Sunday, June 15, 2008

Out Of The Closet

Monsters lurk in the darkest regions of my closets. I know they do. And if I dig in there, I know they’ll get me.

Well, that’s the excuse my kids used while growing up and I thought it was so reasonable that I used it for years to avoid cleaning out closets myself. When I say cleaning the closet, I mean right down to the carpeted floor cleaning. Not just move a bit here, move a bit there … nah, that’s not cleaning; it’s cosmetic re-arranging to make you feel better about the mess (monsters) you know are still residing in there.

I was wanting to become more adventurous in my life, and in order to do that, some of my home-front life needed some drastic changes. Number one on my list was the dreaded bedroom closet. I knew I had items nestled away in there that I would need on some adventures, but they kept burrowing deeper each time I did a cursory search. So it was time to stop procrastinating and get down to it! Tools needed …

Pith helmet, whip, chair, canteen …. oops, sorry, wrong list! Lemme see … where is that list?? Ah, here we go:

#1 Priority – GET HELP! When I clean closets, the first thing I do is coerce … er umm, bribe … find some help. STRONG help. I know that I probably put those now-two-ton boxes in there by myself when we moved here, but I sure can’t seem to lift them now! So I snag a hubby or son or son-in-law to give me help. Promises of a pan of brownies or homemade bread usually is sufficient around my house. And they have to keep their mouths shut, offering no opinions or suggestions in order to get those brownies. That is a major rule.

#2 Pull EVERYTHING out of the closet, hanging clothes and all. I don’t know about you, but when we moved into this house, I was exhausted most of the time to the point of really not caring where everything went. My only criteria was stick it away somewhere so long as it wasn’t left out for someone to trip over.

#3 Get a couple of large boxes or lawn/leaf trash bags. You’ll be filling these with items you really don’t want anymore but are in good enough shape to donate and the other will be out-and-out garbage fodder.

#4 Take a good look at the mounds of items now on your bed and covering probably every spare inch of floor space. All that came out of there ???

#5 Sort items by person. If that person doesn’t live/sleep/reside in that room, tell them to come get it, or better yet, deliver it to their room / house. Preferably if they’re not home … makes for less hassle. My favorite thing is to wrap a piece of Christmas ribbon around the stack/pile/box and tell them Merry Christmas.

#6 Now draw a quick sketch of your closet space. If there’s a deep dark corner way in the back that you don’t get to very often, how about putting seasonal items back there? Or perhaps old sentimental items such as high school yearbooks, bowling trophies, boxes of baby clothes (my youngest ‘baby’ is now 33). If you have a partner you share closet space with, eyeball how much each would need and draw a line down through your sketch. Ours is 70/30, mine being the 70%, naturally.

#7 Thoroughly clean every surface in the closet.

#8 Begin re-packing the closet with the items you have determined can go back into those dark corners. And for heavens sake, MARK the boxes you stick back there so a quick scan with the flashlight will tell you what is in the boxes a year from now.

We’re getting down to the end now … you’ve thrown away, donated, returned to owner all the extraneous stuff you had gathered in there. If you’ve done it diligently and ruthlessly enough, your pile should be drastically reduced by now and everything will fit into place like it should.

#9 Take a bubble bath with candlelight and a cup of herbal tea or perhaps even a glass of wine.

You're done.

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