enough space for memories...

Do you know what is buried in the back of your closets? Are your closets clean and organized? Or are they filled with jumbles of clothes, piles of shoes and shelves of stuff? Mine are definitely the latter. I prefer to quickly find what I need then slam the door, to hopefully ignore the pitiful state of my closets for as long as possible.

When I think of closets, however, I realize they have played a significant role in my life—far larger than merely holding my stuff. I have happy memories of time spent in closets! Yes, I know that sounds weird. Let me explain…

I have an early memory of a family trip out west, ending up at a conference center near Seattle where my dad had a presentation to make. The housing was amazing. The bedroom held a raised stage, just begging for theatre productions by my sisters and I. We wrote a play, found some costumes, and performed for an enthusiastic audience of two. (Well, I don’t really remember if our parents were enthusiastic, or even if they were an audience, I just remember the joy of being on stage!) What does this have to do with my topic? Yep, that “stage” was a raised, walk-in closet with bi-fold doors for “curtains.”

Some time later, I spent a year or more sleeping in the closet. I was tired of my family. I was tired of having a bedroom right next to my sisters. So, I moved down to the basement. I took over the closet under the stairs. I slid my mattress under the lower steps and squeezed in a small dresser. Ahh…privacy at last! (And, no, I did NOT allow either of my sisters to take over “my” room upstairs. Good thing, too, since I eventually changed from being the troll under the stairs back into a human who wanted a normal bedroom!)

After getting married, we bought an old farmhouse in the suburbs. It was quite frustrating that the closets had been built at a time when hooks were used to hang clothes. Modern-day hangers were too long for the depth of the closet. This led to the purchase of a wonderful wood wardrobe…but none of these were closets I spent time in…

When we moved to a large farmhouse out in the country, there was a huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom. It was almost the size of a small room, with an interior cedar closet and laundry room shelves at one end. This closet eventually became a room—it was the perfect size for a nursery for the two babies born while we lived there. The playpen/crib fit snuggly in one end of the closet, with plenty of shelves for baby clothes, bedding, diapers, and toys. Our clothes fit fine in the cedar closet. My mom worried at times, that we should put a window into the walk-in closet wall. I didn’t worry about it—the babies were only in there to sleep. Plus, I had lived in a closet with no windows for a year, and it didn’t harm me!

Finally, I have happy memories of time spent digging through very special closets: the craft and gift closets at the last few places we have lived. It started with an extra closet being put to use to hold my scrapbooking and other craft supplies. With a large family, it takes a lot of space to hide gifts for upcoming holidays. So, my craft cupboard turned into a gift cupboard near the holidays. I would like to think that kids weren’t able to find the key and search the boxes for their Christmas gifts (although I’m pretty certain that’s not true). At least it seemed like a secure place to hide the gifts from prying eyes. And each time I opened the door to get out craft supplies or to hide another item I had purchased, I was reminded of the joy of holiday gift giving. I miss that craft and gift closet. Now I make do with drawers and bins. It just isn’t quite the same.

Hmmm…as I think about it, I guess messy, jumbled closets aren’t so terrible after all. They still have plenty of space to hold all my memories of closets past!


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