Monday, September 24, 2007

Into the Closet

My family has heard a good deal about the peculiar closets in my apartment, so as a diversion from revising postdoc proposal #1 (to be mailed within the week), I introduce The Bedroom Closet.
I suppose some people will glance at this photo and wonder what is so peculiar about it. After all, it's clearly a closet. It even has a door.
All the same, I confess that personally I had always envisioned bedroom closets as places to keep clothing. I've seen everything from slightly larger than this one to actual walk-in closets. I do believe, however, that this is the first bedroom closet I have ever seen that offers no means of hanging up the clothes. And don't most people - male, female, young, old, employed or unemployed, lawyers or ditchdiggers - have at least some clothes that are best kept on a hanger?

What's more, isn't there some limit to how high folded clothing can effectively be piled? These shelves, which are only about a foot deep, must be at least two feet apart. I don't really find it practical to store folded pants in two-foot-high piles. It is true that non-folded sheets can be stuffed into this sort of space without actually falling out of the closet, but they are not very appealing in this form. Besides, I don't really see the point in storing sheets in the bedroom despite the fact that this keeps them close to the bed. A person doesn't change sheets every day, whereas most of us do get dressed on a pretty much daily basis.
And that's not getting to the issue of why anyone would install wire shelving in a bedroom closet. Wire shelving is only suited to boxes. How many boxes does the average person keep in a bedroom closet? I realize that there is a recent decorating fashion for putting everything in open bins and boxes that are then stuck on shelves, but let's face it, while it can be kind of cute, it is not usually very practical, and it is expensive to buy all those bins.

I did already have a couple of plastic boxes of a shoebox-like shape, so I stuck them in place. You would have to have a heck of a lot of them in order to make good use of the space, however, so I tried buying various storage containers to stick on the shelves. Some of the containers proved to be too deep for the bedroom closet and had to be put in the hall closet, which is where one is expected (in this apartment) to hang a great many shirts and knee-length skirts. Other containers were fine for putting things out of sight but not exactly optimal for getting at the things when needed. I suppose that is ok for the flannel sheets that will not be put on the bed for another month or two, but of course (since I have a bed with drawers) I do have other reasonable places to put that sort of thing. I have been a little hesitant to put anything in the bed drawers due to a problem there with CARPET BEETLES just before I went to Prague, but it must be admitted that carpet beetles do not normally eat cotton. They prefer wool, silk, and paintbrush bristles, or, in a pinch, the leather binding on my great-grandmother's Bible.

It is true that towels stack relatively well on this sort of shelving, but again why would I want to keep towels in my bedroom? I would like to keep them in the hall closet, or ideally in the bathroom, but the hall closet is not designed for towels and the bathroom can only accommodate towels-in-use. The bathroom, in fact, will not accommodate the bathroom shelving unit that served me so well in the past, because there is a towel bar placed at a peculiar angle (not what might be called level to floor or ceiling) exactly where one worries that one might knock the towel into the toilet.
Besides, returning to the closet, the alert reader will observe that there are way too many towels stuffed into the space available. I admit I have a good collection of towels, but I have not yet gotten them properly arranged in the space. Bath towels are buried by hand towels and wash cloths, and all of these are burying the iron, whose cord is, naturally, falling through the wire on the shelf.
An added feature of this remarkable closet, not visible in these photos due to the use of flash, is its lack of any light. The ceiling light in the bedroom manages to get a few lumens into this corner of the room provided one closes the bedroom door before opening the closet. This is more than I can say for the light situation in the living room closet, where the only way to find the shoes I want to wear is to drag out shoe after shoe until I find a suitable pair. I always have the sensation that I have turned into a mole whenever I open the living room closet door. One pretty much navigates it by feel since there is no light inside it or in the living room itself. Well - I did plug in one of my two lamps in the living room. It gives a dim light suitable to a World War II blackout.
On the plus side, I have been sitting in my bedroom all evening accompanied by two fine spotted characters who have only spent a small amount of the time chewing boxes and prancing around on my bed looking for nice books to investigate. For the most part they are just lounging amorously together and enjoying being near their favorite human.

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Blogger Kristen said...

Ugh--that closet is even worse than I imagined from your description! How utterly useless!

And all I can say is that if those spotted critters lived in my domain, they would find themselves permanently confined to an area without anything valuable (to me) to chew on. Eeegads!

September 25, 2007 7:01 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

The Spotted Ones have been denied the bedroom of late, in part due to some rambunctious behavior on the bed at 4 am. They have been very sedate ever since.

September 27, 2007 4:00 AM  

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