A couple of weeks ago, it seemed like everyone I knew was switching over their closets, including me. "Switching over closets" is one of those phrases that either you get or you don't get…immediately. It's like "switching over dishes," which we'll do about six months from now--you know, the "P" word. But I digress.
When I was growing up, no one I knew had a closet big enough to contain summer and winter clothes. I still don't know anyone who does. I certainly don't. I know some folks who I imagine have such closets, but not having been on their house tours, I can't be sure. My family and I have lived in about four different houses over the decades, and I assure you, the house-hunting process included an awareness of where the off-season clothes would go.
We've just ended the holiday marathon, and are beginning a long period of 5-day work weeks, no days off. The closet switchover occurred during one of those holiday days, a time that began in days of self-reflection and ended in days of community celebration. The closet switch-over (CS-O) is like that too. Serious self-reflection: questions like, does it still fit (really, I mean, really?), did I wear it at all this year (really, I mean, really?) do I even like it anymore (did I buy it just because it was on sale, even though it's a color I don't like….really, I mean, really?) and am I just tired of it? The different piles begin to grow - giveaway, keep it, can't bear to give away - and it all has to happen in one day. Few things are worse than stopping in the middle of the CS-O - it is the ultimate chaos, and makes it hard for me to think, much less get dressed in the morning.
Twice a year, the period leading up to every CS-O is, by definition, pretty chaotic. You never know what the weather is going to be like and any day could see you dipping back into tank tops and shorts, or grabbing a sweater. Too late for sandals, but not yet ready for boots? We've spent weeks in clothes limbo. Was it too soon for the CS-O? Should I wait another week? Can I clear the time needed? And when the process is done, for just a shining moment, the closet (and the world) is in order. Some pieces are greeted like old friends that I get to spend time with again. Other pieces are sent out into the world to do good things for others.
When my children were little, we called the CS-O "The Fashion Show." They tried everything on, and we could see how much they'd grown, and what wouldn't fit next season, and perhaps the other sister would enjoy it next. It was actually pretty enjoyable. Maybe the adult version is more about how much growth has occurred internally; am I comfortable with my own style, or am I still looking at trends that look good on a 25-year-old? Am I taking chances with color? And of course, am I coming to terms with the aging body on which the clothes are displayed? Really…I mean, really?