Gold Mine

I recently made a trip up to Boston to help my parents clean out closets and storage spaces that contain the relics of my childhood.  In an effort to purge the no longer needed, my parents nominated me to make the call on what was too precious and dear to part with and what needed to find a new home in a hurry.

The major area that needed addressing was my sister’s and my old playroom that had become a resting place for furniture no longer allowed in the main part of the house.


Things only got worse before they got better.

But, boy, did they get good.

I found some real treasures among 3 carloads, 2 truckloads, and dozens of 55 gallon trash bags by the curb of rejected items.


This here is one of the Hanson brothers, also known as my little sister Eugene.


I found an entire box of cards that my sister’s classmates had made her when she had her tonsils removed in the first or second grade.  By the volume of cards and the concern in her classmates’ scribbles, you would have thought she was having high-risk, open-heart surgery.  She had many a reminder to eat popsicles, which had some very creative spellings.  My favorite though, was this card from a young man who I deduce was named Harrison.  He seemed to have some top secret information for Eugene on the inside of the card as she was to “plees opon alone.”


I found my Chapel signs from my senior year of high school.  Man were those a trip.


This is me in 8th grade with my kindergarten buddy.  I think she’s applying to colleges now.  I feel old.


Hard to believe since it was just yesterday that I was sporting pig tails and cat appliques.


Who remembers Lisa Frank?! I used to love to buy this stuff at the school store in elementary school!


I was unsure about this creature that belonged to Eugene.  I sent her this picture to inquire about its nature.

Me: “What is this here creature?”

Eugene: “A horse in a kimono, naturally.”

Right.  He was for sure a keeper.


Cards congratulating my parents on my birth.  I’m not sure if it was a common thing to say back then (let’s hope), but a lot of the cards said, “take good care of her,” as if my parents were questionable guardians.   This kind of made me laugh/worry.


This is a realtor packet from 1992 when my parents sold their first home in Maryland, where Eugene and I were born.


Apparently I took interest in homes and real estate at a young age as it appears I added my own notes to the list of house features.


I had a lot to add.

And that was only day one.

Y’all be good,




My Closet

When I moved into my apartment, I was able to find a place for most things fairly quickly. Books go on the bookshelves, dishes go in the kitchen cabinets, sofa goes in the living room, cats go wherever they please, etc.

My clothes, however, were a different story.  I am fortunate that my small apartment has a good size bedroom closet.  The only problem is that it is set up for hanging space only. I’m sure the apartment was designed with the expectation that the tenant would bring a dresser or armoire, which most normal people have, but I do not yet own one.  Eventually, I hope to buy a really neat, antique armoire with shelf and drawer space, but that will take lots of searching and deliberating and may not happen for many months/years.

While I pondered this dilemma, my folded clothes, bags and shoes sat in boxes and even larger bags on my bedroom floor for about a week, which I found to be thoroughly irritating.

This is actually a fairly cleaned up version of my room before I had shelving in the closet:

I like to be organized and for everything to be in its place so this was a bit challenging for me. I had to dig through boxes and piles of clothes to find an outfit for a meeting or Church or just any outfit that didn’t look ridiculous in public.

More boxes…

It probably would have been easier to find things if I had labeled the boxes…but that would have made the box situation far too manageable.

I perused the isles at Lowes, Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond, waiting for just the closet solution to jump out at me.  I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on some fancy system, but I also didn’t want something that was going to fall apart. A few days into my search, I found some simple, metal racks with 3 adjustable shelves.

There was a lot of assembly required…

The directions specified that this was a 2 person assembly job due to the dangerousness of the metal objects.

Somehow, I survived the assembly of 4 shelving units.

And this is what my closet looks like post shelf-lift:

This brings me joy.

I have fairly high ceilings so I actually put one of the shelving units on a high shelf for my “winter-ish” items that I don’t need to wear at this time since we are averaging 75 degrees in Nashville.

After testing the limits of the upholstered stools in my room by jumping on them in order to sling purses onto the top shelf, I decided it was probably a good idea to invest in a proper step-ladder to prevent any injuries to me or my upholstered stools.

Meet my new best friend:

Look at all of that glorious shelf space.

Clearly, I could use an internship at J. Crew where everything is folded perfectly, but I was just so happy to have shelf space that it appears I let it get the best of my folding skills.

One thing that irks me is that the shelves in the unit on the far right do not line up with the shelves in the other two units. This is not a mistake; I had to make them higher so my Uggs would fit underneath, but nonetheless it bothers me.  Maybe I should adjust the other two so they are higher?

I know, I need help.

Sadly, all of my shoes did not make it into the closet due to a lack of space.  Luckily, I brought along my trusty door-hanging shoe organizer from college that has 30 shoe slots.  I have been known to pack 50 pairs of shoes into this thing so I’m very glad to have it.  The alternative was to line up my shoes around the perimeter of my room, which would have kept me up at night.

While it would have been ideal to hang this on the back of my closet door, there is not enough depth between the door and the wall to accommodate the shoe rack. Thus, the shoe rack is hanging on the back of my bedroom door.  Not perfect, but at least my shoes are off the floor and can be hidden from sight when my door is open.

I am hoping that when I finally find the perfect armoire I can put a lot of my folded items in it and then use the metal racks in the closet for my shoes.

I can’t wait to find that armoire so I can worry about more important things like what color I’m going to paint my kitchen.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?


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.