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Cleaning out drawers is cathartic

By Tammy Keith

This article was published January 14, 2018 at 12:00 a.m.

If there is any household chore more satisfying than cleaning out a drawer, I don’t know what it is.

I tend to be a collector — a hoarder, some might say. But I also like a good purging once in a while. I love having garage sales, where I get rid of stuff I don’t need, don’t want, doesn’t fit. That momentary sense of freedom when the garage is swept out and I can see the walls again is one of my favorite feelings.

On a recent Saturday, my husband and I were keeping our 8-month-old granddaughter. As she played on a pallet, I decided to get some work done.

I brought in an overflowing drawer from a bedroom chest — one.

It was my pajama drawer. I’ve been adding to it, but I haven’t thrown away anything in years. I pulled everything out and gave it the coroner test.

If I died in the middle of the night, would I want the coroner to see me in it? My husband and I used to have a deal. If I died wearing my ratty pajamas, he was to dress me in something better before calling anybody.

The first items I had to consider were my two favorite gray sleep T-shirts, both of which looked like dust rags more than actual clothes. They were thin and holey. And so soft and comfortable.

But I just tossed them into the throwaway pile. They were not good enough for Goodwill.

Other things were fine, but I haven’t worn them. There were the pajamas from Victoria Secret — sexy, if flannel with a butterfly motif is your thing. I put them in a giveaway pile. The Wild Thing monkey pajamas my mother bought me a couple of years ago needed to go, too, I decided. I mean, I am 54 years old. I did keep my Christmoose pajama pants with the handy cellphone pocket, however, and my New York City pajama pants.

I got two new pairs of pajamas at Christmas, including a nice black pair that my husband bought me.

When I finished sorting through everything, and what I kept was neatly folded and put back, I tackled my camisole/T-shirt drawer.

There were camisoles of every color — red, purple, black, gray, white, neon green and an orange one I don’t recall ever wearing, or even seeing. Some looked like they’d fit my baby granddaughter.

The T-shirts had sentimental value — one my brother wore in his first New York City marathon, as well as an I Love New York shirt he bought me.

Still another was a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt that my sister-in-law put in the garage sale. I’ve never worn it, but I didn’t want to part with it, either.

One of the reasons I needed to clean out my clothes was that my brother and sister-in-law cleaned out their closets and sent us some great hand-me-downs.

Mmm, cleaning out my closet is next. That’s the holy grail of cleaning.

At the bottom of my drawer, I found a long-sleeved black Coroner’s Office T-shirt that the late, wonderful Faulkner County Coroner Patrick Moore gave me. He said only special people got them.

Hmm. Maybe that should be my go-to sleep shirt.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or


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