by admin on June 2, 2011

vintage dvf dress

tidy cabinets

among the many things esme learned on her trip to chicago was DESDEMONA’S RULE:  if in doubt, throw it out!  i know you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s the first time esme has really taken it in.  mr. noir’s family all seem to be extremely tidy/obessive about order and cleanliness (or, as cousin d. put it “i’m very anal”). esme has known this to be true of her husband, but she didn’t realize that it was a family trait until we stayed with cousin desdemona in chicago.

cousin d’s house was extremely clean and neat.  when esme sat down to breakfast, she would barely finish with a plate before she found it whisked away, rinsed and put in the dishwasher.  mr. noir made a point to show esme his cousin’s kitchen cabinets, where all was in order.  esme could have taken offense (this was an unveiled criticism of esme’s own housekeeping style), but chose not to.  in fact, it reminded her of her childhood, where her paternal grandmother would drive her mother crazy by re-arranging her kitchen cabinets during a visit!

but the lesson esme learned was this:  the first part of being neat involves getting rid of excess stuff!  this was demonstrated by cousin d. when she promptly threw away a jar of jam into which someone had stuck a peanut-butter-covered knife!  esme would never have done such a thing—she has great difficulty throwing things away—but the result is piles of half-used stuff stuffed into all her drawers and cabinets.  as you can imagine, the same thing goes for clothes.

so, when the noirs returned home, they when on a tidying spree.  esme decided to start with the bathroom cabinets, which were bulging with medicines that had expired at the end of the 20th century, half-used bottles of hotel shampoos, little plastic soap dishes from a trip to france 20 years ago, and such-like.  out it all went!

next came the kitchen cabinets.  crackers from 1999, perfectly good pancake mix from 2001, and so on.  esme can’t help having a little qualm of anxiety, wondering what we’ll do when the next big one hits and we’d be happy to have a few stale whole-grain crackers!

but the real challenge will be esme’s clothes.  she has purged her closet numerous times over the years, but one of the results has been periods of regret at having given away certain things that she finds she longs for.  for instance, with diane von furstenberg wrap dresses back in style, esme can’t help wondering whatever happened to a fabulous white and torquoise dvf wrap dress that she bought in 1976!

and then she remembered:  even cousin d. seems to hang onto her clothes for quite some time.  so maybe esme will create a new rule:  if you haven’t longed for a particular item of clothing for 20 years, it’s time to give it away!

having trouble letting go,



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