Metro-East Living

Organized closet? It’s on her to-do list

Michelle Meehan Schraders holds a few things that she found in her closet.
Michelle Meehan Schraders holds a few things that she found in her closet. Provided

It’s happening again. The Closet from Hell has come back to life and only Frankenstein’s monster would be brave enough to step inside it. I say this in jest because even Frank has his limits. I know my husband does.

I married a man whose closet is neat. His neckties are arranged on a special hanger and his button-down shirts swing merrily side by side. A wrinkle‐free lawyer, Mark’s mantra is simple: Order in the court and order in the closet.

“You used to be able to see the floor in here,” he says, cracking open the door to my walk‐in.

He’s right. You did. The carpet was beige. Beige is boring, so I livened things up.

There’s the pair of hot pink tights I once wore to the gym and the Scrabble board game I pull out for special occasions. A couple fuzzy green trouser socks add texture to the lineup. And then there are the piles. You gotta have piles.

Piles are most quickly accumulated through the pending arrival of guests. Company in 10 minutes? Take that clutter to the closet. Mine actually has a lock on it. But sometimes I forget to hide the key.

“I know someone who works for the Health Department,” my husband tells me. “Maybe I should give her a call.”

“Why? There aren’t any sandwiches in there. I keep those under the bed.”

He laughs. Not a belly laugh but, hey, I’ll take a chuckle. One of my favorite things about our marriage is we balance each other out. Mark is grounded, so he holds the string to my balloon. I could float away in the disorganization department if it weren’t for my desire to please him.

To this end, I write “Michelle’s To-Do Lists” and leave them in places he’s sure to find them

“Wow, it says here you’re going to clean out your car today,” he says, pulling a Post-It note off the kitchen counter.

“Yup, and read numbers two and three on the list. The ones where I reorganize the pantry and scrub the garage floor on my hands and knees.”

We both know the likelihood of my doing all three things is pretty much slim to none. It’s a game we play spice up our marriage: Which item on Michelle’s To-Do List will she actually accomplish? I am a woman of mystery if nothing else.

Which brings us back to my closet, the one that would give Frankenstein’s Monster pause.

“You know if you tidied things up in there, you’d live longer,” Mark tells me. “I just read an article that said organization reduces stress and that can add years to your life.”

“All of my people die young,” I lament. “But don’t worry. You’re so organized you’ll probably live forever.”

God forbid he should go before I do. Who would hold the string to my balloon?