Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 28, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 28, 2004 – It’s almost November and time for the twice yearly closet change. I have a sizeable home but even so, the storage space is at a premium. My third floor has no closets at all and of the three bedrooms, only two have closets. I use the closet in the den as my current season space and the other one for off-season clothes.
You may be thinking – “I have to make do with one closet – period – why is she moaning”. You would have a very good point indeed. But I bet you have a closet in your bedroom, whereas I have to travel through my house “starkers” to get to my clothes. There she is again – the Queen of Rationalization.
After my afternoon client showings, I had my once a year visit to the Reitman’s store on the Danforth. I usually buy some turtleneck sweaters there for the fall and winter. They have inexpensive, cotton and blended sweaters that wash well and come in lots of colours. I got home about four o’clock and returned my E-mails and checked the Hot Sheets. Once I finished my work-related tasks, I had nothing pressing to do, so I decided to change my closets around for the winter. Once I had everything out in the open I decided to do a “purge” and set aside clothes and shoes I hadn’t worn for over a year. That has to be the acid test – it’s time to give something away to someone who can use it rather than have it hang in my closet for another year.
By the time I finished I had two green garbage bags full of tops, sweaters, shoes, scarves and blazers. The clothes are all in good condition and will be a blessing to someone who is in need. I really like passing things on to others. It does two things – it takes things that I no longer use out of my home and gives them to those less fortunate. I like to think of someone opening up the bag and finding a beautiful sweater, jacket or pair of warm boots.
When I was a kid, my parents didn’t have a lot of money and my brothers and I all wore hand-me-down clothing from friends and neighbours. My mother used to make things for us and supplement that with visits to a little white brick building near the farmer’s market in Owen Sound. It was called “The Opportunity Shop” and it sold second hand clothing at very reasonable prices.
Mom used to make a trip there seem like an adventure by asking us to imagine where the clothes had come from and what the people were like who used to own them. That little shop was a God send to those families who patronized it, and the staff was a group of older, retired ladies who were pleasant and very helpful. I had many a warm winter coat from there, along with mitts, hats and scarves. I haven’t thought of that shop for years. I wonder if it’s still there, helping those in need?
One of the nicest things you can do it to give away (not sell) possessions that you no longer use. If you have an hour to kill this week-end why not go through your front hall closet and your bedroom closets and put the things you no longer wear in a pile. When you’re finished, deliver them to a women’s or men’s shelter, the Good Will or Salvation Army. Cold nights are here now and there are many people in need. You will never regret extending a helping hand to someone whose life isn’t as blessed as yours.