I’m going away for school in about a month and had to buy a whole bunch of new clothes for the endeavour, so I thought it would be an opportune time to finally clean out my closet. I haven’t done so in at least a year, maybe even two. I tend to tackle such tasks by taking everything out, and separating it into piles: “keeping”, “tossing” and “maybe”.
I filled two garbage bags with stuff to toss, a bunch of clothes have gone back into my closet and everything else is in the “maybe” pile — mostly stuff I have to spend some time trying on and making tough decisions about. That was where it stood on Monday. It’s now the end of the week and not much has changed. I still have a garbage bag of stuff to “toss” on the floor by my bed and next to that I have two “maybe” piles. My desk chair is usually occupied by my pile of new clothes, but that pile has temporarily been relocated to my bed so that I can sit at my desk to type this. Shockingly, I look around and — aside from all the mountains of new and old clothes — I consider this to be a somewhat “clean” day in the land of My Room.
Earlier, my younger sister came in for something. “Your closet’s so empty,” she said — in shock, and perhaps somewhat in envy.
“Yeah,” I said, “but my floor is so full.”
The reorganization (upheaval) in my closet is kind of like the reorganization (upheaval) going on in the rest of my life. I’m leaving home for school soon, and (don’t tell anybody) I’m kind of freaking out. I subconsciously tried to reroute my anxiety, focussing it on concrete things within my control, instead of all the uncertainties and unknowns I’m being faced with and am trying to avoid looking in the eye. I guess I thought this might help. It just led to a minor nervous breakdown over bed linens — one of the few things about the room I’ll be in next month that’s within my control. It accomplished about as much as rerouting my clothes from my overflowing closet to my (now) overflowing floor.
My excess clothes — the ones from the ever-expanding “back of my closet” — are like my worries. They both take up valuable (physical/emotional) space, drive me insane and are completely unnecessary. But, unless I actually do something about them, they (my worries and my clothes) will just continue to lie around, doing no one any good.
But then, even if I do move them around, there are productive ways to do so, and unproductive ways. And whatever I do, the clothes and the nervous energy won’t just disappear. They’ll still be somewhere, all that I can control is where. I think I’ve figured out where not to put them. My clothes are no better off taking up precious floor space. My anxiety didn’t help much while I was trying to choose bedding.
But, like a certain Anne Shirley, “I never make the same mistake twice” (well, actually I do, but that’s entirely besides the point). I think I’ve figured out where not to redirect my clothes and general anxieties, and realized that they should probably be redirected elsewhere, in healthier, more beneficial channels.
I could get my act together, figure out what to keep and what to toss and then put away the keepers, while sending the “toss” bags to a charity-clothing-collection type place. That’s generally where all my old clothes end up eventually, but the sooner I get it done, the sooner my clothing donation can help others in need. And then my new clothes can replace the old ones in my closet.
As for the stress, such things are pretty hardwired into me, but rather than wallowing and redirecting stupidly, I could probably deal with it in a healthier manner. Like by writing more often, because, ironically, it’s the thing that keeps me sane, but also the thing I tend to shy away from when I start leaning towards insanity — and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to feel/express that sentiment.
And, if I can shuffle around the anxiety a little and maybe get rid of just a little, there may be some brain space left over. I wonder if that ’empty’ space might be the right place to entertain some excitement about the incredible opportunity I’m about to seize?
Who knows how it’ll all turn out, but, in this moment, I’ve put my worries aside and I can’t wait to see. Until then, I’ll just be here, cleaning out my closet.