Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cleaning Closets

I have lived in my current apartment for about 9 years. It has been so convenient for me - very safe, well cared-for and easy to leave for several months at a time with no fear of any problems. I never intended to stay this long, and always thought I would buy something -- in fact I tried -- but things always seemed to not be right...but that is another tale and a half.

My point tonight is that now that I am planning to move in 2007, it is time to sort through my worldly goods in this place so that I do not have to pay to move what I do not need. Plus it is just good discipline. Today I unearthed the bedroom closet. This is an old building. The closet is very deep, but it has a narrow door -- so although one can literally walk inside it when it is empty, when it is full it is impossible to know what is in the back half of it except by touch. And of course all that touching has lead to things falling off hangers onto the floor into the Realm of Perpetual Obscurity.

Today it all got brought out into the light of day.

This is a daunting task. I asked the woman who helps me with heavy housework to give me a hand. She was thrilled, as she would take all those clothes that I no longer wanted and send them to her mother in Uruguay whom she helps support and who cannot afford clothes such as mine.

We all know that when the lights are out at night that clotheshangers breed. I think closets also have some sort of odd magic. They hold far more than they seem able to. One closet, emptied, filled one bedroom. How can this be?

First, I had entirely too many pairs of shoes. What is it with us women and shoes? I actually got rid of 15 pairs of shoes. I am not telling you what is left. And purses? How many black purses do I need? Not as many as I had, I assure you.

Discarding things was on the one hand easy -- haven't worn it for X years -- out it goes. Doesn't fit and won't ever again -- out it goes. Damaged goods unable to be repaired -- out.

But then there are the "pivotal event" discards. I left Big American Corporate Life about 8 years ago. Yet there were the old trappings -- the wool suits from the years before the casualling down of office space. To let them go was to not only admit that the age had passed, but that a part of my life was well and truly over. OUT they went.

Then there are the "emotional attachment" discards -- things given by a departed loved one, or an ex-lover...OUT and OUT.

Then there are the "things I never should have owned anyway" like the flaming red velvet dress that makes me look like a tall fireplug. Or the totteringly high heeled shoes that while they make my legs look like those of a goddess, exact their toll in foot agony. OUT OUT.

I dreaded this process, and now I find myself loving it -- feeling such a rush in the paring down process, the unencumbering and streamlining.

If this material purging has value, I wonder if there is no an emotional corollary, a way to let go of all the crappy little odd bits of feelings that snag at my heels, bog me down, hold me back...I think we all have spiritual closets that need cleaning out as well. As part of this multi-week event of closet cleaning (I have three huge closets and 2 bureaus to sort through) I am going to try to find some way to develop some sort of meditative process to go with it -- a prayer for newness, a heartfelt plea to God for less self-collected emotional and spiritual crap, please.

Any ideas how to make that happen?


Blogger samtzmom said...

Whew Mata... I feel your pain. After having just moved, I would like to think that I did all this, but truth be known, I ended up bringing far too much stuff here that I could have/should have let go. It's overwhelming to say the least to purge your life through your closets, but a much needed cathartic exercise. I suppose you could put on some really good contemplative music and mindfully fold and put away all those trappings of what used to be in preparation/prayer for the wonderful journey to come. If I were closer, I'd be right there with you helping...or at least offering hugs to you dear heart.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all ready hit on it in your post about St. Francis! Simpify the material life, cut down on the trappings and distractions. That allowed him to focus on God and the sanctity of life. You inspire me! I'm getting some boxes today!!

9:52 AM  

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