I used to think it wasn’t possible to be too thin, too rich, or have too much closet space. I’ve changed my mind about all three. Especially the closet space.
A few months ago I made a list of some of the clutter I found on my desk. The next day I got an email from my friend Priscilla. “How about doing your closet next?” she suggested.
It was a great idea. And she didn’t stop there. A week later she sent another email. “I still remember your Beverly Hills closet. Write about that!” A few weeks would go by and there would be another reminder. “When are you doing that closet?”
If it sounds like Priscilla is obsessed by my closet, there’s a perfectly good reason. She lives in Manhattan. I’ve never understood how New Yorkers can survive with so little closet space.
When I was younger I would have been fine with a Manhattan closet. In fact, when I moved into my first apartment after college, I LIVED in a closet. Literally. This was in Boston and I had 3 roommates and to save on rent, I chose to live in a walk-in closet. Not a very big one, either.
To get into my “room” I had to walk through my roommate’s room. I had just enough space for a full-size bed– that I could only get into by crawling in from the foot of the bed. That was also where the room ended–plus it had no door. I had no dresser, no table, no other furniture–nothing would fit. I have no idea what I did with my clothes.
I wasn’t interested in clothes, anyway, until years later. During my TV career, everyone else seemed very interested in my clothes, so I got more interested in them, too. And I started to buy a lot more.
But even my television wardrobe could not fill up the Beverly Hills closet–the one Priscilla remembers from over 20 years ago.
It wasn’t really IN Beverly Hills. Just near it. The closet was in the house I bought with my first husband soon after we had our first child and moved out of his bachelor house. The closet in our master bedroom was so big, it apparently traumatized Priscilla for life. And it spoiled me for life, too.
It definitely was bigger than many New York apartments. It was bigger than both of my kids’ bedrooms. Our entire family could have lived in that closet.
My wardrobe and my ex-husband’s wardrobe were swallowed up by the huge expanse; the closet seemed as infinite as a black hole in space. By adding a little at a time and subtracting nothing, and exploiting my natural tendency to be a packrat, in the course of 9 years I achieved the impossible—I filled up the entire closet.
The Beverly Hills closet was 15 years and 3 houses ago–and like Priscilla, I still fantasize about it. But that monster-size closet created a monster—me—by allowing me to binge and not purge. And prove that too much closet space is NOT always a good thing.