I cleaned out my closet today.  Who knew that would take two women five hours, four trash bags, three glasses of tea, fifty hangers, and a trip to Home Goods?  Let me start with saying that my closet is about the same size as my shower. Our entire house is 1340 square feet.  I onsubmarinece had someone ask me how we could raise children in such a small house.  I responded with “I  know…right?  We had to stack them like they do on submarines to get them to fit!” I jest of course…each of the boys had their own bedroom with their own tiny closet.

But back to my closet…it is tiny but it was packed…with all kinds of things that either don’t fit, went out of style ten years ago or just truly don’t belong in the bedroom.  After finding the second oven mitt, I believe my friend, Loree, assumed we had some weird fetish which I quickly denied but truly had no other plausible explanation to give her.

We went through not one…not two…but three boxes of excess clothes in the various sizes that have housed my body for the past five years. I lost 60 pounds on Medifast five years ago – I have gained forty back, 20 which have returned in the past three months after taking a break from Boot Camp due to my back. I looked longingly at my smaller clothes – lost friends from a simpler time…a time when my belly wasn’t competing with my bust and my thighs weren’t battling for space.  We discussed undergarments – Spanx are in my future.

Lessons that Loree is trying to teach me through experience:

Don’t buy it just because it’s on sale.  I’m a bargain shopper.  Apparently, this is not always a good thing unless I’m going for that “I only have two dollars to my name so I bought this at the Dollar Tree” look.  This tip will also save you from buying a Travelocity Gnome at 2 am from Zullily…Or Baby Groot….both of which are now in my office (and fortunately not in my closet!)

Return things that still have the tags – I am horrible at returning things. I think it is a self-inflicted punishment. Something akin to…well, Missy…if you were stupid enough to buy it without trying it on…you are now sentenced to seeing the error of your ways daily in your closet.  That will teach you! (But it doesn’t…since I keep doing it!)

Just because it fits, doesn’t mean you should wear it. I should have already learned this lesson from my experience as a Disco Ball.  They should not sell Silver Sequins at Lane Bryant. Just one woman’s opinion.

If you are a woman, don’t buy shoes that can be confused for men’s – I tried to explain that I am old and eventually all clothing becomes androgynous but apparently…I’m not that old yet. OK…no more heavy tread on my shoes.  And since I have about eighteen pairs of black shoes, it’s time to branch out to another color….like gray.  I also learned that you only need so many pairs of boots, booties, and any shoe in the boot family…especially when they are all in the same color…black.

NO WIRE HANGERS…and if you buy something and are asked if you want to keep the hanger….the answer is NO!  Heck, I looked at the store hangers as an upgrade from the wire…I understand now that they are equally evil. Which explains why I found several of my lost items on the floor…next to the pot holders.

To control your closet, if you want to buy something, you need to get rid of something.  We bought 50 new hangers.  I have eight left with nothing on them so I technically could make eight more bad purchases prior to getting rid of something else. I decided to take Loree with me, however, before I buy anything else. She’s only two years younger, and extremely stylish, which I am not. I’m more the friend that gets the “you have such a great heart” or “you have such a great sense of humor” comments. I should have really read more into that years ago and stopped shopping by myself then.

For the amount of money that you spend on cheap purses that falpursed lipsl apart, you can get a really good purse that will last forever.  This was not a hard point to prove since we threw out about ten purses that were falling apart.  You know you have a good friend when she can look at your various purchases over the years and control her facial expressions.

Lessons that I learned from myself:

You can never have too many pairs of black pants. I may have made this one up since we found five pairs of black, two of gray and one interesting blue pair with a black pattern.  One pair has a hem being held up by safety pins. Apparently, this is not what professional women do – they go to a tailor.

You CAN have too much flannel.  It appears that I was a lumberjack in another life. Is there a support group for this? I had eight flannel shirts…in San Diego. But on a bad day, in what we call a winter, and temperature drops below 70 degrees, a cup of tomato soup and a flannel shirt are an amazing way to end the day. There must have been eight of those last year.

The Dogs won’t use your robe as a bed if it’s on a hanger.  I should have figured this one out much earlier.

If you can’t find something, look under your bed. After finding the pot holders and other interesting things under my bed, I’m convinced that we haCleaning the Closet (1)ve  The Borrowers living here.  Either that or all inanimate objects in our house grow legs and move when we are not here. And that’s enough about the pot holders.


We have decided to take one room a month and clean out all my clutter. Loree is a good friend and if she could make it through my closet, I think she will be able to do wonders with the rest of the house. I’ll be 54 this year…I guess it’s time to get organized.

I’m off to set up our meals for the week  – now where did that potholder run off to?


Posted by:Sheri Saretsky

I spent ten years as a single parent of three boys. I then married my wonderful husband and he was inducted into the world of boy raising. Now we get to add my peri-menopause to the mix! Its been a crazy life...one I wouldn't change a minute of....

9 replies on “Cleanliness and the Closet

  1. You are my new closet guru. I know Loree is teaching you, but I need someone who understands. Someone who’s been there in the trenches with the four different sizes all vying for attention when you are wearing a fifth size. Yup, I want you to be my guru.


  2. Congratulations for facing your closet and coming out of it with some words of wisdom. I am a big proponent of one in, one out, since I have a very small closet but I don’t always live by this rule and it can get out of hand, especially if I’ve gotten excited about a sale. Sales are the place I buy things I don’t like to save money. Your flannel shirt affinity may mean you have some Maine ties, since we love flannel here in Maine. Do you have some ancestors from the LL Bean family? We could be related.


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