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Cleaning Out My Closet


No, this has nothing to do with the 2002 Eminem song by that title. This is literally about me and my attempt at cleaning out my closet.

And when I say my closet, I mean it’s mine and mine alone. You see, when my family and I moved across town from our “starter” home that we stayed in for 17 years to our new (to us) house that was twice as big, one of the decisions my wife and I agreed upon was that she could have the big closet in our bedroom and I would take the almost-but-not-quite-as-big closet in the spare bedroom that eventually became my home office once I (like many of you) started working from home last year.

I ended up putting a second bar across the closet, doubling the hanging capability within and it has been a very nice closet… except, I tend to accumulate clothes and other stuff and am very reluctant to throw anything away, so the closet is in pretty bad shape.

Or, I should say “was” in pretty bad shape, because I’ve committed to doing some much needed purging of its contents and I’m making some pretty good progress.

First to go were the “extras” — things that didn’t really go in the closet but I just stuck there to get out of the way (and out of sight, out of mind, right?) and they just stayed there, like my “Hippie” outfit, Elvis costume, my insulated coveralls, my old collection of baseball caps, my massage chair thing (whatever it’s called), my trivia championship trophies and a few other odds-and-ends.

I parted ways with some of that stuff, but mostly I just

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found some other place to put it until the next purge.

The shoes were the next item on my list, and while I always give my wife grief about the number of shoes she owns (literally over 100 pairs, which I’m told is not that unusual for the ladies), I really don’t have much room (literally) to talk. I dragged them all out of the closet and found out that I own 53 pairs of shoes, sandals, boots and slip-ons. If you had asked beforehand, I’d have said I had “about 15 pairs” of shoes, so clearly there’s a disconnect there somewhere. But as I sorted through them, I began to sound eerily like my wife.

“Oh, I need a black pair of dress shoes and a brown

“These are good for playing tennis…” “Oh, there’s my houseshoes…”

“My Mom and Dad got me these boots…”

Anyway, I whittled it down to 30 pairs, so I got rid of about half of them, which isn’t too bad, right?

But then came the clothes….

I mentioned I have a hard time throwing things away, and clothes are no exception. Around Christmas time, I got new socks and underwear — a family tradition going back more than 40 years. I took that as an opportunity to clean out my underwear drawer. I kid you not, there were close to 100 pair of underwear, some probably dating back to the Clinton Administration. I pared that down to 20 pairs (10 of which were new).

I do the same thing with my other clothes, especially shirts. Pants aren’t really a problem, because I will invariably rip or otherwise ruin a pair of pants every few months. But shirts?

You know all those excuses I mentioned earlier in justifying hanging on to an old pair of shoes? Well, it goes

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double for shirts. And it’s even harder with shirts, because then you get into seasonal clothing. Like, I have three Atlanta Braves jerseys. I also have three Christmas shirts. I also have Arkansas Razorbacks tank-tops, tee-shirts, longsleeve shirts, button-up shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. You have to represent no matter the season, right?

So then there are sweaters.

It has to be pretty cold for me to wear a sweater, but I’ve got like seven pretty nice ones. Can’t just get rid of them, can I? Same goes for suits. I wear suits to funerals and on Easter.

That’s about it, but hey, I’m keeping the suits. I also have an extensive collection of band shirts, including an authentic 1991 Guns N’ Roses World Tour shirt that I can’t even wear because it has a bad word on the back, but I’m never throwing that away. I have polos and dress shirts and such of virtually every color. I have to have one of every color, don’t I? I mean, green for St.

Patrick’s Day and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness and you’ve got to have at least one basic white button- up. And, of course, there are the funny shirts. I don’t have anything too corny, but I have always liked a funny shirt, like my “zombie bite” shirt that is covered in fake blood and says “I’m fine.” Or my “Beast Mode” shirt for playing sports in. My wife’s favorite (and by favorite, I mean she hates it) is one that says “Cool story, babe… now go make me a sandwich.”

I’m actually surprised she hasn’t burned that one yet.

Anyway, I’m actually in the middle of the Great 2021 Shirt Purge now and I’ve got a system where there are three piles: A Keep pile, a Get Rid Of pile, and a Maybe pile. I’ll see where I am after going through all of them and see how many of the Maybe pile I can make room for in the closet.

Like my Friday the 13th “Camp Crystal Lake Camp Counselor” shirt. You gotta hold on to that, right?


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