You know when you do something selfish, but it’s okay because it doesn’t really harm anyone? Like get a piece of cake with lunch or rarely volunteer to drive (especially first thing in the morning)? My husband doesn’t complain about little selfish acts like that, probably because he knows I am aware I’m being selfish and will make it up to him once the guilt kicks in. And like I said, these aren’t major transgressions. I finished finals and I was feeling low and cake went a long way to alleviating that mood before it darkened into a depressing self-pity party. And I prefer Buddy’s driving because he doesn’t start falling asleep like a newborn after ten minutes on the road. That and I get to read. But on a day-to-day, not on a long road-trip basis, we trade off pretty evenly.
So, when we moved into the house almost (gasp) two years ago, one of the first things we had to decide was the assigning of the walk-in closets. They both had their benefits. One had a higher main hanging rack on two walls as well as built-in wire shelves while the other had a lower hanging rack that extended to all three walls and more floor space. At first, I wanted the shelves, but once I realized that the other closet was bigger, I had to have it. Girls need big closets, I told myself. Buddy didn’t argue.
It must have been a month or two ago when I went to retrieve a hanger from Buddy’s closet to hang up one of his shirts to dry. I don’t remember exactly when it was, just that I was utterly shocked at how packed his clothes were in the closet. I could barely get a hand in between to seize a hanger. Since then, the barrenness of my closet has been getting to me. I don’t have a ton of clothes, mostly because frequent moves force me to evaluate just how often I actually wear items before I add them to the moving weight. Turnover can be pretty high and I hate looking at clothes I don’t wear anymore. I don’t wear them because they have become…ugly somehow. They don’t suit me and need to go away. I don’t like ugly, I guess.
The problem with a sparse closet, like an empty shopping cart, is that it wants to be filled. That impulse got me into a lot of trouble when I was still a patron of Walmart. Now I have safeguards in place so I don’t go crazy. For one, I don’t make the money in this house yet and asking if I can buy something really makes me question how much I need it. I also have a “buy to replace” policy. I don’t buy new jeans unless I have a pair that needs replacing. Same thing for all my other garments. Most importantly, though, I only have three extra hangers. You might think that’s not a big obstacle to someone really drawn to shiny new things, but it’s actually pretty effective.
See, I have super thin hangers, some purple, some gray. They stopped selling the purple ones, so I use them for summer clothes and the gray ones for winter and dress clothes. These hangers are hard to find and I hate mismatched hangers. It doesn’t look neat. So I’m not going to go out and buy any old hangers after a shopping binge. The fact that they have to be specific hangers that are hard to find makes me focus again on if I need something enough to make the hassle worth it. And that’s how I curb some of my compulsive behaviors. It’s not will power. It’s laziness.
So anyway, the empty closet wants to be filled and I am going on a shopping trip with my best friend at the end of the month. But realistically, that trip is not going to have a serious effect on the volume of my clothes. I have a pretty small budget for this trip and I have specific goals in mind (buy to replace). Besides, what was really bothering me wasn’t en empty closet. It was a closet packed to the gills and someone not complaining for a year and a half. I couldn’t have done that. Whenever something doesn’t suit me, you’ll hear about it, through politeness or sarcasm (or bitterness if I don’t know you’re listening).
Today, I fixed it. I switched our closets and it worked out beautifully. I asked first, because I learned as a teenager that just because my plans are better doesn’t mean I have a right to impose them when my roommate is out (how my sister and I lived to adulthood is beyond me). There is still a little work to do, like hanging pictures and such, but Buddy has room for his shirts and suits and uniforms without having to crush them all in. We might be walking into each others’ closets for a few days, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for correcting my selfishness.
I did manage other things today. We broke up the flowerbed up front, chucking the mostly dead bushes in the back marsh. In the process, I found a buried paint can lid and a large hunk of cement that Buddy had to break out with the sledge-hammer. I do love it when builders take short cuts.
Yesterday, I purchased the first new book I’ve bought since maybe last summer. It’s the newest of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, which is a nice place to turn for fluff after a semester of heavy reading. It’s been so long since I read her series that I’ve decided to run through it again, since I have some time. I finished the first book today. This won’t be like the Wheel of Time series which took me all last summer and a good hunk of the fall. I’ll keep you posted, because I’m sure you will be salivating over what book I’m on.
Tomorrow (later today) we tackle the big flowerbed. Wahoo!!!