It’s not an urge really—but a gnawing. Persistent, and unwelcome. It starts as one of those fleeting thoughts one has that it is probably time, but you push it to the back of your mind because clearly you have more important things to tend to. And, really, nobody sees your closets—well, especially in a pandemic. Clearly no guests are snooping around to see if you are staying up with your housekeeping…right?

Just me to notice, which is why the gnawing finally wins. The reality is that I do have time— in the frigid northland of Minnesota, my outdoor activity is somewhat thwarted. So, I give in to the infrequent task of cleaning my closets. Well, at least a couple. I wouldn’t want to go over-board.

I don’t know about you, but when I take on a project like cleaning a closet, it can lead to much more than just straightening things up…take, for instance, my clothes closet. This is almost a room onto itself. In fact, when we first brought my daughter home from the hospital, her bassinet was placed there for a night or two—until I realized I could hear her from wherever in the house she was when it was time for her to nurse. Sweet memories.

It’s a lovely walk-in closet with built-in shelves and drawers that provide a full view of everything in it with a glance. Which is a blessing and a curse. It’s all there. Because there’s enough room to keep it—ALL….

So where does one start? I flirt with the idea of checking the organizing YouTube videos that I’m sure would fascinate me for at least several hours, but go with the general aim of de-cluttering and re-purposing what I no longer use. I start with clothes.

My zoom life over the past months has been building to the point that it counts for most of my social life. That wardrobe is pretty simple, COVID casual. I am hopeful that spring will bring less restriction, vaccine for everyone and social interaction that will invite changing things up? Or at least wearing more of the clothes in my closet.

I start by ruthlessly piling up outdated pants and tops that I haven’t worn in years. Then I wonder if I’ll ever wear any of my dresses again? And, will they still be fashionable? I leave them for a future closet cleaning round. 

While I work, my curious cat visits each basket or bag I am loading or straightening and takes a position on my collection of scarves. I don’t dislodge her.

The grandchildren shelves are easy—toddler games and activities can be given away now that they are older. I save them for a friend with younger tykes to occupy. My mind happily drifts to what I may want to have on hand for a future visit…

I think years back to the urgent closet cleaning routine before my own children went back to  school in the fall and sorting clothes worn out or too small for their growing bodies. Then, it was a matter of taking stock and buying new clothes that fit.  That was easier, but I get nostalgic thinking of those days. And, it reminds me of going through my mothers things after her death. How much we learn from a closet….

And how easy it is to get distracted…. I spend at least an hour sifting through the miscellaneous items that have collected on a handy shelf close to the entrance. It could be a time capsule—bandanas that were used for early masking, material scraps from my own attempts, latex gloves, alcohol wipes, etc. I can’t wait to clear them all away…..