Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning: My Closet

"Spring cleaning," for me, is a bit of a misnomer. I usually tackle my kitchen in March or April, taking everything off the shelves and out of the drawers, giving it a good wipe-down, and putting it all back. Or, putting most of it back. The stray jar of pickled something-or-other that seemed like a good idea at the time usually gets the axe. Perpetually unmatched Tupperware gets the heave-ho.

But for the rest of my house? Spring cleaning happens whenever the conditions get too cluttery, and the dustballs too...dustball-y.

A few weeks ago, it was the laundry room's turn. Happily, it's staying neat and tidy. I even put up another bit of art on the wall (it's the bottom one):

It may seem odd putting a beautiful little oil painting in such a utilitarian place, but every time I see it, it makes me smile. (Thank you, Lovely Eldest Sister, for such a sweet gift.)

Look how teeny it is!

And now, it's my closet that needs help. STAT.

There's a lot I love about my closet. Like that built-in bank of drawers on the left side of the closet, and the shelves of fabric-covered boxes, straight back in the photo above.

Here's a closeup of the boxes, some of which date back to my Nana's time:

I love the closet's little chandelier, which I bought very inexpensively and decorated with extra crystal drops I found at a junk shop for $1 apiece:

But I don't love how the happy, artsy clutter has morphed into full-scale messes, like this:

Oh, dear! And this:

Ugh! And I hate how, hiding under all that mess, is an army of dustbunnies that seems to grow in the dark:


So, I took everything up and off the floor, gave it a good mop-down, and interrogated each piece before I allowed it back in: "What are you and why do you need to take up floor space in my closet?"

This citizen(below) didn't survive the grilling. The white thing under the tumbled pile of hats and hat boxes is a changing-table top from the baby days of Lovely Daughter #2. She's turning 21 next month! (Eye roll.)

Out it goes. Also failing to make the cut is this juvenile delinquent:

There's nothing wrong with this piece of rolling luggage, per se, but at 5'9", I am too tall--or it's too short--for comfort. The last time I used this I distinctly remember hunching over and cussing my way through the airport.

So, I'lll offer it to Lovely Daughter #1 or #2, who are both 5'5". (Come and get it, sweeties!)

After purging the floor of lingerers and malcontents, I took inventory of my hanging clothes.

Now, here's a place where I thought I was doing pretty good. I sort my hanging clothes by length, so full-length dresses and sweeping skirts, for instance, are all together. Within the "short" category, which covers all shirts and blouses, I further sort them by color:

(Why, yes, those are wire hangers; I live in the real world, and no Closet Fairy has come by to bestow 5 dozen padded silk hangers upon me. Just sayin'.)

But even with this amount of clothes-sorting, I found some mayhem and foolishness. These two tank tops aren't mine:

They belong to The Boy! (Sorry, honey. I must've been putting away laundry in the dark.)

As I worked my way around the closet, I ran into some old friends. My last pair of pointe shoes:

*Sigh* After three full-term pregnancies, there's no way I'm ever jamming my tootsies into these beauties again. But it's nice to see them and say "hi" occasionally.

Here's another nostalgic find. This half-slip used to be my mom's, from the days when no lady would go out in public without proper underthings on:

Look at these deep, tiny pleats! Ridiculously beautiful. I never wear this slip, but it has a permanent pass because it's so lovely:

Oh, hello, sweet thing:

The wreath of fake flowers and pearls was my headdress when I got married a gazillion billion years ago. The veil (plain, simple tulle) is long gone, but I can't part with this sweet keepsake. So I plonk it around the crown of a straw hat of no particular import. And in a hat box it lives, waiting for the next time I run across it and smile.

Speaking of smiling, my closet has a little jog to the right in the far back corner, and in that corner I keep my ugliest clothes. But every time I see them, they make me smile, because...

They are my hiking and car-camping clothes. Just looking at them makes me itch to be up in the mountains again.

Above the outdoorsy clothing is this sweetheart:

It's a photo of my first dog, Nikki, who was part of our family from the time I was 13 until I was 23 or so. She was a cutie-pie but the most horribly undisciplined hooligan. She's the reason I pay good money to dog trainers now:

I hope she's in a sunny, green field somewhere now, barking her fool head off with pleasure.

Speaking of pleasure, it is sheer heaven to have a comfy chair to sit on in a closet. When I inherited this slipper chair (below) from my folks some 20 years ago, it was covered in a grimy, sad lavender velvet. I recovered it in this glorious chintz. For two decades now, it's been the perfect place to sink into at the end of the day while taking off my shoes:

But alas, the chintz--on the seat, especially--is getting old and grubby, as you can see in this photo, below:

According to the carpet-and furniture-cleaning people, it can't be resurrected. It needs to be reupholstered. Oh! how I'm going to miss that chintz. It is totally 1980s, I know, but I loved it.

Lovely Daughter #2 pointed out that, even if I re-cover the slipper chair, I'll still have these boxes to remind me of the old chintz:

I don't know where I found them, but I snapped them up the instant I saw them because they are covered in the exact, same pattern as the chair.

And now, my friends, I almost cringe to show you the shoes. Usually my shoes live on shelves, heels out, so I can watch for signs of wear (I tend to pronate a bit). I decided to turn them around so they point toes out. Here's what I found:

Oh, lordy. I never noticed how awful they were!

(Note to self: Buy new black leather flats and clogs as soon as the fall clothes hit the mall.)

My pumps hold up much better, because I wear them so rarely:

Wish all my shoes looked this good!

If you face a closet mess like mine, try to tackle it one zone at a time--shoes one day, hanging clothes the next, storage boxes and baskets the next, and so on. And remember...

"Keep calm and carry on!"


  1. Inspirational(as I'm tackling mine this week)!

  2. This is a great post! I need to clean my closet now ;). This just gave me inspiration.

  3. Great transformation. I love how you cleaned your closet. Everything is so organized.

  4. These tips are perfect because I plan to clean our house this coming weekend.

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  5. I am a very organized person and I always want my closet to be clean and organized as always.

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