05 January 2011

my closet of happiness

There's just something satisfying and thrilling about filing, isn't there?

I'm not being glib.

When I file, my soul trills, the kind of trilling normally reserved for the first time someone you like accidentally {on purpose?} bumps into you.

I spent part of New Year's Day After surrounded by hanging folders, manila folders, tabs, and a recycling pile. I was going through my spare closet, located in my spare room/craft room/office.

I would like to point out that the closet wasn't disorganized before, but in my little world, there's always room for more organization. And color-coding. And ways to keep track of my life.

There are always more ways to bring my life in line, and that brings me calm, like how you feel when you wake up to a new snowfall and the streets haven't been plowed yet. To me, it always looks like the unbroken white is ready for a story to be told on it.

I didn't decide to re-organize the spare closet simply because it was New Year's Day After, although that did have a hand in it.

As I wrote on New Year's Day, I like to do things that day that I want to enjoy for the rest of the year. This year, I extended that to the whole weekend—the beauty, I guess, of having New Year's on a weekend.

Organization was slotted in for Sunday, New Year's Day After, and as I sat in the midst of paperwork—I thought of it as a moat, which I guess would make me a castle—I decided to create a closet of happiness.

I think that calls for caps: A Closet of Happiness.

Instead of thinking of it as the mismatched, hodge-podge, slash closet {paperwork/fabric/storage/miscellany}, I decided to put in there things that make me happy.

Not so I can sit and stare at it when I'm in a fouled-up mood—willing myself happy by some sort of shrine I've built to that glib-est of words to describe an emotion we all aim for.

I've always, by the way, harbored unhappiness about the word happy. We English speakers over-work it, making it serve as a good wish {Happy birthday!}, as well as a way to convey joy and contentment {a much deeper sentiment than the happy birthday wish you write on someone's Facebook wall}.

Doesn't the word contentment feel better and fuller than the chipper little happy?

I have just decided to rename my Closet of Happiness the Closet of Contentment.

In it are things that bring me calm.

Sewing projects.

Boxes of old letters and cards. I save them all and think ahead to the day when I'm 92 and I read through them all.

Cleaning supplies.

My files. Of course.

The Normandy flag—where I used to live in France. It has two leopards on it, looking very regal and very much like they should be protecting William the Conqueror, that man from Normandy who took over England in 1066.

That Norman invasion is how we got so many French words in English, something I learned in my college language classes. The textbooks from those classes are in the Closet of Contentment, too.

I'm going to show you a picture of my Closet. I believe it belongs on the front of Real Simple. Or that Jesus is smiling down on my Closet—look at that ray of bright shining approval emanating from my Closet.

If you have any questions about what you see, lined up so adroitly in my Closet, let me know. I have a contented reason for everything in here.


  1. Ah! I like the closet. I am proud of you. :) I also organized card boxes, kitchen cupboard blogs, and my own closet on or around New Year's Day. Write on.

  2. Thank you, Sommer! I like your kitchen cupboard blog idea. Doesn't it seem that so many creative ideas come while you're in the kitchen? And I like that creative solution to your sister not being online :)



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