Jack Simpson: Closet cleaning

Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

It is hell to get old, particularly if the time has come to clean closets after years of neglect. No more excuses like your back and knees have given out, your health isn't as good or your movement is limited!

Your spouse has issued an ultimatum. It is D-Day, attack those closets or she is moving into her own apartment. What old-timer wants to hear something like that? Certainly not me. I want harmony in my life and if organizing and cleaning out my closets so long ignored is the answer, I'm all for it.

When I began this horrible chore, I found things in my closets I had forgotten I had. In fact, I didn't even know I ever owned some of the styles and colors I found as I lifted shirts, slacks, jackets and shorts off those rods. I had procrastinated for so many years that now I was paying for my closet carelessness. The recent heat wave contributed to my discomfort.

For me this was a new beginning. I had attachment to some of my old clothing, but some were out of style and no longer fit. These went into one of the 10 bags I prepared to donate to Goodwill. Besides, I had long ago heard, "If you cannot wear it, haven't worn it, give it up."

So, I tried on everything realizing I really had done way too much impulsive buying in the past and had certainly accumulated a large amount of useless "stuff." Expensive as it was, I tossed and tossed and tossed, even my Spider-Man shirt! Can you tell me why an old man would buy a shirt like this in the first place? Maybe I had second thoughts after my purchase and that is why this shirt was still hanging in the closet. Come to think of it, there were also other such shirts hidden like that!

As I moved along in my cleaning duties, one day expanded into three and I'm thankful my spouse did not move and stayed to help me organize and make things more accessible. She kindly pitched in, separating the summer and winter clothes, lining up slacks, shirts, jackets and helped turn a once-nightmare of a closet into a new fulfilling experience. Hey, she even separated white, red, and other colored shirts. You just can't beat a lady's touch, huh?

By the smile on her face, I knew some of my prior purchases were ridiculous. I didn't even try to retain them. Into the giveaway bag they went and good riddance!

I found cleaning out closets to be an eye-opening experience and quite exhausting. The fact that I'm a senior citizen didn't help. By putting off this unpleasant chore and by saying for so long, "I'll get to that," I had created for myself a real nightmare.

This experience may cause me not to wait another 20 years or so before a second closet cleaning. However, judging from my past procrastination, it is possible closet cleaning may find its way near the bottom of my honey-do list once again. Yeah, sure, "I'll get to it." I did this time, didn't I?

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.