I am not someone who has ever enjoyed cleaning out closets and drawers. Mine have always been over-stuffed, out of control and dare I say, messy. Eventually, though, even I have had enough and I put time aside to attack them.
This past weekend was just such a time. I’m particularly motivated for two reasons: I have lost weight and I knew I’d find clothes in smaller sizes and also, I want to move. And there’s no way I can even think about moving until I’ve gotten rid of stuff. A lot of stuff.
The weather Saturday was not great either so I really had no excuses. “Just get off your ass and do it, Fransi,” in other words.
To my absolutely pleasure I did find lots of fabulous clothes I can now fit into. To my absolute embarrassment, some of them still had price tags. Don’t ask. Suffice to say I don’t have to go near a store for a long time.
But the best part were the memories, because my mother was there with me, the whole time. There was nothing she liked better than getting rid of things. She was obsessed with it. If she didn’t use or wear something for what she considered an appropriate period of time it was gone.
And to give you a sense of what she considered appropriate, if she didn’t wear a coat one winter it didn’t live to see another. Off it went to charity. She was the same with bed and bath linens, magazines, kitchen gadgets, pots and pans, everything in the house and garage. Nothing was safe, nothing was spared.
Her closets were organized with military precision. So were her drawers. For that matter, so were her handbags. She was so crazy, every night before she went to sleep she’d dump the contents of her purse on to the bed and put everything back in a neat and organized fashion. She’d do the same with her wallet, by the way.
She’d look at me shoving things into drawers or frantically rummaging in my purse looking for my keys or at all the papers and books piled up and she’d sigh. I can hear her right now.
One time, before she moved to Toronto, she came for a two-week visit. Before she even arrived she called and begged me to take advantage of her being here, she begged me to put time aside to “tidy”. I relented and, in fact, we spent most of every day of that two weeks going through every nook and cranny of my house. I don’t know how many times I had to go to the store to buy garbage bags. All I do know is, when I took her to the train when she was leaving, I’d lost about 10 or 15 pounds from all the bending and tossing and hauling and schlepping of heavy bags up and down three flights of stairs.
“This is the best holiday I’ve ever had, Fransi,” she told me as I loaded her luggage into my car. “We should do this every time I come to visit.”
So with every pile I made this past weekend, I could hear my mother encouraging me, driving me to do more, to keep going until it was all done. I could hear her say “That’s seen better days Fransi,” or “That’s too big, give it to a shelter,” or “You’re never gonna wear it, take it to one of those re-sale shops and get some money for it.”
There’s still a lot to do, but my bedroom’s mostly done. Two dressers and two bedside tables. Didn’t get to the closet, but I’m hoping to do it later this afternoon or tomorrow. I’m trying not to think of how much more there is to do because I’m afraid it will de-motivate me.
But I’m pretty sure my mother won’t let me slack off. Her spirit will haunt me until it’s all done, of that I’m sure.