Friday, May 14, 2010

Closet Desires

It's silly how little things can be so big.

I cleaned my closet. And now I am IN LOVE!

Last Saturday held an event that I wait for all year every year. No, not Christmas. Not Mother's Day. Not my birthday. It was the Washington Elementary Home Tour! The annual fund raiser for my daughter's school has taken on monumental meaning in my life. (Scroll back in my blog and you'll find photos from last year's home tour -- don't miss the flying monkey!).

This year, somehow, I became enamoured with closets. Maybe this was because there was only one house on the tour that I truly adored. Or it could be that, as a home tour volunteer for the first half of the day, I was stationed for a time in the "His" part of the his and hers closet/bath in a remodelled 1891 two-story. But don't feel too sorry for me -- this closet had bay windows, a marble shower and vanity, an antique desk, a handsome masculine armchair, and a flat screen tv! I marvelled at the tidiness. I counted the clothing (44 shirts, 8 suits, 3 pair of jeans, 12 pair of slacks, 22 tshirts). I pondered the livestyle. I soaked it all in.

How do people live so meticulously? I have clothes strewn everywhere. I have laundry coming and going and stalled out. I have "outta here" boxes loitering in my tv room. I have outfit considerations hanging around my bedroom like ghosts. And these people have all their clothes lined up in their closets with space between the hangers and not one single lost or hooky-playing shirt anywhere. Granted, they did probably clean like mad for weeks in preparation for the masses of the home tour trampling through their home. Or not. But, regardless, they both inspired and shamed me into spending the bulk of a perfectly good Saturday evening digging in my closet like a prarie dog adding on a bonus room!

Now my closet is CLEAN! And, oh, the wonder! I am in love. I gravitate to it. I stand in the door and soak it in whenever I pass. I revel in it as I dress. I made everyone in the house come up and admire and repeat scripted lines about the beauty of it. Mark seems to understand too -- yesterday he took me into the closet to show and tell me that he has so much respect for what I have done in there that he didn't dare fall short of maintaining it and that I should notice how there were no clothes overflowing the hamper and even his shoes were all lined up!

The joy my closet now gives me is exponentially greater than the sum of it's parts and completely disproportionate to reality. My world could easily revolve around that small room tucked upstairs where my joy now resides.

Skirts now hang at attention in their own shamelessly segregated section. Dresses are grouped by type with all four black dresses united in their own little cocktail party. Jeans do not carelessly mingle with slacks. The back corner holds a glorious profusion of formals including my green taffeta prom dress and the delicious chocolate brown satin dress that I wore to our wedding rehearsal dinner. In the corner of the top shelf is a stack of my grandmother's hat boxes. In a stack of matching plastic shoe boxes are, among others, the shoes I wore to my sister's wedding and the ones that I wore to my high school graduation. Belts have their own basket. As do scarves, socks, purses, and sweaters. Nine matching canvas bins hold sleepwear, lingerie, leggings, swimsuits, and sweatshirts. Tshirts and tank tops all have their assigned places. Luggage fits neatly on the top shelf. Shoes neatly line the rack on the back of the door.

Oh! And the lighting. I replaced the pathetic single bulb "builder basic" light fixture with what I like to call an "antler" fixture. I has four heads that each spotlight their own assigned section of the closet. The room looks like a high-end clothing store due to this exceptional lighting! This is particularly wonderful after a recent spell of NO lighting in the closet due to a sudden, deadly lightbulb epidemic that swept through in the course of a few days leaving no survivors (replacements, being costly, did not materialize immediately)!

A couple of years ago, my darling Tessa (then about 11) asked one day if she could organize my closet. Of course I said yes! She proceeded to color coortinate all my shirts! I loved it so much I have maintained the system and converted Mark's side of the closet as well. I've come to love knowing just where to focus when I wake up in a pink mood or a green phase!

I now delight in hanging up stray shirts --neatly inserting them into their slot in their color section with an almost-audible, satisfying "CLICK". I diligently move empty hangers to the empty hanger section. I even got rid of a bunch of clothes so everything would fit better. Granted, there are still no spaces between my hangers, but at least all the hangers fit! And all the hangers are white plastic and MATCHING! Because wire hangers and mismatched colors are just too imperfect. You knew that, I'm sure.

And now I wonder: why is it such a big deal to me?

At the moment, I have three jobs. I drive children for three and a half hours a day to school and basketball and home -- more on days with appointments or other events. I put in 16+ hour days most of the time. My husband is away on business 85% of the time lately. I'm afraid of my bank account. My dogs still think my commands are mere suggestions. The cats have their own household government. I feel overwhelmed and helpless and stressed out of my mind and, oh, did I mention OVERWHELMED?

And then there's my closet, my little island of serenity. Proof that I can master SOMETHING. Proof that order and peace DO still exist in the world are ARE potentially attainable.

I can now walk around out in the world with the warm, sustaining knowledge that my closet, a thing of beauty and order and deep, deep meaning, awaits at home ready to reassure me that I am, indeed, a success at SOMETHING!