An Organized Closet: the Mark of a Life Wasted

“I never worried about having spotless floors, when I could take my children on a picnic instead.” –My 100-year-old Grandmother

There’s a reason I will never have truly organized closets, and the reason is that I’m too fabulous, like my grandmother.

The fact is, I would love to have organized closets, and I try–I do really try. For one thing, I want to make the whole stay-at-home mom thing worth it to my husband. I don’t have babies or preschoolers anymore, so I’m actually out of excuses on the closets. My baby Bea is in kindergarten now, there should be nothing standing in my way of me spending entire days organizing closets, except that it sounds like an absolutely miserable pursuit.

I do think my family deserves organized closets. They deserve way better than the closets I’m currently offering them. I know it’s probably an unpopular sentiment in the current age of #resist and #metoo, and I really don’t care what my girls’ politics are, but I do want them to grow up to be lovely Southern ladies, ladies who open closets filled with color-coordinated dresses and rack after rack of organized shoes. Cher Horowitz’s closet (if Cher lived in a tasteful center hall colonial on an established, tree-lined street in a mid-sized Southern city). I want that for myself, too. Is it possible to be a lovely Southern lady with a terrible closet? It might be—I might be just that.

The problem is that there’s always something better to do than organize a closet. When my kids are home, I want to be with them. When they’re at school, I want to bring the house back to baseline, or have coffee with a friend, or cook a nice meal for my family, or plan a school fall festival, or throw a dinner party, or iron linen napkins (not really–I’m terrible about that, too), or enrich my family’s life in some other, non-closet-organizing way, or just rest before the after-school rush of backpacks and homework and packing lunches and dinner and bedtime and collapsing on the sofa at 11 p.m. with no more physical or mental energy left to give to anything.

The funny thing is that, as much as I want nice closets, I don’t remember anything about my grandmother’s closets. I remember a huge antique Kentucky cherry corner cupboard that was filled with the most wonderful treasures—linen handkerchiefs and little porcelain cream pitchers and butter pats and sterling teaspoons. Exploring her corner cupboard for treasures is one of my favorite childhood memories, but I have no idea what her closets looked like. There’s a good chance they resembled mine, because who actually has time for that, when you can take your children (or grandchildren) on a picnic instead?

I doubt she wastes any time worrying about it, so I’m not going to, either.

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