The Linen Closet

Well, 2012 has started off with a flurry of organization for us. Since we moved in Feb of 2011, we have had “stuff” in a storage locker nearby. It’s a nice, climate controlled, indoor storage locker … but at about $150 per month, it is costly. (We moved from a bigger house – 4 beds, 3 baths plus one downstairs, etc. etc., to the older home we have now – we finished the reno’s needed to make it a legal duplex, and live in half – so you can imagine, we had a lot more stuff than place to put it!)

So we decided to make a big push to get out of the storage locker. I have a bit of depression-era “but this isn’t quite used up yet! and what if we need it later! And my grandma gave that to me!” which makes it hard for me to get rid of things. But I also realize that things have a tyranny of their own – they must be stored, dusted or washed, and if you have too many you can’t find what you are looking for to enjoy it properly anyway. I really prayed to have the strength to let go of things that others might use, or of things that were imprisoning me in some way.

We are so lucky that my dear mother-in-law (DMIL), along with one SIL and one BIL came up to help us out. They helped with bringing loads from the storage locker here, helping to finish up the attic storage space (DH and I worked on that together before they arrived, but there was still insulating and plywood to do to finish up what we wanted done at this point). However, I was really the only one to give the word on toss, give away, or keep, so that was my main job.

Now my MIL is a tidy, organized person by nature. Regretfully, I am just not so. I appreciate things being tidy and clean. If I have the right habits and enough energy, I will get them there and keep them there. But if I get tired, or if something I think is more important comes up (time to give hubby a message, perhaps?) then the tidy bit goes by the wayside. In a way it is good, since I have been living in a sort of construction zone for about a year, and it does not bother me in the same way that it would bother another person.

So … my MIL is not one to take it easy if there is work to be done, and she helped out in myriad ways. She tidied the pantry, did laundry, swept floors, tidied rooms (not our bedroom though). And, bless her heart, she organized my linen closet. For some reason, this is a really sore spot with me. I remember at least 5 years ago, when she was visiting she re-organized my linen closet. Then, as now, it just makes a flame leap up inside of me. I have no idea where this temper, this anger comes from. And why should a linen closet, of all things, set it off?? There are neatly folded piles of facecloths, towels, sheets, blankets … and I have a great urge to go in, mess it all up, unfold everything to fold it *my* way. Clearly not a reasonable reaction.

I have overcome this unworthy impulse – or at least, I prayed about it as I recognized my temper! – and the closet has been organized as my MIL set it up for a few days now. She left yesterday and I haven’t touched it yet. I recalled a story that my mom told me, of how when she and my dad would travel home and stay with his parents, my maternal grandmother always asked for their laundry so she could wash their things, and how insulted my mom was by that – did grandma think she couldn’t or didn’t do laundry, or what? But then my maternal grandmother had her reconsider the situation by saying that perhaps, this was how my dad’s mother showed love – by caring for those around her, by doing things for them.

So, for now anyway, I am choosing to look at these neatly organized piles and see them as love … not criticism of my disorder. I know that in time the order will change, I will move some things around, but (for now) I am not going in to deliberately disorganize it. I don’t have time right now anyway!

But I do wish I knew why this one thing – the linen closet – has set me off twice, when generally my MIL’s tidying and organizing is much appreciated (if re-arranged to suit me later, but not in an angry way). It must symbolize something to me, but I have no idea what or why.

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4 thoughts on “The Linen Closet

  1. CM says:

    Storage lockers are expensive! I’m glad you were able to get some of that taken care of.

  2. the misfit says:

    That’s interesting. I’m set off by closets too, but in a different way. My DH has always wanted to take the one major storage area in our house as a dumping ground for every item imaginable whenever he wants to “clean.” He doesn’t actually know how to clean – he just wants to remove objects from surfaces, and only particular surfaces (for example, he thinks he has “cleaned” the piles of mail if he puts stacks of torn envelopes that he might or might not want later on the mantel that I’ve decorated with icons and candles, and which is therefore a display area and NOT a storage area). He thinks we shouldn’t care what the inside of closets look like and should care a lot about what the top of the coffee table looks like. I think it doesn’t matter what’s on the top of the coffee table, because there’s a natural limit to how bad that can get and since it’s out, I will clean it eventually; if we ram piles of crap into the closet, we can’t get to anything in there, and we have essentially given up on ever using the closet (or anything in it) again and might as well throw the stuff in the trash rather than the closet. We’ve had screaming fights about this. I’ve created more and more storage areas over the years to limit the tendency to ram things into closets, which has helped a lot. So I can’t really explain the emotional attachment either, but I feel you :).

  3. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

    I’m working on organization too! One thing I did last year during Lent and will probably do again this year is the 40 Bags in 40 Days. It was difficult, but so refreshing to have less stuff. Now, if only I can learn more how to stop unnecessary things from coming into my home in the first place…. 🙂

    You’re more than welcome to link me on your blog, by the way! Thanks for being a great PB!!!

  4. JellyBelly says:

    I have struggled with keeping an organized home since marrying Mr. JB. He doesn’t like getting rid of anything and I get overwhelmed by having to be the one that gets the organization going.

    Our shared walk-in closet is shameful and I was hoping to have the time to re-organize it during the holidays, but we just ran out of time.

    Good for you for getting out of that storage locker! What a victory!

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