Saturday, November 10

Taking Back the House, One Closet at a Time

Earlier this week I was feeling a little ambitious and thought I would break out Christmas Tree #1 (Oh, you just knew there would be multiple involved at my house). I was looking around and debating whether to start with the Picture Perfect Tree or perhaps one of the smaller ones when I realized that I had a problem. There was entirely too much brightly-colored plastic crap all over my house. I don't recall the moment when it happened, but I do believe Fisher Price set up shop in my living room. And my dining room. And the entire upstairs. There was no room for even one Christmas tree, let alone several.

I immediately declared war on the toys. Within minutes it became clear that the Toddler was a traitor; she was siding with the toys. Every toy she hadn't touched in months instantly became the greatest toy ever. If I selected a pile to neatly stash into a basket, she became infatuated with pulling the toys back out of the basket as fast as possible. If I hauled something down to the garage, she stood at the top of the stairs crying for it to return. And return it will, for I am wrapping every toy I hid from her and giving them all back to her for Christmas.

Anytime I get in that kind of desperate to clean mood, it usually continues on for hours. So after the fiasco with the toys was over, I decided to tackle my closet. We're talking about the closet that I haven't opened for over two and a half years. At some point after the conversion to maternity clothes I just stopped putting away most of my laundry. Since I hated maternity clothes and their over-priced ugliness, I got by with the minimum. It all fit quite nicely in one basket, with a few pieces hung on the outside of the closet door. When I packed away the maternity clothes, I kept the habit of living out of baskets.

I figured the most efficient way of reclaiming my closet was to just declare its entire contents null and void. If I hadn't worn something in nearly three years then it probably didn't fit, would be mocked by anyone with any fashion sense, or just wasn't necessary. Along the way I encountered a skirt that I bought about a month before I found out I was pregnant. I only wore it twice--once for my Brother-in-law's wedding in Belgium, and once to work. I instantly fell back in love with that skirt. As I stared at its perfect blend of lime green and white and its flirty, but not too flirty, little ruffles, I realized that I used to be one skinny beyotch. There was no way that skirt would ever fit again. As anyone who likes to torture themself would, I set it aside so that I could keep staring at it, reminding myself that having a baby does indeed change everything and that she is worth it (that one's hard to remember when the kid in question is using closet cleaning time to throw books down the stairs, trying to hit the dog and laughing hysterically every time she succeeds).

I continued stuffing the old clothes into bags so that I could take them to Goodwill and filling the cleaned out closet with my more recent acquisitions, every once in a while glancing at the symbolic skirt. I lugged a total of four bags of old clothes to the car with the knowledge that if they didn't leave the premises that day, they never would. After Alexis and I returned from the Goodwill drop point, I grabbed the skirt and started to hang it up in the back of the closet. I hesitated, then decided I might as well go for the ultimate form of torture--I tried it on.

It fit.

Never mind the road map to China that carrying a baby for ten months left me, the skirt still fits. Not quite the same since the road map came with a spare tire, but IT FITS. It really doesn't matter that there still isn't a single Christmas tree set up, because that skirt fits.



  1. Good for you! It's Christmas come early at your house with a gift like that.

  2. The skirt fits!!!! YAY!!!

    I tagged you for a meme :)

  3. I guess since you read my blog, that you saw that we were doing the exact same thing yesterday! Funny! Dylan wasn't throwing books at the dog, but if we had one, I'm sure he would've been.
    Congrats on that skirt. The day I fit back into my low rise jeans, after having Dylan, was one of the happiest moments of my life!

  4. Oh, I am sooo jealous. I finally got rid of a pair of Ralph Lauren jeans that I so desperately wanted to get back into. But, they were pre-baby #1. I tried them on one last time and it didn't seem like there was ANY way it was gonna happen, so out they went. Sob.

  5. Woo hoo! I have no baby, and I'm sure that skirt wouldn't even come close to fitting me. I suppose I should hate you, but I don't! Yay for you!

    I know what you mean about too many toys and about kids wanting the ones they haven't played with in ages just because you put them away. I'm a big fan of rotating for just that reason. But half her toys in a rubbermaid container (preferably when she's sleeping!) and then a month or so later, switch. She'll have all new toys and be thrilled. You'll have half the crap laying around at any given time and be thrilled.

  6. I'd still be wearing that skirt.

    Wait a minute, ARE you still wearing that skirt? You can tell me. I promise not to tell anyone.

  7. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I finally got brave enough to try on a pair of black slacks that I bought pre-baby #1 and was shocked to find that they fit - not in quite the same way, but should the need to attend a business meeting arise, I am set.

    I am the same way when it comes to cleaning . . . one project leads to six more, and I become the poster child for 'Go Big or Go Home'. And more than one Christmas tree?! My kids will be lucky if they even see one this year!

    (I am really enjoying your blog - I thought I had bookmarked it ages ago, but obviously didn't! So glad you came and commented on mine so I could find my way back!)

  8. Good for you. That skirt probably missed you too.

    As for those closets. Ugh. I've been trying to get rid of the clothes I haven't worn in a couple of years. It turns out I only like wearing five shirts! Boring.

  9. red pen mama8:03 PM

    I long -- real, actual yearning -- to clean out my closets. And the toy box (especially after the birthday acquisitions are accounted for...). And my children's closets. And, while I'm at it, I getting rid of every single thing DH has promised to refinish, fix, or use since we got married, but hasn't.

    Look out, Goodwill.


  10. Karen--That's exactly what it's like!

    Veronica--Thanks! I'll probably try to do it later in the week when I'm completely brain dead.

    Jen--Great minds think alike. Either that, or procrastinators get fed up at the same time.

    Madame Queen--Don't be sad. Those jeans didn't love you or they would have been willing to make everything work out. Somewhere there is a pair of jeans that will appreciate you more.

    Not the Mama--I started out organized like that. Somewhere around the 18-month mark the toys started getting to big for the tubs and started just sitting out. I will conquer, even if it kills me.

    Jenny H.--I would totally be wearing that skirt. If I had a shirt to go with it. I never did find the perfect top to go with the perfect skirt. The one I wore with it before showed way too much boobage, so I'm going to have to consider a shopping spree to go with my newfound skirt.

    Driving with the Brakes On--You must have at least one tree. It's the right thing to do! I don't know how many I'll end up with, but I'm hoping for at least three. Fingers crossed!

    Kidzmama--I do that too! I will wear the same three or four sweaters over and over until they are worn out. Meanwhile, I have dozens to choose from. I wonder if there is a name for our disease?

    Red Pen Mama--Look out Goodwill, indeed! If I were to walk around and look for unfinished projects to give up on, you wouldn't hear from me for days. DH is guilty, and so am I.

  11. congrats on the special skirt fitting!!! that is always a fantastic feeling to get back into a certain piece of pre-prego clothing!

  12. When do we get to see a picture of you in said flirty skirt?