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Daddy Talk: Cleaning out the Closet

Just in time for summer, my wife and I embarked into the “great clothes substitution.” This is where you go up to the attic, grab all the “summer clothes,” and move the winter clothes that have been in the kids’ drawers up to the attic. We knew that this spring was going to present a particularly difficult task because last year, the boys got new chests of drawers, which could hold a lot more clothes than the old ones. Who knew what we would find in the depths of that furniture. A lost sock? That jacket we had looked everywhere for? Small animals?

After Ashley and I mustered enough energy to go up into the attic and haul down all those vacuum sealed bags of summer clothes, we gradually realized a forgotten truth from last year. The new chests of drawers were so big that we had been able to fit the kids’ entire wardrobes in them! There were no summer clothes in the attic.

But why waste a good day set aside for taking all the clothes out of the drawers? We decided instead to go through all of the clothes to see which ones still fit and which ones should be gotten rid of. Five minutes into that enterprise, we remembered that this too was not really a job for the faint of heart. Aside from the point already made—that the new chests of drawers could hold four seasons worth of clothes—we soon learned that watching each other pull clothes out of drawers seems a bit like how the disciples must have felt watching Jesus feed the multitudes from five loaves and two fish. The items just seem to multiply.

Given the obvious, somewhat embarrassing point about the ridiculous amount of clothes we have, we also were reminded that our three kids deal with the problem of “too much stuff” in different ways. Our oldest child is pained to get rid of anything. He’ll often wear old stained and threadbare clothes because they’re comfortable. He has even resorted to taking needle and thread to repair holes in his favorite pants—this was as a fourth grader. And he threatens to do the pain any time his current clothes need mended.

Our middle child hates the trying-on-clothes process so deeply that he will declare half of his clothes “too small” without even unfolding them to take a closer look. The more quickly he can label his clothes “keep” or “get rid of,” the sooner he can go about some more productive activity. Like playing video games.

Our youngest child, and only girl, is rather thoughtful and decisive about what she wants to keep in her chest of drawers. However, she’s been cursed with the “only-girl-hand-me-downs” syndrome. We’ve been blessed with several friends who have girls, and all of their hand-me-downs seem to have been focused on Lydia. It’s a rather nice problem to have because she has gotten the pick of the litter in the secondhand clothing department. But the sheer amount of clothes that is in her chest of drawers and closet would be intimidating for anyone even twice her age. By the time we get her to try on the clothes in the top two drawers she has passed out on the floor among her baby dolls.

At the end of this day of torture for our children and for ourselves, the only thing to do is return to my own bedroom where I observe my own closet full and chest of drawers full of clothes. I sigh and start trying on clothes myself.

About The Author

Tim Krason

Tim Krason grew up in Tupelo, MS, and settled in the Jackson area after studying at Mississippi College. He has been married to Ashley for 10 years, and they live in Clinton with their three children. Tim teaches English at Hinds Community College in Raymond and has been writing the Daddy Talk column for several years.

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