“I set aside one bag for throwaways and one for giveaways and dived in. First, I got rid of items that no one should be wearing anymore.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
I have no plans for any spring cleaning! Who even invented that? The time to be cleaning is January and February – winter cleaning – to free up the time for spring camping when it starts to warm up outdoors.
My husband had been talking about cleaning out his closet for months, so I suggested we tackle it this past Saturday after I’d finished cleaning mine earlier in the week. It was too cold outside to enjoy a hike, so we were stuck inside anyway, and nothing good was playing at the movies except A Man Called Otto, which we’d already seen.
“Are you ready?” I asked him.
“No,” he said. “I haven’t eaten my snack yet.”
I gave him the stare-down and told him to eat so we could get started. Reluctantly, he opened the foil package of his favorite Nature Valley Cinnamon biscuits with almond butter and took a painfully slow bite, returning the stare-down.
I began to organize the plan of action.
We started the process of pulling out everything and putting back the things that sparked joy – – but we also had to be sensible. The man had clothes from the 1980s in there, and let’s face it – – we are the first two people to laugh at the throwback pictures people post on Facebook with the bold vertical burgundy, navy, and hunter green striped shirts and Members Only jackets. We didn’t want to be those people anymore.
We spread out two giant trash bags and created three piles: keep (hang back in the closet), trash (trash bag #1), and donate (trash bag #2). And we set about our task of sorting.
Next, we made a list of items that needed replacing. Pants, because his all had outdated cuffs at the hem and when I’d texted my more fashion-savvy brother for confirmation on this, he’d replied, “Toss the cuffs, unless it’s a suit. Pleats are pretty much dead, too.” Dress shirts, because
many most had a terminal case of ring around the collar. His leather belt because it was cracking, and a pair of shoes that he could only wear when it wasn’t raining because of a gap in the seam between the sole and the top.
“How can you trust the weather man that much?” I asked when he’d once before tried to lobby for saving the shoes. One little pop-up shower that left a steam puddle meant the difference in dry, comfortable feet and a miserable, wet rest of the day. I had to be more like a mother than a wife when closet cleaning.
His favorite argument about his worn-out t-shirts is that he should save these for wearing on the tractor when he bush hogs and for using them as oil change rags. I gave him the motherly stare again, then grabbed a plastic grocery bag, filled it, and took it to the garage. We discarded the rest.
Three filled garbage bags later (2 donates, 1 trash), we celebrated a clean closet with a barbecue dinner and a slice of buttermilk pie. Some accomplishments simply deserve their own special ceremony, and this was one of those occasions.
Now….on to the kitchen…..