jumpstart a clean closet

..by fighting with the husband/SO/lover.
Really. Don’t believe me? Here, this is how you do it.

ps: The post got longer than expected, so please click further with all warnings in place. 🙂

For the past few weeks I’ve been eying my closet with a sinking feeling one eyes the calendar when you are approaching a deadline and are far from completing it. Our closet has been bursting at its seams. Nothing new there, it always does. The difference was that I couldn’t find a single shirt or pants without having to dig through piles and heaps of clothes since the last few weeks. Just not finding what you’d like to stuff yourself into that morning is still bearable, when compared to the sad reality that every piece of clothing you do lay your hands on reminds you of better days. Days when you’d spend just a few more minutes in front of the mirror pirouetting to admire yourself layered steep in vanity.

No siree, those days are not coming back, ever (hear that you blind bozo in denial, living upstairs in my brain?) and that each time those showed up on top of the pile, they’d only succeed in sending me to tears of self-pity and remorse on stuffing myself with whatever I did stuff myself during the last snack/ meal. Figured it really was time to say goodbye.

This decision was taken almost a month ago. Weekends got packed and I didn’t get down to it till last weekend. For reasons I shall not bore you with, the husband and I got into an argument Monday morning. A perfect way to start labor day. Laboriously. The argument ended with me huffing my weight upstairs while he laced his shoes and slammed the door on his way out to the gym. That’s how most fights end. At least our voices continue only in our heads and don’t pollute the air outside.

Once upstairs I head straight for my room. I originally planned on taking a shower, but as I entered the room, the closet beckoned. A demon inside me awoke. With a look of intensity that could very well resemble how a lion approaches a hapless prey, I picked each pile and threw them out onto the bed. After a couple of such flying arcs, the arms liked the whole flinging. They got into a routine. Fling followed fling, clothes-flinging I mean. The bed was completely covered and the huge amalgamated pile was getting larger and larger. I was on a roll.

Out came all my tees, the hangers with shirts and blouses. The capris, shorts followed by the jeans all flew with lightning speeds across the room. Not to be left alone, trousers and the gym clothes joined the rest. The saris were hidden beneath, but out they were dragged and so came the mangled basket of blouses. The colorful salwars, kurtis, various shapes and forms of dupattas and other unmentionable parts of my wardrobe settled onto a large mountain.

If it were bhogi, it would have been one amazing glorious long-lasting bonfire. The son walked in, thought it resembled a camp fire but what does he know. His gender would never understand the catharsis this kind of upheaval brings.

Moving on, that should have soothed parts of me. It didn’t. I was enraged at the husband and probably with the whole male species at that point in time. After throwing the son out of the room, I stomped back in. All that was left were the husband’s clothes. A new fire raged and surged again. A burst of oxygen fed into its innards, the anger rose. His shirts shuddered as I walked past them (no, it couldn’t have just been my weight, I am gonna stick to my seething temper vibes, and you should too for the sake of the story!) and I picked a few hangars at a time and threw those on the floor. More shirts, tees, pants, kurtas, jeans, shorts. By then my arms had gotten tired and were refusing to rise above waist level, but I couldn’t bother stopping to listen to their pleads. Then proceeded to drag out the useless complimentary tees one collects at useless conventions one loves to uselessly attend, to while away their useless time in the first place! All lay in another marvelous bonfire-ready pile on the floor. If this was say 15 years ago, my mother would have sold all those off to some fellow and gotten herself a new stainless steel dinner set to give away at my marriage.

Yes, yes, I know. The irony is remarkable.

My rage down to a simmering anger, I stood with hands on my hips surveying the floor. I then realized I was sorta stuck at the closet as the clothes were piled knee high at the entrance. I lift the only working leg I possessed and stamped over the pile. Just as I was on top of it, feeling like the queen of all things fabric, in walked the daughter. She froze on seeing me, and then taking a split second decision, did a 180 degree turn, sprinted out as if the stray dogs were after her. Not letting her escape so easy, I yelled after her to bring a couple of trash bags.

The white kitchen ones?

No, the large black lawn and leaf bags in the garage.

With the bags open, I continued. The old tees from the 90’s, the formal shirts since the last three summers, the frayed collars, the duplicates, the faded blues along with the almost white grays, the favorite jeans from the 90’s that still fit (a sore point for me, as mine don’t!), the ones that are brand new but he wouldn’t touch even if I slipped a million bucks in them as they aren’t the “usual”, the trousers that fit yet will not be worn becos they are half-an inch shorter/longer, the tight-fitting, colorful Andhra hero shirts that are gifts from all the well-meaning relatives back home.

This is a breeze I think to myself. Bulging at the sides, the bags got filled quick with amazing speeds. More bags were brought in. Husband’s clothes took all of 10 minutes. It was fairly simple to either throw or keep. If the clothing looked too old/old but untouched/familiar/strange/ugly/like something the cat dragged in, it went out. I was left with a very sparse collection. With steam let out, I was already beginning to feel much better.

I then lay my eyes on the bed. My head spun a few circles. This was not going to be as easy. I asked for replenishments. Chugging down a glass of ice cold water, and popping an ice cube in my mouth I surveyed the situation. This required a plan of attack, not just a scoop and recover. Divide and conquer, I told myself a few times before I bent again and started hurling into Keep and Throw piles.

Work clothes and casuals that I had not worn over the summer, turtlenecks that make me look like the cooking gas cylinder of back home, long sleeve tees that make me more warmer than necessary, old sweaters that looked like I could squeeze two of me in, the 90’s style ones, fleeces that I detested (as they make me warmer) all made their way into the Throw pile with great gusto. Tanks and skirts that either made me look incongruously fat and would surely send folks scuttling to see anything but me also went into the throw pile. A couple of them were really cute, but since I shocked myself looking at the mirror, despite my mood at the world at large and husband in particular, out they went.

The keep pile contained only clothes I’d worn over the last couple of months. I sneaked in a couple of my faded favorites for some darned sentimental value I still carry for them. Don’t ask.

The desi clothes lay there challenging me. Lord, that required help, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it alone. I had half a mind to bag all of it away. Just keep the saris. I’d have sent the ill-fitting blouses away too if not for the general concern I have for the rest of mankind when they watch me step out unabashed yet quite comfortable draped in just a sari. Like during Shakuntala days. Seriously, at the rate none of the frikkin’ blouses ever fit just right when you desperately want to showoff a good sari, it’s annoyingly frustrating and only leads to major heartbreak and tears when one does have to step out, and you cannot let the sleeve go past your wrists!! There should be a scientific org established and money poured in to funding for the R&D of that elusive fit-like-a-glove sari blouse. bah!

Anyways, since I hope to continue to dance till my bones and muscles allow me, I had to revamp and start pairing the now separated salwar suits. Don’t even get me started on the dupattas. They were, are and will continue to be the most challenging part of the closet on how to arrange them and where. They are slippery unlike your socks, will not sit neat like folded piece of tank top, won’t hangon to the hangars like the rest of the outfit, and to top it, they are so fussy and get all crinkled in a heartbeat, espcially when you ignore them! Generally annoying pieces of fabric, except that I’d guard my cotton ikkat, bandhni and similar special dupattas with my life if I have to.

With daughter’s help, managed to salvage a few good salwars that I could still fit into. Comfortably. We surely don’t want rips while doing specific steps where you sit on your haunches and get up quick like a jack-in-the-box. Daughter observed quietly that I did not have too many piles. I ‘huh’ed and she replies:

No more various assorted piles of:

  • to wear anytime, happily,
  • to wear when I should,
  • to wear as it makes me look thin,
  • to wear in the hope that it makes me look thin,
  • to wear when I am all bloated,
  • to wear only in the company of the giftee,
  • to wear to the rare office Christmas party,
  • to wear at desi functions,
  • to wear to smaller desi gatherings – like potlucks,
  • to wear in lesser known desi functions,
  • to wear to dance class
  • to wear to dance when there’s an audience,
  • to wear in company of visiting desi uncles and aunts,
  • to wear only if everything else in wash/torn/too small for comfort,
  • to wear when I get back to pre-baby size
  • to wear when I am stressed and enlarged to 2 sizes bigger
  • to wear in the interim
  • to wear at home
  • to wear when cleaning bathrooms/doing laundry
  • to wear at night
  • to wear at night to want look “cute”

Genius! I tell her and chuckle inwardly, females are so in tune now aren’t we?

I drag all 5 large bags of clothes down the stairs, out into the garage, open the trunk of the van, and dump them all in, labeled for salvation army. They were his problem, not mine anymore.

By now, I am exhausted. My legs groan and the left side of my body hurt like hell from bearing all my weight. Right leg weighs a ton. Feeling like I was crushed between some serious machinery, I drag myself back upstairs, get into the shower. Come out and creep into the now empty bed, debating between sulking, crying, whining, or to continue to remain angry. Kids are cackling downstairs extremely excited that dad’s got home Chinese. I continue to pretend like he’s transparent. He walks into the closet and says “Oh”.


He showers, goes down and sends word that he’s turning on the movie. I walk down, grab myself some noodles, go down to the theater, and we eat in silence for the next 30 minutes, watching ‘Race’. Like an idiot, I get swayed into the mystery (did I tell you I love a good mystery), and start exclaiming loudly on the twists and surprises. *note to self: when angry, try and STAY angry till you get cajoled. Don’t smile, laugh or chuckle. It kinda spoils the whole effect of the earlier drama* The girls are looking quite hot says the husband. I nod. *yes I nod. I can’t believe I nod, but nod I do, when it comes to movies and hot girls.* Saif looked quite nice himself and I said so. He pooh-poohed, as expected.

I can’t tell you what happened after that, but it was good.


So yes, see how productive it is to fight with the man? You have a clean closet, you do some major charity garnering good karma, you get good food, and then there’s that stuff that happens behind closed doors, not to mention gentle talk for the next week or so. Apparently it lasts a week at others homes, mine, it’s days, but who am I to complain, I’ll take what I can get.

Next on the agenda: Kitchen Pantry.

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29 replies on “jumpstart a clean closet”
  1. says: bpsk

    Hahaha, the Salvation Army should use this story for a commercial. Good one!

    p.s. ROFL at the cooking gas turtleneck. Guess it was red?

  2. says: rads

    bpsk: Yea, a nice maroon that got faded. I’d have looked like a pazhaya cylinder! 🙂

    Silvara: I so agree 😉

    Sajni: Please do. Then come backa nd let me now how much you reaped out of it 🙂

  3. says: WT

    rofl@ blind bozo in denial and pazhaya cylinder.

    good job@closet cleanup. ‘ve always wondered about those desi clothes sent to salvation army, hmm who would wear them?

  4. says: rads

    WT: Oh, pass them off for Halloween costumes!:)

    Whecutdeep: IF ? What? ..and we are just going to let you get away scot-free? No such luck. I shall make sure you I present her with a printed signed copy of this post 😉

    Praveen: hehe, why you panting? 😛

  5. says: Shyam

    “turtlenecks that make me look like the cooking gas cylinder of back home” – That REALLY cracked me up… I was sipping at some water and just snorted so it went up my nose! Thanks, Rads 🙂

  6. Hahahaha! ROFL at the “assorted piles of” list, esp “to wear only in the company of the giftee”

    My wife goes through these closet phases with mechanical regularity. I am a bit of a sentimentalist, hanging on to my belongings with the intensity of a child clinging on to a favorite teddy. No luck. Where chucking things away is concerned, she begins where Liz Talylor left off, except that Liz did that with husbands while Sheela (mercifully) does it to personal effects. And she has a strong puritanical streak, too. Recently, she threw away a rather nifty tee, even before I had a chance to wear it, on the grounds that the stuff written on it was “gross” (it said “Yes, my brains are up my arse, where are yours?”, a touching gift from a friend based in London).

    I ask you!

  7. says: rads

    Naren: LOL@ tee! I can’t understand this part though. How on earth are men becoming pack rats? Mine has an abnormal collection sitting in the basement. 😐 Though frankly these exercises are cathartic.
    A friend also suggested I knead and mash that roti dough into pulp. You get good fluffy rotis and also get rid of that anger ;-p

    Shyam: hehe, well, seriously though, thats the image I get 😀

    CW: Teacher eh? Why? So I can browbeat unsuspecting kids into “learning” :p

  8. says: sandsrandomramblings

    Rads, that could have been my home after a fight:) Felt like someone was verbalizing my thoughts.

  9. LOL! Bigger LOL @ “paata-battalaku-steelu-saamaanlistaam”! Biggest LOL @ “various assorted piles of” 😛 On the whole a LOL-able post! And I second Max’s thoughts! 😛

  10. says: Apple

    ROFL @ “various assorted piles” and “cooking gas cylinders”…Good one RADS…
    My kitchen looks rubbish..hmmm, ‘ve to fight with my BH now….

  11. says: rads

    Apple: Totally! Make sure you fling things around and make a huge scene. Add some tears too! The result is all worth it 😛

    Stitha: haha, yea, Kuchipudi 🙂
    That ‘paatabattalu’ fellow is some entertainment right? My mom would haggle and bargain and then she has such pride in what she earns 🙂

    max, Stitha: Yeart@hiding clothes. I’d suggest saving computers/laptops/ similar toys. Clothes are harmless. Based on the fight’s intensity, the costs escalate as well 😉

    Sands: THANK YOU so much for commenting! I was beginning to think I was the only badly behaving wife around the place :

  12. says: Manchus

    I am a newbee to your blog. Just hooked on to it as I see the Project to Loose pounds 🙂 I am in the same boat, and it is motivating to see your posts. I have been digging the archives.

    This post sounds like the Flylady!! I am not sure if you are familiar with Flylady. Go to http://www.flylady.com and you will know exactly what I am talking.

    Keep writing!!

  13. says: rads

    Manchus: I am SO glad you commented! Thank you!
    Heh, so many in the same boat, and there’ always room for one more. 🙂

    lol@flylady. Yeah, I’ve read her before, she’s grown well! 🙂

    Dipali: Sometimes fun times happen when you least expect it 🙂

    Sajni: Don’t let the family hear you. They think am Ms. Hyde :p

  14. says: Anu

    Hahaha…same thing happens at our home too..husband thinks that we ought to have a fight if home needs to be cleaned without his contribution.

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