Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broom closet

I grew up with a very nice broom closet. It was in the kitchen, or the entrance to the kitchen, across the hall from the phone. In the broom closet were: the broom, the dustpan, the wastebasket, the vacuum, hooks with dustcloths hanging on them, the pencil sharpener and a supply of used but reusable grocery bags (which were made of brown paper back then). There may also have been glue, tape, and cans of dusting spray on the shelf, along with--I think--a pile of scratch paper for doodling.

We used the broom closet approximately as much as we used the kitchen sink.

When Shawn and I moved to New York and then started to look for a house in 1989, of course I wanted a broom closet. I'd been two years or more in apartments, which do not have broom closets.

Neither, apparently, do houses in New York.

As the realtor showed us houses, I wondered at the lack of broom closets, but refrained from complaining. I figured it must be our price range and did not particularly want to draw attention to it.

In 1995, when we moved up to a bigger and better house, I thought, "Now, certainly, I will get a broom closet. Now I will be able, finally, to put my vacuum away."

The houses in this round did not appear to have broom closets, either. I asked one realtor and she gave me the oddest look. "Broom closet?" she asked, "Do you mean you want a pantry? Here is a lovely pantry," and she opened a narrow door in the kitchen to reveal a stack of shelves. No vacuum was going in there. And anyway, I am not big on the idea of storing my vacuum next to my bulk flour. I find that idea rather repulsive.

I said, "No, I want a broom closet. You know, where you put your broom, and your vacuum."

She looked at me blankly.

"Well," I said, "Where do these people keep their vacuum, anyway?" I was beginning to feel a little panicky. I remembered seeing the stupidiest rag-doll cat costume in which you could dress your vacuum and set it in the corner, and I wondered if I had discovered that here in New York there was indeed a need, no, actually a demand for such a thing.

"The vacuum goes in the front hall closet," she informed me.

"But isn't that where you hang guest coats?"

"You move it when you have guests." She was getting irritable. I decided not to inquire about the location to which one would move it to accomodate the guests.

I switched realtors, but in the end, I still didn't get a broom closet. So I have spent the past thirteen years moving my vacuum around-- to the corner in the dining room, the corner in my bedroom, the hall outside the kids' bathroom, the mud room, the basement.

Besides the fact that none of these places offers a good storage solution for my vacuum, when you have to keep moving it like that all the time, you can never find it when you need it, either. (For thirteen years!)

Guess what my #1 priority is if we ever get around to building a house on our land in the country? Yep. I want a broom closet.

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