One good way to get ready for winter is to do a little cleaning, not so much outside – nature does a pretty good job seeing to that – but inside.

One good way to get ready for winter is to do a little cleaning, not so much outside – nature does a pretty good job seeing to that – but inside.


Think about it.


Now is the time you find all the little hammocks the spiders laid out on your windowsills, right? When the days were long and the bees danced their tipsy jigs?


But the spiders are gone now. Roll up their bedding and wish them the best, wherever they might be. Think of Charlotte and her pig-friend Wilbur and send up a prayer of thanks that you too have had such a nice long time in the sun.


Now is the time to pull out those winter clothes, and how many coats or jackets are there that you haven’t worn for a good 15 years?


Give them away.


In my own hall closet I have just found a pair of pink rubber boots with flouncy fake-fur trim and I can tell you it has been many a moon since the people drawn to such footwear lived here.


I found my husband’s high school football jacket too, its white leather sleeves slightly darkened with age and “Dave, Co-Captain” stitched on the front.


I put it in the attic. 


In one corner, I found two family tablecloths wrapped in protective brown paper, rolled on fat cardboard dowels and left to stand in the odd corner of four different houses over a 50-year period.


Will anyone ever use them again, artfully patched as they are and speckled with faint brown speckles? And from what old gravy boat, I wonder? From what brimming glass of claret?


I put them back in their corner.


There are consolations in cleaning, letting go of what needs letting go of and holding tight to what we can’t yet part with.


I found old gloves, my favorite kind, in black, my favorite color. Five identical gloves for the right hand and none at all for the left.


What to do here? Save them in case their wandering partners ever return, or throw them away? Such quandaries lie at the heart of all cleaning projects.


Finally, way in the back, I found the fur coat our male cat sprayed once when he was ill and on his way to the vet. He hissed and arched too, mistaking it for a living foe.


I put in a whole new lining but still, I seldom wear the thing. Keep it or pass on?


I fished in its pockets and pulled out a slip from the dry cleaners. I studied the items listed there and hey, hadn’t I just been LOOKING for that mauve-colored gypsy-looking dress just the other day?


I closed the closet door and drove right to the cleaners.


I gave the slip to the man at the counter, who, five minutes later, smilingly brought forth a whole armful of clothes I had put in storage there…in May  of 2007, fully four and a half years ago.


So now I have three good wool skirts, a tweed suit, three wool jackets, the missing gypsy number and four warm sweaters I did not have before. A whole winter wardrobe almost.


I just have to throw on the coat and be willing to wear right-handed gloves on my left hand and I will be SET. (And tell you what, those cute pink boots with the fur trim are looking better to me all the time.)


Write Terry care of Ravenscroft Press, P.O. Box 270, Winchester, MA 01890, at terrymarotta@verizon.net or on her blog Exit Only at www.terrymarotta.wordpress.com.