I admit I have visions of grandeur. I see my home and the belongings therein, as neat, tidy, and organized. I know how Martha Stewart folds her towels so she can have the perfect linen closet and I have watched Marie Kondo on Netflix enough to know if I am over-burdened with unnecessary things. I envision my possessions in their uncrowded, beautiful spaces, but my follow through is lacking.
Besides my usual ‘junk’ drawer in the kitchen, there is ‘the pile.’ I confess that I am a stacker. Beside my refrigerator is a stack that started with two pieces of mail I intended to do something with. I should have opened the mail and immediately taken what action was necessary: pay the bill, return information requested or discard the paper. I postponed the action, which lead to this.
Two pieces of mail turned into three cookbooks I haven’t used, a bulk pick-up reminder, one cat toy, a sequined seashell from my granddaughter, a white board and a flyer with coupons for pizza, which is now expired.
Remember when Covid first started, people were posting on social media about using their time wisely to do home repairs or clean out closets? Boo and I spent hours playing dominos and spades. We walked and napped equally, and never cleaned one thing.
Organizing my closet in an ongoing project that never gets completed. I have sorted by what I wear and what should be given away. I have refolded, rehung, and repurposed. I tried to keep only what I love and brings me joy, but I kept hearing my dad’s voice, “You might need that to paint in someday.” Another problem was when I asked myself if I loved an article of clothing, I would often answer, “I used to love that. I might wear it again.”
The ten prom dresses I wore when I was a high school administrator and had to chaperone Prom, a long black crocheted vest I might use for a 70’s costume someday, a navy- blue suit I wore two sizes ago that was my all-time favorite, a couple of wedding dresses (that’s probably too much information), and an old chambray ‘work shirt’ with candy cane’s embroidered on the pocket and collar are all examples of ‘my problem.’
A few years ago, my dear friend Linda came over to help me organize my closet. We took everything out and laid it on my bed, dresser, and floor. She was overly polite as she pulled out twenty-two belts and ten formal, cocktail purses. “Wow,” she said, “maybe you can decide on just a few you like the best.” (I told you she was polite.) The next few hours flew by as she challenged me to give away things I hadn’t worn or didn’t even like. But, somewhere along the way, she pointed to a stack of hangers on the bed and asked, “Don’t you think you have enough?”
“I have a problem with hangers,” I confessed. “I like good hangers, remember Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest?” Linda gently guided me to throw some away and donate the others, but secretly, I wanted to order more from QVC so I could hang everything on the same color hanger. When a salesclerk asks me if I want to keep the hanger, I always say yes. I even have a few wire hangers that have crocheted coverings that Auntie Sue gave me years ago. I know I have a problem, but I just can’t get rid of those.
At one point, I thought I would just call and schedule a visit with Marie Kondo, here in my home. If I had her here, in person, I thought I could change. But sadly, her website says I will never get her, only one of her consultants at $100 an hour and paid travel expenses. So, I took the $100 and bought cute baskets and containers to store more stuff in.
Once, my daughter and her friend took everything out of my pantry and organized just like it was a grocery store. “Mom, that expiration date was three years ago!” she began, and it went downhill from there.
“Mom, why do you have three devilled egg plates?”
“Doesn’t everyone?” I countered. “Besides one day all of this will be yours and your sisters.”
“Mom, do you ever use any of these cookbooks?”
“I used to,” I lamely answered. “Before you were born. Besides, I love cookbooks. They’re so pretty and colorful and I always find things I want to cook.”
Eye roll from daughter.
Lastly, “Mom, what’s the fascination with so many cans of black beans?”
“Once, I thought about going vegan.”
Disgusted eye roll.
My meek and sometimes weak answers did not deter them as they made me throw away out of date items, and tiny bits of saved crackers or chips that wouldn’t even feed a bird. Don’t even get me started on the stack of grocery bags and bottles of wine. “I don’t want to run out,” I whispered under my breath.
Almost everything I own is either potentially useful or sentimental and that is why I have such a hard time letting things go. I seem to lack inspiration and dedication, but, at the same time I can’t give up the dream of one day being color coordinated, pared down and organically organized. I just hope you won’t think less of me as I straighten my piles and keep the three pairs of shoes, I haven’t worn in two years. I might need them to paint in someday.