May I Suggest: A Spring Closet Clean

There are eight days until spring. When out for a walk today, the streets flooded with people, waitresses floated plates to outdoor seats, I saw tables clad with Aperol Spritz before noon and the cutest and brightest outfits one could imagine. On days like today, far earlier than I had imagined, I tussle with computer time vs. outdoor time. The app on my phone reminds me that I could use a few more steps, and the sun glaring off of my screen tells me much of the same. 

These days, I am finding that I need to get reacclimated with this New York. It is so different from years prior and last year too. The things to do and places to go have changed. There’s fluidity around art, theaters and music. And while the weather shows cooler temperatures in the week ahead, fools’ spring (which always happens during the last week of winter) reminds me how quickly seasons and opportunities change. 

Perhaps, this is why I’ve spent the last week or so addressing my closet. Over the course of this incredibly cold and dry winter full of surprising snow storms and icy days, my favorite sweats rotated and others collected dust. Those that were made from natural fibers like wool, became unfortunate incidents to a pest, only shown by tiny holes that grew wider as the weeks went on. I have plans to fix the sweater, but first and foremost, I had to fix the problem. 

My cleaning wasn’t just the sweater (though alone it was more than enough encouragement), it was in preparation for weeks like this. It was in bodily acknowledgement of the slim time that remains between winter’s end and spring’s depth. Combined with the raw and squishy newness, plus potent potential, I cleaned. It didn’t take an afternoon or even a day. Stretched over two weeks, everything was washed, hung, wiped down and refolded. Other items were reorganized by size, the rest, by color. In the closet doors that had room, the shiny parts of wooden hangers were finger-spaced if only for my delight. 

When considering spring cleaning, I almost always tell people to do it before spring! So possibly, take this as a nudge? Handle what requires the most elbow grease first, and give yourself grace if there’s piles of color-coded sweaters stacked on your floor for longer than you would normally prefer. Be gentle with what you keep for yourself and what you decide no longer serves you. When getting to the tail end of my organizing spree, I almost always buy something new for the space as a treat. I’m not a cheap date. This time, it was an Olive Basket from Twenty One Tonnes, that I’ll be glad to fill with the funkiest (and hopefully), sweatiest of things as spring makes her GRAND entrance. 

With this week being a big reminder of when it all changed so very much and for so very long, I’ve been thinking about this kind of cleaning as a lesson of reconnection, too. Maybe you don’t quite collect clothes the way I do, that is fine and well. But moving, shifting, or possibly, organizing one’s life, as a memoriam of time, allows the body to address what it may need in the absence of words. 

To Launder: Cleancult or The Laundress 

To hang: These wooden hangers

To Keep Company: An episode of bad / good TV. (The Real Housewives in my case.)

To Organize: Clear bins and/or a hamper

To Shove In Corners (and under pillows): Lavender Satchet

To freshen: Room spray | fabric spray

To Deter All Season Long: Cedar Moth Balls

To hold close: These words for the time:

“Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love: These are complex and hard-earned capacities.” 
― Bessel A. van der Kolk

Any spring cleaning plans of your own?

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2 thoughts on “May I Suggest: A Spring Closet Clean

  • Reply Tracey Nolan March 14, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    Quarantine had me reorganizing my living space and freshening it up for Spring in late Winter because I truly, truly want to enjoy every minute of the season when it finally arrives. This has inspired me to tackle my closet as well. Needed the nudge, thanks.

    • Reply latonya April 14, 2021 at 11:28 am

      This makes me so happy, Tracey! I hope you were successful in it!

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