Cleaning out the closet — again


Joe Weaver - Contributing Columnist



In my very first column, I had written about spring cleaning time and how my wife made me part with some things I just wasn’t ready to part with. I found things in my hall closet that I had forgotten I even owned.

As you can tell by the weather report and by, well, looking outside, spring once again is upon us and I hear those words she says every year: “I think we need to downsize.”

She’s correct, of course, as she often is. Our little house has gotten a little cluttered with stuff we don’t need or don’t use or never had a reason to get in the first place. I called my wife from work today and told her I was thinking about getting something for the bedroom closet and she got quiet. You know, the kinda quiet where husbands can hear nothing but their own breathing and instantly wonder what stupid thing they just suggested.

After the last time, I figured we could use some strategy. My strategy was to look at each and every item and assess it’s true value. I’m not talking about monetary value, but what each item has brought to the household in terms of use, durability and reliability. My wife had a different strategy. If we hadn’t used it in the last year, it goes bye-bye. While I thought my strategy had its own merits, I freely admit hers might be a little more quick.

We started in the bedroom closet. I was told to pull out each of my old shirts and pants and hold them up. Do they still fit? Are you going to wear those ever again? No, parachute pants are never coming back in style. When did you get python skin cowboy boots? How long has it been since you wore a small? Those jeans don’t have a crotch. Those jeans don’t have any pockets. Those jeans can stand on their own. Why do you have seven pink polo shirts? If this has a stain that won’t come out, why are we keeping it? You still have an odd number of shoes? Where is the errant shoe?

My wife’s side of the closet was easy. She held the stuff up and said “too fat for that” about 11 times and tossed stuff in a pile. My wife is not fat. The safe thing would be to say she never was, but as we get older, we usually fill out a little bit. We both like our cakes and cookies, so you can do the math.

I try to be a good sport. I don’t really want to part with the original Navy pea coat I have had since 1996. I wasn’t in the Navy in 1996 — or any year for that matter — but I always liked the coat. It’s too small and most of the buttons are gone, but they don’t make pea coats like that anymore. I do have python skin boots, but I just got them a few months ago and wear them from time to time. I know they are out of style, but so am I and most people I know don’t have a problem with that.

My wife has always been a jeans and t-shirts kinda girl, so she usually just replaces things as they get worn out and doesn’t hold on to much. She’s far less of a packrat than I. I have one pair of shoes I bought new in 1998 and still wear from time to time. I’m frugal like that.

Most of the goofy stuff mentioned in that first column has been packed away in a big cedar chest in the bedroom. If we are really feeling nostalgic, we can just open the big chest and take out what we want. We put all of our photo albums in a steamer trunk in the living room, removing them from the bookshelves. Sooner or later, all of our stuff is going to wind up in luggage of some sort, which might make moving easy if we ever decided to do so.

The space on the bookshelves has been filled with even more books. I have more books than I can possibly read in a lifetime. I like buying books even if it takes me forever to read them. More than once, I have checked out a book from the local library only to realize I have a copy already at home. A few weeks ago, I checked a book out from the library and started reading it, only to find another copy at a used book sale. I bought that copy and returned the library book so I could have more than three weeks to read the book. My wife told me I could have simply called the library to renew the book, but I told her I liked having my own copy.

I imagine I’ll finish the book eventually. I can probably read it while staying out of my wife’s way when she is pulling all of my old stuff out of the closet.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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Joe Weaver

Contributing Columnist

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