Wardrobe woes

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, a three-door, five-drawer solid pine wardrobe in which to store my suits and shirts and socks and stuff. It was a big beast, to be sure, but we liked the look of it, and never gave much thought to how we’d get it up the stairs and into our bedroom. And anyway, it wasn’t really our problem: the guy at the furniture warehouse said they could deliver anywhere, and we took him at his word.

In the event it took a four man lift, and a lot of colourful cursing, before my new wardrobe made it to the top of the stairs and could be coaxed into its final resting place in a corner of the bedroom. And there it remained, unmoved and unmoveable, for more than a quarter of a century. Until we decided to redecorate.

Mrs P said in no uncertain terms that the time had come: the time for a new carpet, new curtains and a decent paint job. She looked at me meaningfully: painting is my territory, though I rather wish it weren’t. I said that I agreed – and I did agree, honest! – but in order to do a decent job we first needed to move the wardrobe. And that wardrobe was, as I explained, way too big for a man of my age, with my bad back, knackered knees and history of hernias, to contemplate moving.

The wardrobe-shaped elephant in the room

So there we left it for a year or two, the wardrobe-shaped elephant in the room. Until, one day about three weeks ago, Mrs P suddenly announced “I’ve had an idea!”

My heart sank. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs P’s a lovely lady (I married her, after all) but whenever she says “I’ve had an idea”, I know that my life’s about to get more complicated.

“And what idea is that?” I asked innocently, hoping fervently she’d already forgotten.

“Simple,” she replied brightly, “the bedroom desperately needs redecorating. If the only thing preventing it is that wardrobe, you’ll have to get rid of it and treat yourself to a new one.”

“Of course,” I responded in a flash, “but aren’t you forgetting something? Before we can buy a new wardrobe we’ll need to get rid of the one we’ve got now. And, as I may have mentioned previously, we can’t move the bloody thing!”

“No worries, we’ll offer it to a charity. They’ll collect the wardrobe. No problemo!

I had to admit, her idea sounded like a good one. Charities are always on the look out for quality items of furniture that they can sell, thereby raising much-needed cash to support their good causes. The wardrobe seemed like it was worth a bit, and local charities would surely be queuing up to take it away.

* * *

And so, just 24 hours later, we’re in the local offices of a big health charity, agreeing the deal. I whip out my mobile phone, and show the lady on duty a photo of the wardrobe.

“Ooh, how lovely,” she purrs, “we’d be pleased to take it off your hands.”

“And you’ll collect, of course? It’s a wee bit heavy and awkward to manoeuvre,” I caution, with a degree of understatement that verges on the criminal.

“Our guys will do their very best,” she responds, “but they have the right to refuse if they think it’s impossible or unsafe to proceed.”

“Oh, that’s OK, I’m sure they’ll manage just fine,” I lie. She smiles, plainly convinced by my reassurances. I just wish I felt the same.

* * *

A week later, the collection crew arrives. It’s a modest outfit, just two blokes and a van. “We’re doomed!”, I mutter to Mrs P as we usher them up to the bedroom.

They inspect the wardrobe from all sides. “Big, isn’t it?” one of them says unnecessarily, his voice trembling ever so slightly.

They then check the route they must take, the impossibly tight 180 degree turn needed to get the thing out of the bedroom and on to the landing, the limited vertical clearance of the stairwell, the narrowness and steepness of the stairs.

There is much scratching of heads and furrowing of brows. Finally they agree they’ll give it a go, and manage to drag the wardrobe a short distance away from the wall, unscrew the top half from the bottom and lift it off before waving the white flag.

“Sorry,” the head honcho says “can’t be done. I don’t know how the hell anyone managed to get it up here, but it ain’t going back down.”

And then they depart, leaving our hopes in tatters and the wardrobe, now in two halves, abandoned in the middle of the bedroom floor. So Mrs P and I have no option than to spend the rest of the afternoon dismantling the thing completely, taking it apart bit by bit and dragging the wreckage downstairs to dump in the garage. Even the individual pieces take a monumental effort to move, and we are left in awe of the crew that successfully delivered this monolithic piece of furniture all those years ago.

So the good news is that, after much heartache, we now have a new, wardrobe-shaped space in the bedroom. But the bad news is that I now have absolutely no excuse not to get on with the painting. Woe is me!


  1. Laurie Graves · February 16, 2022

    Phew, what a suspenseful story! What will you do with the wardrobe in pieces? Can it be put back together and given to charity? Or must it be thrown out? Happy painting and hope you enjoy your new wardrobe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 16, 2022

      I can re-use the bottom section (basically a low-standing, five drawer unit) for storage in the garage. We have offered the best of the remaining timber on a community website, free to anyone with the skills to make use of it – but the deal is strictly “new owner must collect!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth · February 16, 2022

    Well done Julie 🤣
    Unanswered question – where are all your clothes 🤣


    • Platypus Man · February 16, 2022

      Er, the boy done good too, methinks 🙂. Some clothes that I’ve not worn for years / decades have gone. Julie’s also has a sort out, and some of my remaining clothes have been crammed into her wardrobe and the rest into a spare wardrobe in the second bedroom. There’s also plenty of stuff in boxes on the bed in that room. Chaos didn’t reign, it poured, despite Julie’s best endeavours. But that chaos will take on monsoon-sized proportions when we have to empty her wardrobes too, while the new ones are fitted.


      • Elizabeth · February 17, 2022


        Liked by 1 person

  3. Trisha Hill · February 16, 2022

    Great post David. I’d already heard the bare bones of the saga from Julie. Good luck with the decorating.


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 16, 2022

      Thank you, Trisha, much appreciated. We’ve pretty much decided on the details of the new built-in wardrobes, but sorting out what paint and carpet will go with them is ongoing. So hopefully I’m off the hook for a week or two! 🙂


  4. Paddy Tobin · February 16, 2022

    You remind me of an episode when my father brought a new double bed upstairs. There wasn’t enough headroom so he took down the false ceiling over the stairs, brought the bed up and put the ceiling back, repainted etc. He recounted the adventure to the man in the shop only to be asked why he had not simply removed the joining bars on the bed’s base and take it up half by half, as it was designed to allow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 16, 2022

      Lovely story, just the sort of thing I might have done! I bet the man in the shop had a good laugh with his mates in the pub about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin · February 16, 2022

        We all had a good laugh, but a little later for my father.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. pjb317 · February 16, 2022

    Bravo! Well done, you and Mrs. P.! Clearly you have much more fortitude than the guys from the charity. (Have you considered applying for a job with them? Strictly as a supervisor, of course–the one who points and says, “Put it over there.”)

    Too bad the poor wardrobe ended up in the trash–it looks like a lovely piece. Happy redecorating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 17, 2022

      Yes, I like that idea: “Director of Wardrobe Removals” could be my job title…I think I may have a new career, despite my advancing years! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tanjabrittonwriter · February 17, 2022

    Who would have thought a wardrobe could cause such headaches? And other aches? I hope you won’t be too sore after your monumental moving efforts and, more importantly, once you get done with the painting.
    We, too, need to paint, but have successfully procrastinated for a number of years. I don’t know what’s worse–the actual painting, or trying to pick the color of the paint. That gives me headaches. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 17, 2022

      Funny you should day that, as we too are now struggling with paint selection. So many shades to choose from, such subtle differences between them, and of course those shades seem to vary enormously depending on the light conditions in which they’re viewed. It could be months before the painting starts 🙂🙂🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. alison41 · March 4, 2022

    As we often say in South Africa: Ag, shame! (meaning, oh dear, much sympathy). I lugged my Dad’s old Compactum, a hefty beast of a gents’ wardrobe, all over Rhodesia through many house-moves; can’t remember what happened to it in the end, but it weighed a ton. That I do remember. Luckily double storey houses didn’t enter the equation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · March 4, 2022

      I feel your pain, and note the irony that your Dad’s wardrobe was evidently not nearly as compact as the name suggests.


  8. krikitarts · March 29

    We still have a wardrobe that we inherited with a house purchase back in the 70s in Wisconsin, and it’s now in our kitchen here in New Zealand. It’s not as ponderous as yours, or as hard to manipulate, but it’s a family member now and, even considering a necessary full kitchen renovation, it retains a spot in the final plan. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · March 29

      You must like it a lot to have sent it on such a long (and expensive!) journey. I love the idea of it being a ‘family member’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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