Sunday, November 23, 2008


I had the pleasure of finishing two closets recently - not nearly as large, messy or photogenic as the one above. Closets must often be one of the last things finished on any home renovation or construction - well maybe baseboards are the last but closets are a close second.

Yet having new closets is a deep pleasure - beyond the joy of having a place to put shoes where the puppy can't chew them - making me wonder why it is so enjoyable to create spaces for hiding things. Do I have this psychological need to conceal or just the desire to create visual space by banishing clutter?

I am an American - culturally predisposed to airing my dirty laundry - so what is this obsession with closets? Stories are made to be told, clothes to be worn, food to be eaten, books to be read - not all tucked away in specialty holding places. So how come I love journals, closets, pantries and libraries?

In my more benign moments, I think my squirrel habits are not a way to hide but a way to make sure that when I need something it is there. How much more positive to think of our storage places as repositories of our treasures, holding them at the ready for when we need extra layers, canned goods or reminding of our special histories.

Stuffing something into a closet can be good but taking out just the right thing at just the right time may be the greater pleasure. In these cold, raw, gray days of November, I need to delve into well-filled closets and cupboards and bookshelves to find my gloves and rice and perhaps some prizes I forgot I collected for just this moment.