sets off shock waves that could lead to global disaster.

Still, I do not pose the ultimate threat. Rather, people who alphabetize socks pose a menace to freedom and the American way. Their closets resemble well-organized mausoleums, with shoes and sweaters residing in little plastic caskets. They file shirts, dresses and pants according to color, fiber content and button count.

Worse yet, their clothes fit. No sign of the fat-jean wardrobe every normal woman cherishes. No rack of size three dresses to provide the self-delusion necessary for good mental health. These disturbed personalities are desperately in need of therapy, medication and grandchildren with Popsicles.

They also demonstrate a pathological lack of conscience as their clothes age. How can someone be so callous as to condemn a loyal pair of black pants that has stood with them through years of Christmas parties, church services and funeral wakes to an unknown fate?

Sometimes, though, I long for the freedom of college days, when my wardrobe consisted of two beloved pairs of jeans, two T-shirts and a granny dress I wore when my future in-laws came to town.

After marriage, however, my expandable waistline stretched my outfits into three categories: pre-prego, prego and post-prego.

By my children’s adolescence, not even an underweight moth could edge in. I never would have suffered from closet claustrophobia if my daughters had done the decent thing and raided my closet during their teen years.

Instead, they plundered their father’s. We didn’t realize he had become a retro fashion icon until one Sunday before church as I made a routine check of the “teen corner.” Our younger daughter was wearing a purple-striped surfer shirt.

“Steve, she’s wearing that shirt I gave you for your 18th birthday.”

He cocked an eye. “Um, her friend’s wearing one of my shirts, too.”

It wasn’t fair. If Steve had worn ruffles during the 1960s like every other self-respecting hippie, the girls never would have touched his stuff. His closet would have looked as bad as mine.

Eventually, our children all married young and left town. I have no idea why.

I visited their quiet rooms and shed tears at the sight of neatly made beds and unnaturally bare floors.

And three beautiful, empty closets.

Which, years later, now overflow — and getting dressed each morning has once more become a religious experience. …

Does opening your closets inspire fervent prayer as well?



2 thoughts on “Closet Confessions

  1. Cathy Shouse

    You are so brave to put a photo up of your closet, or is that real? I’ve been decluttering for quite some time and things seem to basically look the same. Well, there are improvements, but we’re not to the level I should be by now. Wonder if it’s true what they say, that clearing out is like an onion and you peel off one layer at a time. Well, I’m dealing with one heck of a vegetable here!

    1. rachael Post author

      Hahaha, Cathy, unfortunately, these pics portray the real deal! When we moved seven years ago, we did some serious decluttering–gave away, sold, or threw out about a third of what had accumulated in our house over 23 years–and especially in our basement! We thought that our current house (which doesn’t have a basement) would not grow such a junk pile. Ha! I have a June deadline, so “spring” cleaning will have to be delayed until summer. But we’ve got to do SOMETHING, or we’ll have to move out!

      Congratulations on your consistency. May all the peeling be as painless as possible!


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