Cleaning Out the Closet

17 Utility Closet Organizing Ideas — Broom Closet Organizer

I’m digging out stuff in the closet. It’s worse than I thought. How did I accumulate all this junk? Who in the world thought THIS was worth saving? Someone else around here must be loading stuff into this little closet – not me! Maybe if I get it all cleaned out and thrown away I’ll move off that naughty list just in time for Christmas?


My three theories about closets:

Closets are where we accidently accumulate junk

I’ve got a very junked up closet in my study. I’ve made a promise that I’m going to get in there and clean out all the terrible trash that has filled it up for years and years. The closets in my house are mostly all small and unlit – making them like haunted tombs.

Over the years, I have searched through the closets of others and been astounded at what found its way into the darkness. Why save THIS? Most ended up here because a decision couldn’t be made. In a hurry, we stash away what we imagine we might need in the future. I glanced at a small box full of electronic cords in my dark closet last week. Who knows what those match with anymore?

Be careful, so many items that stay in your closet too long can lose their value. If you aren’t careful with the people in your life – keeping up and staying in touch, they too will become obsolete to you. Who knows what value you each might have lost to others in the dark.

In our closets we find things we had forgotten about

A lot people are digging around in their closets this time of year. Are you trading out your warm weather clothes for sweaters and coats? That typically doesn’t happen much here in Houston – although a big freeze is predicted for Christmas. Just in time to kill all my plants. As the seasons change it’s time to trade out short sleeves for sweaters. I was at a play last week and there were older men wearing shorts – in December. The weather down here is always strange.

Christmas means pulling out the decorations from wherever they’ve been stored and opening boxes and bags. Closets can be places to hide away gifts. I found storage boxes of gift wrap supplies in three different closets lately, one box was even under my bed. I’ve got to be careful to remember all the places I’ve hidden away presents from prying eyes who came to visit during Thanksgiving.

“I forget what matters because I pay attention to what doesn’t.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

When something is misplaced or just gone for good, we always start digging in a closet. It must be in here somewhere.  Each time I search I find something new I had not been looking for. I file it away, hoping later to remember, that’s where the box of dominoes now resides. As organized as we strive to be, closets will always be repositories, used infrequently and by more than one person. There’s always something in there to discover.

Our lives are like that as well. There really is something of value hidden away in the dark – it just might take time and effort to dig around and lay hold of it. That something, whether it’s a memory, skill or slice of wisdom needs to be shared. 

14,670 Finding Treasure Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Closets are places for keeping treasures safe and secure

This is the place where you stash away what you don’t need to access each day. Back in the ancient days I had a file cabinet with family records stored away in a closet. Everything is digital now. When I was growing up I had a relative with a coin collection stored in his closet. He would take it down to show us when we visited. There’s a big plastic container that I can see in one of my closets packed full of photo albums from across the decades. These are invaluable memories. I pulled one down during Thanksgiving so my daughter could show her son what she was doing when she was his age. It meant more to us than to him I’m sure.

During this season, do you know what your REAL treasures are? What have you hidden away in your memories? There’s that famous question, what’s the first thing you will grab when the fire alarm goes off? We keep things safe so that they can be share with others. During this time of year with family, share some important stories associated with what you are keeping treasured in your life.


In my bedroom I expanded to two closets after my wife passed away. Now, I feel as if I’ve moved into a luxury hotel. For years I only had room for the necessities in my one closet. All that has changed. I even have space to store items I may never use. There are pillows on the floor, suits that are too big, a box filled with concert t-shirts, and even old jewelry that no one wants.

Sitting up on the shelf, where I see it every day as I open that closet door, are my wife’s remains. She was cremated and we never did anything with what was left. The pandemic hit, my family moved away and then I just woke up and a few more years had past. So, my wife is still here with me, sort of.  This wasn’t the plan. I’m not sure we made any concrete plan. At the time all we were really concentrating on was surviving cancer for one more day. Living in the afterwards left us sort of bewildered.

Opening the Door: Creating Inclusive Pathways for Next Generation Leaders in Family Businesses

What’s behind those doors of your life? Are there items that need to be reorganized, pulled forward and put to use? What about something that needs to be set out on the curb for trash pick up? Unhealthy habits, old baggage, grievances, selfish attitudes – anything like that need to go? You’ve got treasures stored away that should be shared with someone before it’s too late.

Make today count and do something with what’s in your closet.


8 thoughts on “Cleaning Out the Closet

      1. I understand. Please keep my offer in mind. I can send you a photo of the quilt I had made out of some of Craig’s tshirts. I’m having several quilts made of my tshirts in January.


  1. We have three closets in our home – not nearly enough. I barely have room to store my decades of half-filled journals and hobbies I hope to someday fit into again – much less the ugly eagle my dad gave me two Christmases ago that is both too ugly to display and too precious not to keep. These things keep getting crowded by my fear that we won’t have enough space in our little home once our family has fully assembled – after being admitted by immigration and (maybe, hopefully) brought into the world from the ether. As I am a serial purger, many of my closet-izen are often on the brink of eviction. I’m trying to value more those things I have rather than the idea of the space or the new things that might fill it.

    Merry Christmas, Dr. Wilson! Wishing you much happiness and warmth in the coming days! Thank you for the moment of reflection. 🙂


    1. It’s a wonderful Christmas miracle to hear from dearest Taryn! Those closets of yours can also be metaphors if you’d like… I really need some warmth as I sit here and watch all my plants die!


  2. Randy,
    A dear friend called and asked if she could come in the spring. (No one comes to North Texas in winter if they can help it.) My first thought was I’d have time to clean out the closet in the guest room.


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