Closet Wars

Posted on March 11, 2013


With the milder days of Spring (finally) peaking around the corner, I found myself once again with a need to renew and refresh my wardrobe for the new season ahead. Rummaging through the tangle of wire hangers (yes, I still have a lot of the old-school kind) and zippered bags in my closet, my mission was to shift through the heavier sweaters and fleecies that have been my cocoon for the last few months, and rekindle my relationship with the airy simplicities of summer wear that were still viable. There was no sadness at all saying “Adieu” to woolies and polar wear. Those items that had lived a good, long life would likely be recycled out the door as either charitable donations or put aside for the consignment store . (I am very fond of buying at consignment boutique stores. You can usually find quite trendy and unique pieces for next to nothing.) What was sad, though, was trying to bring some vigor to my sorry assortment of spring and summer layerings. Perhaps if I tried to organize things into colour groups, like the TV experts do, perhaps new hangers …

The mission: organize and purge!

I was in the middle of mish-mashing some outfits on the bed that I thought still looked fashionable – and fit – when Hubby returned home. He stopped at the bedroom doorway and laughed; there wasn’t an inch of free space on the bedspread. Unruffled by his comments about me doing a Spring overhaul when the ground was still cold and hard outside, and how I wasn’t hurt by the apparent bomb explosion, I replied that I was perusing and organizing my wardrobe, something that one should do regularly.

I suspected that Hubby’s reply in turn was made to distract me from my mission. He asked whether I applied the Parkinson’s Law of clothing items expanding to fit the amount of space in the closet. (He should know better than to ask me a scientific question before lunch!)

Trying for a calm, rational approach to what could have become a heated debate on territorial boundaries within the confines of a walk-in closet, I countered with the fact that he does not enjoy clothes shopping the same way as I do.  I also wear through more duds while working in the yard. (The expression on his face told me I’d better come up with a better argument.) Unfortunately for me, Hubby played his best tactical move by inviting me back into the dishevelled closet to point out in actual terms just how much of the closet space was deemed mine.

Sheepishly, I followed him into the walk-in closet. It actually looked quite spacious standing there, ignoring the piles of garments just outside on the bed. Hubby’s belongings were aligned and hung beautifully in two rows along a half wall. I graciously had laid claim to the other half wall, a second alcove in the closet, as well as a good chunk of a short wall for shoes and purse storage. (And his point exactly was what?!)

The beginning of the overhaul.

OK, OK… I got it. Some of my older things would need to be filtered out the door to charity, others to go to consignment shops. Sometimes, even when the problem is staring back at you, it’s hard to part ways with familiar attachments – clothes, that is, not husbands.

The whole episode of overhauling my portion of the closet had taken way longer than I had planned for. The clock said I should have taken something out to make dinner, and Hubby began querying about just that. As I have learned on several other occasions, it’s smart to pick your battles. Closet allocation can be negotiated. A hungry man, however, gets decidedly unhappy the longer he waits for his protein fix. We came to the mutual agreement that Hubby pick up a Chinese takeout meal for the two of us and I make sure all the closet belongings are shuffled back to an organized state before day’s end, with donation piles put aside to lighten the load.

New hangers help the clean-up project

Spring cleaning shouldn’t ever have to come down to a conflict, but I suspect it actually does in many households. For some people like myself, it’s a process that takes time to tackle. Sometimes I just procrastinate for a bit too long about clearing things out that I once loved but now the feeling’s gone. (Sounds like a country-western ballad, doesn’t it?) It’s a trait I’m working on improving. At the end of the closet war, at least there was a bed  for both sides to share – and it wasn’t loaded down with hangers and clothes. Works for me.

Posted in: Mid-Life Quirks