Spring Cleaning Part Two: My Closet

Yesterday I mentioned that it was time for me to sort through the closets to free up some space. I don’t believe that hanging on to items I don’t/won’t use serves any purpose except for making my closets looks full of miscellaneous stuff that sits there sullen, judging me for not using the items or not taking care of them properly. It’s Toy Story in my closets, but without the toys. Today, I decided to begin spring cleaning in my own closet. The bulk of dubious items included my wedding dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, shoes through the ages, and really what amounted to piles and heaps of random stuff.

I laughed as I put aside the bridesmaid’s dresses, a tribute to the 80s, 90s, and early millennium. My wedding dress, while highly sentimental, isn’t going to be passed down from generation to generation. My daughter is four inches taller than I am and is built differently. I still have the photos from my wedding, and aside for some residual smugness over the fact that I can still wear the dress, the fact that I’m not going to wear it again begs the question of what it’s still doing hanging around the house.

I did some checking, and now I know of plenty shops, consignment and otherwise, that accept formal wear. It would make me happy to know that another person could wear the wedding dress, and hopefully they’d be as happy as I’ve been. I don’t hold onto memorabilia as a method of making me happy. It makes me just as happy, if not moreso, to share with someone else. Those bridesmaid dresses, though. Maybe someone can repurpose them and turn them into skirts, tops, or maybe throw pillows.

I didn’t have any trouble tossing out the shoes from my quest to find the perfect pair of black flats. I now know that the perfect pair doesn’t exist, so I have since settled on three: penny loafers, oxfords, and ballet slippers. All the rest went happily into the donation pile. I have one lettered shirt from my sorority days, and one logoed shirt from my days of wearing spirit wear at my old school, but other than that, the only clothes in my closet are the ones I wear–and my daughter’s dresses.

The crafts and treasures from my kids are all in my “special” box, labeled that way and on the shelf. I’m not ready to get rid of those, but they also don’t take up an unnecessary amount of space. My daughter’s forays into the world of art include bodiless people that are still charming to the rosy-hued glasses of momma love. My son’s truck and train pictures still make me smile. I will give these items to them at some point, but for now, that’s one of the few boxes in my closet that I don’t’ need to use on a regular basis.

The corner where I keep my grandma’s craft supplies whammied my emotions. We enjoyed a particularly complicated relationship, and while I loved her dearly, about the only thing we had in common was crafts. We both liked needlepoint and crewel. We could spend hours together working on whatever projects we were in process with at the time. I have no doubt that this is part of the reason she had me go to needlepoint club with her. I remain grateful for the gift of time and creativity that she gave me.

When she died, she willed her crafting supplies to my sister and me, and we shared the vast array of creative potential. Today, when I opened up the boxes for the first time in probably seven or eight years, I was hit with the double whammy of completely knowing why I hadn’t used the items in the boxes and knowing that no craft should go unfinished. There were patterns for table runners and holiday decorations, skeins of yarn for needlepoint, canvases and more. Now that my kids are grown, I could theoretically begin working on needlepoint projects galore, but I know I won’t. When grandma died, my desire to needlepoint and crewel went with her. I have, on the odd occasion, picked up needle and thread and created a gift or two, but otherwise, nope.

This is no sadness to me. What I regret is that someone else couldn’t enjoy these materials sooner. I wasn’t ready to part with them, but now I am. If grandma were standing beside me, I can guarantee you she’d say, “About time.”

My closet is now clean(ish) and ready for the boxes my kids want to store in there. I don’t usually personify things like closets, but they are the anthropological evidence of who people are. I am always going to be fond of hand-crafted needlepoint projects, whether or not I’m the one making them, and I am definitely my grandmother’s granddaughter. My closet is now both physically and metaphorically clean. Not bad for a couple hours of labor.


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