My Exploding Closet

My house only has two closets. One is a small walk in and the other is small with one bar and shelf across the top of the closet. I have removed the old bi-fold door of that closet and replaced it with a curtain for easier access. So few closets makes storage for someone who loves “stuff” rather tricky.

Wednesday when I came home from a meeting, I walked into my office where the one smaller closet is located, to find that the bar had ripped out of the wall and everything had pitched out through the curtain into the floor. Now this does not surprise me, since I had all of our winter coats and all of my costumes in this closet. I also had beach towels, purses, scarves and extra linens on the shelf above and file cabinets, boots, theatrical makeup, luggage, and more on the floor underneath. I guess I should be grateful the whole closet didn’t just fall through the floor.

I spent all day yesterday and part of today weeding through all of the stuff, giving away anything that I haven’t worn regularly. I sent my son home with his letterman jacket, referee uniform, Bobcats jersey, and light saber, which I discovered while cleaning up the mess. (He has six closets at his house including a large walk in, so he can add these items to his 2 pairs of jeans and 5 shirts! Now he is a minimalist- I don’t know who he inherited that from!)

After I got the costumes in bins to carry out to the garage, and the coats and purses I wanted to give away in bags, I put things back and realized how much easier life will be without all of that crap cluttering my closet and my mind.

My back was not happy with me and all that I did, so I decided that I would wait until today to put away the costume bins and deliver the rest of the stuff to somewhere that it might do some good.

When I rode over to the Salvation Army to give them my coats and purses, some having never even been used, I think about the person I was and who I have become. I realized that I am learning to let go of things. Some physical things and some emotional things. It is about time!

I guess seeing people on the news who have everything they own under water, but are grateful to be alive gives you a different perspective on things. When I think about the people who might not have a coat this winter, it makes me feel awful that I have so many.

I’ll be honest, as I drove away from the Salvation Army store, I worried that I had just given away something good that I might should have kept. A little panic rose up in me. But as I drove the short distance home, I began to feel lighter and better about things. Better that I had maybe helped someone, lighter in that I knew there would be less clutter once I got home.

When it really gets down to it, that exploding closet was telling me something. It was saying, “you don’t need this stuff” and “life shouldn’t be so weighed down.” It was saying that I needed to lighten my load and put more stock in people and less in “stuff.” It was saying to let go of anger, past hurts, and all of the things that tend to bog me down.

I had lunch with a two year old today and he was happy and squealing with delight when we turned a napkin into a “garage” for his hot wheels car. It reminded me of how Jon used to play with the boxes and wrapping paper instead of the toys on Christmas when he was a child.

Somewhere in there we grow up and need more stuff and use less of our imagination. And I am the worst to think I need the newest and the best. But as I get older I realize that I don’t need nearly as much as I thought I did before.

I still have my mom’s coat (read about that here) hung on the outside of the closet, but inside there is very little left to clutter my house and my mind. Maybe I will be more able to write and think in here now.

As so often happens, what seemed a calamity yesterday, is a new lesson and blessing today.

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.