Zen and the Art of Cleaning Out the Closet

Today I undertook the mammoth task of cleaning out my closet.  My goal: to create bare spots on the shelves, coordinate by season, color, and function.  Exactly the sort of thing that a control freak like me should like to do, right?  Well … kind-of.  I actually have enormous trouble with this – for many reasons.  The first being that it is a BIG job.  Everything must be examined and tried on before being placed in its new home or placed in the “Donation Pile”.  The second being that I am pack-rat who is desperately trying not to be a pack rat, and only sort-of succeeding (and that’s mostly because Jeff abhors excess).  Then there’s the whole idea of letting go of a piece of clothing that might not have been worn in a long time, but has a familiarity to it which makes it difficult to part with.

I came across a pair of pants that I use to wear all the time.  I could see myself walking through the streets of Rome in them, feel them in my carry-on luggage.  They had the air of a time (not too terribly long ago, but still) that is no more.  I am a different person, living a slightly different life, but holding these pants in my hands transported me momentarily to London, Ghent, Tuscany, New York … my old apartment … I wore those pants everywhere -and they still fit! – but I love a low rise (I’m short-waisted – well, a little bit), and they just wouldn’t do anymore.  So, I took deep cleansing breaths, placed them in the donation pile, and moved on.

My closet was full of such articles, and cleaning it took the greater part of the day.  It was an act of … well … how to put it into words… recovering the memories that each object held, and releasing the object itself.  Lessening my dependence on physical things that were crowding my life and suffocating my closet.  Hopefully, someone else will find them and think they’re great.  Sooner or later, though, they’ll all end up in a dump somewhere … but that is now out of my hands … (pretty good, eh?  See, I’m working at it, I really am 😉

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