Spring Cleaning (Understatement)

Last week, I helped my dad clean out his closet.  I really didn’t think this would be a big job.  My dad is usually a pretty neat and organized guy, so I figured it would be an hour or so of editing his closet, not a major undertaking.

BOY was I in for a surprise.

When I arrived on the scene, many piles of clothes had already formed on my parents’ bed and in the floor and this is what I found upon opening the closet door:

Oh dear.

(I apologize for the blurry photo.  It was all I could manage in my state of shock.)

Tempted to close the door and walk away (while making a note to have my eyes checked) I took a deep breath, changed into sweatpants and a mouth-guard, and debated my plan of attack.

Edit everything from the closet OR take everything out and only put back what is acceptable to wear in 2012?

Due to space limitations, I chose to edit from the closet after requesting that my dad extract all contents from the closet floor.  He obliged.

I then proceeded to heave volumes of clothes out of the closet and into 4 loosely defined piles:

  1. Discard immediately
  2. Donate (must be in good condition and passable the for the 21st century)
  3. I don’t know (read: daddy, now’s your last chance to defend this item or it goes into pile 1 or 2)
  4. Appalling and/or Interesting (more on this pile below)

With the abovementioned piles out of my sight (and my parents’ bedroom looking like a tornado had blown through) I then went to work organizing the remaining (acceptable) items by clothing type. Here is the finished product:

“Oh wow….oh my…..what an improvement….”- daddy

Yay organizing by color! (This might last 10 minutes before my dad decides organizing his clothing by color is not a valuable use of his time.)

I’ll have you know that after I finished editing and organizing the open shelving and hanging spaces, I discovered that these 4(!) drawers were packed with socks.


Why so many socks?


But, I ruthlessly edited the drawers, too, and my dad now has 2 drawers of socks instead of 4 (which, I know, still seems excessive, but he has “trouser/dress socks” and “athletic/casual socks”, so we had to give each type its own drawer for the sake of my sanity).

Now, back to pile 4 (“Appalling and/or Interesting”):

I always like to get the bad stuff over with first, so let’s start with “Appalling.”

Item 1: Ties

Below is a photograph of 4 unfortunate ties, pictured in ascending order of heinousness (I can’t believe that’s actually a word) from left to right.

Now I’m sure these ties were manufactured before my birth (which was not particularly recent), and were at some point fashionable.  Maybe.  Maybe/probably not.  Nope.  But, I’m going to give my dad a pass on these since I don’t recall him ever wearing them.  I make a motion to strike these from the record.

So stricken.

Moving on to “Appalling”, yet “interesting”:

Item 2: Uncategorizable Thing You Wear On the Top Half of Your Body

This here is a most curious specimen: a cross between a sweatshirt and a turtleneck.  I like to call it the “sweatneck” or the “turtleshirt”.  Each of these names is as appealing as the garment itself.  Take a look for yourself:

Please take note of the ¾ length sleeves.  (Why????)

Having covered “Appalling,” I now present some straight-up “Interesting” items:

Item 3: My little Sister Fishing in a Tankini

Among the odds and ends in my dad’s closet, I stumbled upon this gem of my kid sister in the ever-fetching tankini style of bathing suit.  Due to its neon color and tye-dye pattern, I am willing to bet that this suit came from Limited too, the store that I believe is now called “Justice” (hahahaha) and at which my mother so nonjudgmentally allowed my sister and me to shop as pre-teens.  Bless her heart.

My family doesn’t really fish so I have no idea where this photo was taken or why my sister is fishing so nonchalantly.  I asked her about it and she has no idea either.  So the mystery remains:  where/why was Eugene fishing (in a tankini)?  If anyone has any leads, please feel free to leave a comment.

Item 4: A Sweater Knit by Grandmother

I relieved my dad’s closet of many an unfortunate sweater and in the process I unearthed a beautiful hand-knit sweater that is exactly what I have been looking for since I was in high-school (a while ago).  This sweater is a lovely cream color, heavy and warm, and knit with several different stiches.  It’s long and roomy, but still flattering.  It’s just the thing for leggings and riding boots.  And somehow I found this perfection in my dad’s closet and he said I could have it.  What is this world coming to???

Well, in any case, I am thrilled to have the sweater which was my dad’s, knit by my grandmother, exactly the style that has eluded me for years and FREE!  Life is good.

SO, the moral of the story here is to clean out the closet of someone approximately 30 years your senior so that you may uncover some buried treasures, have some laughs and minor heart-attacks when you find volumes of items wildly out of style.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?


P.S.  I want you to know that although my account of this closet surgery was somewhat brutal at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it and love my dad very much.  I just want him to have an organized closet and look sharp.

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