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You’ll see

WHEN I lived in Israel, a friend used to joke that you can tell what year Americans came on aliyah based on how they dressed. Meaning, whenever expats wanted to dress in their “best” they would don the fashionable American clothing they had bought right before moving to Israel.

After a while I kind of noticed it was true. You could pick the decade of an American olah by her clothes. Wherever they left off fashionwise when departing America, they were frozen in time, dated. That good American wardrobe was the outfit to dress in and feel au courant.

We chuckled smugly at this observation. Clearly we, young twenty- somethings, were more hip than that!

By the time I was moving and packing up at the end of 2007, I was carefully and reverentially folding my long solid colored Banana Republic a-line style skirts, circa 1990s and 2000.

My taste in clothes is more on the classic side, and I don’t need to replace them for new trendy things every second. But I stored these beloved garments of mine that I deemed were still in good condition. Stored them! Along with towels and linens and lots of other things.

Upon my return to Israel for a visit one year later, together with a good friend of mine who left Israel shortly before I did, I decided to go through some of the boxes we had stored.

As each slightly tattered towel, faded duvet and somewhat worn out skirt was pulled out, we couldn’t stop laughing. We thought of the line my friend used to wryly describe other American olim and the decade they arrived in, and we just cracked up. We looked at each other. I guess we were now officially Israelis.

My friend held out a garbage bag and made me get rid of a lot of that stuff.

Needless to say, we were never going to be using those items again. We had switched to the American mentality and we would just make a short trip to Bed Bath and Beyond and make new purchases.

ALL of this as an introduction to tell you I decided to clean my closet out this week. I know it is a bit early. Usually I reserve this annual ritual for Pesach in the springtime. But I decided to give the therapeutic ritual a head start.

I got a lot of really nice egg shell white boxes to label and organize various items in. They are nesting boxes and piled high, making a nice artistic pyramid.

I found some items I had adored at the time of purchase. I thought them to be sophisticated or interesting. Now holding some of them in my hand, if I am honest about it, they are nothing but tacky. In my defense, I was 12.

There were scented soaps and bath gels to give away. Scarves. Knick knacks. Lovely designed tissue paper to gift wrap, which I hadn’t even remembered I had.

So much for stocking up to save time and money.

Of course I ran out to quickly buy gift wrap every time I needed it, or improvised with the brown paper supermarket bags and twine I have been using lately in the name of the rustic Colorado look.

I found some unexpected treasures, too.

I found my first little narrow brown leathered watch, a little peeled on the band, lying in a teeniest pull string satchel. It was a gift from my mother. I found a favorite girlhood barrette, with creamy-lacy bow and a tiny pink and ivory cameo silhouette fastened in the center of the bow.

I also found my first necklace, a golden chain, also with a miniature pink and ivory cameo silhouette pendant.

Somehow I had missed finding them in other years.

THIS purging activity, endeavoring to streamline things, is a lot of fun.

Aside from being practical by getting rid of the past months accumulated junk, aside from being therapeutic by helping you feel lighter and in harmony with your interior and exterior, it puts a real grin on the face.

Just try on your first few pairs of eyeglasses you find neatly ensconced in their cases.

You’ll see.

Copyright © 2010 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Tehilla Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park

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