May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

One morning last week, my wife and I woke up to find that our closet bar had collapsed. Frankly, I’m surprised it held on as long as it did.

Not too long, though. Yes, our house was built in 1937, but until we moved in, the bedroom had no closet. Because why on earth would a master bedroom need a closet? So we’d hired a contractor whose main strategy for saving money was to do everything wrong.

This closet has two bars. I take the left side and my wife takes the right. That way, we can each open the sliding door and see all our options. But not at the same time. Especially since the door he installed is bigger than half the closet.

But one of the first things that I learned sharing a closet, is that my wife owns way more clothes than I do. For example, on any given day, my wife can choose from a shirt, a shell, a sweater, a sweatshirt or a top. Whereas I wear a shirt. Every day.

In fact, my wife has so many clothes and she changes so often that she doesn’t always have time to hang things up right away. She generally does it as one big pile on Fridays. So I have no idea how many clothes she has.

So my big fear was that if we shared the closet, eventually my wife would take over the whole thing. So I keep placeholders. When I stop wearing a shirt, instead of getting rid of it and having her take over the space, I keep it in there. This way, if I ever get a new shirt and there’s really no room for it, I can remove one of my older shirts and use the space. Though I don’t know how much room for expansion I’m think I’m going to need. Am I suddenly coming into 500 shirts?

But I’ve been operating under this logic for as long as we’ve been in the house, which is about 10 years now, plus there’s whatever logic she’s operating under, and eventually the bottom closet bar couldn’t take it anymore, and the plastic piece holding it into the wall gave way. So while my wife went out to buy a new closet piece, I decided to sort through my clothes to make things lighter. The understanding was that my wife would do the same.

I started by making piles:

Pile 1 was items that I wear. This consists of enough shirts to take me through the Nine Days, almost enough white shirts to take me through your longer Yomim Tovim provided I don’t suddenly eat stuffed cabbage on Day 9, and apparently I own more than one functional pair of pants. Who knew?

Pile 2 was clothes that technically fit me, but I don’t wear them often, such as polo shirts and a baseball shirt that I got one summer when I was thinking of coaching Yiddle League. For example, I have some ruined pants and shirts in case I need to do some painting or repair work. The way these clothes were chosen for this was that I actually wore them for one of those jobs, and I got them dirty. Or because they ended up in the laundry with a pen. Though I don’t know how that happened. I keep my pens in my pants pocket, and I never wash my pants.

Pile 3 is clothes that no longer fit me, but that I would hypothetically wear again if they did.

Some of these helpfully have size labels, while some have European labels with weird numbers such as “51.” 51 what?

I’m keeping Piles 1 and 2, and I’m also going to keep Pile 3, because apparently the only thing holding me back from losing weight is the expense of buying a new wardrobe.

Pile 4 is clothes that may or may not fit me, but that I would never wear either way. I don’t even know where some of these clothes came from. Did they come with the house? That’s not possible. There were no closets when we got here.

At the behest of my wife, we donated Pile 4 to an organization that provides clothes for people to wear on job interviews. Thanks to me, someone out there will not get a job and wonder why.

Pile 5 was clothes that no one would ever wear, such as any shirts with holes in the elbows. I’m not even sure how a shirt goes about getting holes in the elbows. It’s not like I spend all day elbowing people.

Meanwhile, my wife didn’t toss anything, because if she’s to be believed, everything she has would go into Pile 1, 2 or 3.

My point is that once I saw how many clothes were actually mine, I think I had more clothes than my wife did, at least on this level of the closet. I don’t even want to mention that it was technically my side of the closet that collapsed. I guess my point is that I thought my wife would take over the closet, and in an effort to prevent this, I accidentally took it over. It turns out that in a marriage, we might start off doing something for a good reason but, over time, the reason gets lost, and we keep doing it anyway. It took our closet collapsing for me to see what was really in my closet. Maybe it’s time to look at things from my wife’s side.

My wife’s side collapsed that Friday.

By Mordechai Schmutter

 Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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