I haven’t written for a while about our renovation plans for the Manse, so perhaps it’s time to get back to that topic. One thing that we will have to think about and deal with is the decided lack of closet space in the house. It seems funny that in a house of that size there is so little space to put the clothes of the people who live there – let alone the coats of visitors who might stop by – but as our friend Elaine Kapusta says, at the time houses like that were built (1888), people didn’t have anything like the amount of clothes that we take for granted these days.
Unless one or more of the originals has been lost in a renovation (which I doubt; not a lot of major renovating got done at the Manse over the years), the house was built with three closets, none of them very big. On the ground floor there is one, which we call the Harry Potter closet because it, like the bedroom Harry was parked in when we first met him at the home of his nasty aunt and uncle Dursley, is under the stairs. It’s not very big, as you can see from this shot of the interior. Now that we’ve stored our cleaning supplies and paper towels and whatnot in there, it’s pretty much full already.
Both the master bedroom and the one we call the girls’ room – because it was where my sister, Melanie, and I slept when we were kids – have closets, and if you were feeling generous you might even call them walk-in closets. But once the rack in each is filled with clothes, there won’t exactly be a lot of space for walking around. And they are minus luxuries like a light or a mirror – or a door.
And those are the sum total of the Manse’s original closets.
In the 1970s when “wood” panelling – the latest and greatest thing at the time, more’s the pity – was installed on the walls of the Manse’s kitchen, the bedroom where my brothers, John and Ken, slept also got the panelling treatment. I think this may have been so that a closet could be constructed out of panelling in one corner of the room. And there it is to this day, in all its “wood”-panelled loveliness. Not exactly something we are dying to keep. But hey, it’s a closet!
Meanwhile, in Montreal Raymond and I have considerably more closet space – and our closets are stuffed. This bodes ill for the storage situation at the Manse.
Not long ago I heard or read something to the effect of: In the first half of your life, you accumulate things; the second half is for getting rid of them. That kind of stuck with me. In recent weeks I’ve been trying to get rid of some things, and the efforts will continue. There is absolutely no need for stuffed closets. I know that if I venture too far into them I will find things that I haven’t worn in decades, and it’s time for that stuff to go.
But even with a big cleanup and cleanout, I know we are going to need more and better closet space at the Manse. To the drawing board!