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Fri, May 24

Column: Spring cleaning lets us know who we really are

Spring has arrived! It's not the weather, the calendar, the cooing doves, appearance of hummingbirds or flowers in bloom that tell me the season - it's the beating of rugs, washing of windows, cleaning of pot shelves and organizing of closets. Yes, Dear Readers, 'tis the season of Spring Cleaning, which is not to be confused with Spring Break. In other words, all manner of hard work and organizing have turned my little abode upside-down.

My mother taught me that if you don't do a proper Spring Cleaning, it's a sin. This crime of neglect is punishable with the constant worry of bedding that is teaming with dust-mites, dust-balls the size of cannons collecting in all obscure places, and any number of bad, dirty things that can take over your happy home. Take those comforters to the cleaners! Wash those windows and curtains! Overcome the disorganized mess called your closet and start letting go of the clothes that you no longer wear. Are we having fun yet?

My husband, Doug, was traveling on business, so it was a perfect time for me to clean the closet. A small ladder, a feather duster and bags labeled "Goodwill" are all that I needed for a perfect evening. (Doug, if you are reading this - stop right now)! Three hours later, the place he likes to hang (toss) his clothes was reduced to only garments worthy of being there. My side of the closet was no easier, but I was ruthless when it came to the shoes.

Psychologists claim that the real truth about a person's character could be found by looking through someone's closet. Forget DNA or fingerprints, the true you is inside your closet door! Evidently, over 70 percent of Americans keep clothes that don't fit (representing who we used to be), plus clothes that we never wear but would like to (reflecting who we want to become). My 91-year-old mother keeps three evening gowns in her closet, as a reminder of the times she went ballroom dancing with Dad. My girlfriend keeps a brand new jogging suit hung in plastic, just in case she ever starts exercising.

I have a pair of suede stiletto heels that I bought years ago. They would kill me if I tried to stand in them for more than five minutes and I doubt I could walk 10 feet without tripping. What possessed me to buy these devilish shoes? I also have a few pairs of strappy, little sandals. Where the heck would I wear them? Black lace shoes? Ridiculous! Hmm, I found out the other night a few things about myself by looking at my shoes... and it wasn't exactly what I expected.

Boots, solid sandals and flats stay. I know I'm supposed to keep a pair of plain black shoes to wear with a black suit in case I have to go to a funeral. Well, I defiantly tossed the depressing suit and shoes, so now I'm breaking all the rules. I found out that giving things away feels a whole lot better than keeping stuff around. However, I am left to ponder my purchasing decisions when I look at some of the clothes I am donating. Oh, did I mention that I had a belt that looked like a gun holster? Yikes, I could have scared the grandkids!

My husband hasn't yet noticed that his favorite (worn thin) denim shirt is missing. He had a few ties with bright geometric designs that had to go, and I've completely organized his clothes to the point where I am afraid he'll never find anything. Oh, but there are other mountains to climb, such as a desk and file cabinets to sort through and a garage that is beckoning. Spring has arrived, Dear Readers, so get out the vacuum, boxes, garbage bags and cleaning supplies. While you are at it, take the true personality test and see what's in your closet. Hmmm... let me know what you find. Oh, and if anyone wants a white cowboy hat with peacock feathers, give me a quick call. It's fabulous! Happy organizing!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in Skull Valley. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at


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