Closet space. Is there ever enough of it? There were next to no closets in our Victorian house. We purchased three armoires from Myrtle’s Mess for the closet-less bedrooms, and crammed them so full the doors would barely close. (John’s oak armoire is one of three pieces of furniture salvaged from the fire.)
So we were excited when we moved into what the kids call “the burnt down house” to distinguish it from “the old house” and “our first house.” I had a walk-in (or at least “step-in”) closet and John appropriated the closet in the office for his clothes. (Teddy still had to use the armoire, which is why it was in the basement and survived the flames.)
And we crammed those closets full. Mine had clothes in several sizes, even some things that were twenty years old. Some I hoped to wear again one day, some had purely sentimental value. There were old pocketbooks, and scarves, and lots of shoes. And of course I had a dresser crammed full of socks and underwear and t-shirts. And an overflowing laundry basket with the clothes I wore most of the time, which never seemed to get put away.
It sounds strange to say that the timing of Grandma’s death was a blessing, but it was. Not only did it probably save our lives, since we were all out of the house when it exploded into flames, but it meant that we all had several days’ worth of clothes with us (and our computers!). The clothes I took to Baltimore (and I had tried to pack as light as possible) were all that I had.
It didn’t take long before our kids had more clothes than we new what to do with. Family had already started buying things for Jake and Teddy before John and I and the little kids made it back to Knoxville. Donations poured in from near and far on a daily basis. Lorelei ended up with a wardrobe fit for a little princess.
John did not do badly either. Thanks to my cousin Melissa, who works in a medical practice, he ended up with a closet full of doctors’ dress clothes (which are pretty much the same as attorneys’ dress clothes!). She also gave took him on a shopping trip in Uncle Charlie‘s closet. He did have to buy a couple of new suits, but he soon had more clothes than he started with.
I had a harder time. Much of what was donated either did not fit or did not suit me. And although I had some gift cards, beyond replacing absolute necessities I never seemed to make the time to shop.
When we went to look at houses, realtors would talk up the storage aspect and I would just laugh, because we had nothing left to store. Our new house sports a walk-in closet so big you could hang out in it (and in fact sometimes I do read in there at night!). Until my last trip to Walmart (when I added about three outfits) this is what my side of the closet looked like:
I have a dresser that actually has EMPTY DRAWERS. I don’t own enough underwear to make it through the week.
Now this is not a pity-party or an attempt to solicit gift cards. 🙂 I had a Christmas gift card for several months before I finally went shopping. The point is that I have been trying to sort out in my own head what I have learned in the past year, what it all means. Because if something like that happens to you and you don’t at least get some wisdom from it, that would really suck, right?
So one thing I am learning is what THINGS (in the literal sense of the word) matter to me. And clearly clothes don’t rank high on that list. It’s probably no surprise to anyone to find out what does, what I already have more of than I can use, what I accumulate more of weekly.