There are many closet cliches because closets hold so much of our lives. It’s not about the shirts, hats, pants, dresses and coats, it’s about our life. I think we stuff our closets like we stuff our pantry, to feel full and safe. Storing old boxes of books, toys, photos are a way to preserve the past, but it also keeps us from having to let it go and move on.
Even when we actually move from one place to the next, it’s feels better to move the unopened boxes and old clothes. Because then, we can bring our past with us into our future. The known moves with us into the unknown.
Digging into the past.
I spent the last week digging through my children’s childhood. They are grown up and parents now. Yet inside their childhood bedroom closets were boxes and boxes of dolls, trains, books and games. I’ve asked them many times to come and take a look, to take or toss what they wanted. Somehow, they never seemed to have the time.
With 2 grandchildren, I decided it was time to dig through it all and pass on my children’s childhood memories to them. And keep some here for the next generation to enjoy.
What a find.
I found Barbie and baby dolls. Marble works and legos. A stuffed Pooh bear and a wooden carousel that still play lullaby music. A baby book, boxes of photographs. Band uniforms and ball gowns. Legos by the millions and a beloved Brio train set.
I also found my own Barbie doll and her case with clothes that dated back to my childhood. A Chatty Cathy doll who no longer talks and had one eye missing. And yes, that ever popular Cabbage Patch doll.
I don’t want my house to become a museum to the past. I don’t want to burden my children with things they don’t want. So some of the things got tossed and some were donated.
But some of the closet artifacts moved back in with my now grown up children. They sent me pictures of them reading cherished books to their children. Sharing memories with their significant others as well as with each other.
I smiled through happy tears. Seeing my grandchildren joyfully playing with their parent’s toys. Hearing my children cherish the wonders of their own personal museum finds in their long forgotten books, toys, party photos, notes and music.
And while we avoid cleaning our closets because we don’t want to dig up our past, maybe the lesson of closet archeology is revealing the joy buried under the dust.