It was a balmy March day; the kind that gives you a glimmer of hope that the frozen tundra that had become your backyard might actually thaw and spring could arrive. I went into my closet and had an overwhelming urge to purge my wardrobe. This happens every year around this time, when the spring cleaning bug attacks me.

I stared at the piles of sweaters that had laid untouched over the winter and realized that I had pretty much worn the same four heavy sweaters all winter. Still, I was not ready to part with most of my unworn clothes, so I pulled them out of the closet to assess what should get another chance at life next winter and what should get donated.

Pulling out the piles, I tried on the first sweater. It was cuter than I remembered. I was about to pull it off and toss it into the keep pile when I noticed a number of white spots on it. With an increasing sense of dread, I realized the white spots were actually my white t-shirt showing through thumbnail-sized holes in the sweater. The sweater was no longer a sweater.

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It was a sieve.

Being somewhat skilled in denying the awful truth when it is staring me in the face, I decided the sweater must have suffered some kind of aged sweater illness that caused it to disintegrate in spots over the winter.

Tossing it on the floor, I reached for the next sweater and tried it on. This sweater seemed to have caught the same illness as the one before it. Sweater after sweater exhibited the same symptoms and I realized with horror that the sweater epidemic had swept through my entire closet.

I was just about to call the CDC when I noticed a flutter come from within the belly of my closet.

As the moth flew out of the closet, the reality of what had actually transpired dawned on me. I had no idea how such a thing could have happened until it occurred to me that the cedar chips I had put in my closet 10 years ago might have actually lost their moth-repelling capabilities over time.

Had I followed my dearly departed grandmother’s advice, I would have scattered mothballs in every crevice of my closet and no moth would have come within 10 miles of my sweaters. Of course, then I wouldn’t have any need for my sweaters anymore because the mothball police would have taken one sniff of me and shipped me down to a retirement community in Florida.

Glaring at the woolly remains of my formerly adorable sweaters, I picked up the phone.

“Do we have moth insurance?” I asked my husband.

“You mean like if a giant moth lands on our house and crushes it?” he asked.

“No, I mean if a colony of moths breed in my closet and devour my wardrobe.”

“Didn’t you have cedar chips?” he wondered.

“They ate those too.”

“Sorry, honey,” he sympathized.

“They ate holes through all my wool sweaters!” I groaned. “What should I do?”

“Next time, buy cotton.”

Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyinSuburbia.