out of the closet, out of his mind

closet org

Phil is already complaining. He’s comparing—dare I say it—WAL-MART’S. “The Wal-Mart here is just not what it is in Austin. Not even close.” Well, it’s not like we’re buying in bulk anyway. ‘Cause this here storage situation ain’t what he thought it was.

I agreed to move into this home, sight unseen. Phil checked it out, sent me video, and assured me that there was “an absurd amount of storage space. More than we have now. And, there’s a great closet for you in the bedroom.” Done. Besides, hello, I lived in Manhattan for most of my adult life.

So, I started packing, and packing, and packing some more. “Are you sure,” I asked as I built another wardrobe box, “that there’s a lot of storage space? Because all these little things add up.”

“Positive. No question.” His statement was, after all, 100% correct—when you strike out the “positive” and “question.”

When Phil surveys our inventory he gets that not-so-fresh look. “What? What?”

“I might have been wrong.” Words worth framing.

“It’s okay. We’ll be fine. Besides my handbags can pass as art in the living room.”

closet organize3


Phil’s co-worker strolls into Fourbucks, stops to chat it up with me, then spills that Phil’s complaining about closet space. “Listen,” he says, “I told him that even I will admit to having some of my things in our guest room.”
“Exactly! I’m the girl. He does not get to be the girl.”

Our first-world closet situation:
There is one double-decker closet in our bedroom, fit with pull down hampers, belt racks and valet rods, a granite countertop and glass doors for off-season sweater storage, lined jewelry drawers with locks. It’s dreamy, even if it is small. There’s also nowhere in this closet to store any longer items, like dresses. But, steps away are two more closets, where behind sliding mirror doors, are rows of shelving up to the ceiling and hanging space for dresses.

down under
“Down Under” man bar hiding beneath my hemlines

I’m not much into folding things other than workout garb, so he can have all the dressers and all the shelves (except for one… for the workout clothes). As it is, I brought very few pairs of shoes with me, thinking there wouldn’t be room (also, another reason to shop).

There is also a guest bedroom with another full walk-in closet, not as large, but also designed with jewelry drawers, a pull down hamper, shelving, tie racks, you name it. But it’s not in the master bedroom. Phil suggests that I put some of my things in this guest closet along with his things, asking if he can put some of his belongings in the master bedroom closet. Basically, he’s now backtracking and the closet he once was insistent that I take for myself, he now wants a part of.

“Because when I shower in the morning, I want a place to put my stuff.” Yes, it’s called the floor, my friend.

My big-girl-voice response is parboiled down to two words: “Vegetable Drawer.”

“I don’t know how to respond to that.”

earring erring

I can’t put fruits or asparagus in the vegetable drawer, why? Because that shit will get slimy or rot on me if it’s not within plain view. I’ll completely forget it’s there, rendering it useless. Same goes for my clothes. I need to see them. I need to see everything. Art supplies, neatly on a shelf within a cabinet: yes. Piled one on top of the other in a box? No. Even my pantry needs to be tiered, so I can see each and every item, with the cans in the back up on a riser. The deep freezer is my idea of disorganized hell without a detailed CURRENT LIST, split into left and right columns (representing the respective sides of the freezer) naming each and every item within.

This is one of those things you can’t change about a person. I can’t change the actual mechanics of what type of learner I am. I’m the type who had to re-write class notes several times to learn the material. I am a visual learner and during tests I could actually visualize the area on the page where the information was written. If I can’t see it, I forget it. Sorry, but it’s true.

Yes, that’s exactly why long-distance relationships never quite worked for me. Out of sight, out of mind. Absence will never make my heart grow fonder.



  1. Rolling clothing rack from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for the “occasion” clothes, perhaps? I have no idea how your house is configured, but I bought one for our laundry room, and I’ve decided it’s one of the greatest inventions ever.

    Also you would weep at my closet. Architects and builders in the 1940s were not very generous, closetwise.

    1. I think the rolling clothing rack for Bed, Bath, and Beyond works better. All you have to do is to raise your bed so that the clothing rack would fit underneath your bed. It is a great invention ever and no one can ever see what is underneath your bed.

  2. When I moved in with my husband, we had a fight about closet space. We live in SF, which has tiny closet space. He wanted the walk-in closet closest to the bathroom and I conceded since he has the job that pays money and he lets me play housewife and get away with very little part-time freelance PR work – I’ll take it! It’s all compromise all the time in marriage!

  3. I agree that if I put some of my shirts and not others in another closet, I would forget they exist. But maybe you can put a category of clothes in the other room to make space for his stuff (because I don’t think he’s made an unreasonable request) – like all skirts and jackets go in the other closet, because you’re less likely to forget that a particular category doesn’t exist.

  4. Hahaha. On the other hand, with long distance, I’m sure you never had a fight about closet space.

    It does sound like Phil has a reasonable request. I kind of just hear you saying, “This is the way I am (or it is), deal with it.” However, Phil may have a similar need. Compromise is good – a message I try to telepathically convey to Washington every day.

    It is your relationship in the end, though. I am sure you will find what works best for you both.

  5. Your closet looks great! I love the fact that you got all the same type of hanger. I did the same thing in my closets. It’s just so much more visually appealing!

    For what it’s worth, I agree with the other commenters in that it shouldn’t be a difficult matter to come to a compromise with Phil regarding sharing the closet — he does deserve some space. You’re both extremely creative people — I know you’ll figure it out! This is a small issue in the big scheme of things.

    Good luck!

  6. My husband (of 6 weeks) and I are beginning this discussion. I want the bedroom closet because I moved into his house… he should be willing to give me that! He can have the closet in the guest bedroom. Therefore… you agreed to the house sight unseen.. I believe that you should have the masterbedroom closet!

  7. My entire closet is in the guest room – and I’m the girl. My husband had to do it at the last house, so it was my turn this time. We live in old houses – last one was 1922, this one’s 1909 – so it’s not like eithe room has a lot of storage. Anyway, I ended up liking my closet in the guest room because now I actually have an entire dressing room. Or at least that’s how I look at it. Until we have guests.

  8. Maybe Phil will get to have his picture on Peopleofwalmart.com! Tell him to watch out for camera flashes, and *always* remember to wear pants… Seriously, some crazy modern-day anthropology on that site.

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