Monday, August 20, 2012

Rummaging Through Closets

My mother was a dyed-in-the-wool packrat. This was probably the result of growing up on a farm during the Depression and World War II, when you didn't have much money, and had to improvise. As a result, I was never at a loss for material on a school project, even in college. The thing is, she had the room for it, in the form of generous shelving in the back of the basement, and was super-organized about it, with a place, a box, and a label, for everything.

I inherited her penchant for packratting. Unfortunately, not for organization. On top of that, I am a man of numerous varied interests, with books and other material to match (including at least a dozen musical instruments, some of them antiques, a few of some historical value). As a result, I have to do a periodic purge of a townhouse with less than 800 square feet.

This past year, a new translation of the Roman Missal rendered some hymnbooks and other music material from the "sacred music" bookshelf as obsolete. There was at least one grocery bag right there. Today is my day off. My job requires nine-hour workdays, so I get one predesignated workday off every two weeks. Today I'll probably go through clothing I don't wear anymore. This gets more or less divided into "thin clothes" and "fat clothes," since in the last ten years, my weight has fluctuated by twenty or thirty pounds. I'm presently on the way down, Deo gratias. There are also certain items that would either get limited special-occasion use, or I couldn't get away with wearing ten years after first buying them.

Finally, a few things from my cajun-zydeco dancing days will probably need to go. (The "party shirt collection," I used to call it.) It is unlikely I'll ever get into that scene very much, except maybe as a musician, and only then if I can get around the local promoters and deal directly with the bands (which is another story for another day). Sal has confessed that the dance form is not her cup of tea, preferring ballroom, latin, or swing. The latter are three types of dance where the men are more inclined to "dress to impress." I think it's a Filipina thing.

As our lives change, so does what we keep in our closets. In the ten years since writing this blog, a lot has changed. Once I was 47 years old, and now I am 57 years old. You don't have to take on Mount Rainier to know what a difference that can make. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I wore a pair of blue jeans. I bet my dad wore "dungarees" more when he was this age (roughly thirty years ago) than I do now.

I also own at least ten suits, all bought at thrift stores, because I wear them to work for three-fourths of the year. (You can't tell I got them at thrift stores. Really.)

Cleaning out closets is often done out of necessity, but it can also be a sign of the changing seasons in our lives. It's not that something is out of style, so much as it is a change of style.

You can't take it with you anyway.

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