Cleanin' Out My Closet

Monday, January 15, 2018

I am one of those people who has always had trouble keeping their house clean. There's just so much STUFF everywhere. I inherited my grandma's packrat tendencies, so it's always been really hard for me to let things go, even things I don't have any attachment to (because as my grandma always said, what if I need it one day?). As you may imagine, this results in me having entirely too many things in my house.

Sure, I've tried purging things here and there, but it never gets fully done. I also tend to get distracted and clean a little here, and a little there, so parts of rooms look great, but the full room isn't done.

However, this year, I am bound and determined to get my house in order. I know that the mess in my house and the mess in my head are related, and I really want to break the cycle. As I think most people do, I tend to feel better in a peaceful, uncluttered environment, and that's something I want to create in my home. A cluttered house makes for a cluttered mind, and I'm so beyond over it.

I decided to start with something small-ish that I could completely overhaul so I could have something fully accomplished. The obvious answer was our hall closet.

I think it's meant to be a linen closet (it's near the bathroom, right next to the boys' room), but it's much deeper than a typical linen closet, so it has generally been kind of used as a catchall of sorts. Using it as a catchall is exactly what I DON'T need to be doing, because it ended up resulting in me just constantly throwing more crap in it just to have a place to put it, and it was NOT pretty.

See? Definitely not pretty. That stack of stuff was almost as tall as I was! I would know that something was in there, but I wouldn't be able to get to it without a random stuff avalanche raining down on all of us and sweeping my cats into the street (only a slight exaggeration). This was often problematic. For example, on Christmas Eve, when we woke to find that Archie had eaten a bag of my stepmother's Christmas toffee and then vomited right outside our bedroom door (and later again next to the couch), it would have been really handy to be able to access the SpotBot to clean it up. Since it was buried at the bottom of all that stuff, we ended up scrubbing it by hand with some spray cleaner, which wasn't quite as effective.

You can kind of tell that at one point, I did attempt some sort of organization, but clearly, chaos reigned supreme. So when it came time to clean it out, the first thing I had to do was remove literally everything from the closet. Once everything was out, I wiped down the shelves and vacuumed the floor. I went through everything I removed, sorted it into piles of like items, and decided what was going back inside the closet and what wasn't (for example, I decided I wanted to relocate all of the gift wrapping items to a cabinet in the dining room). I found things I hadn't seen in awhile (like my diamond tennis bracelet!), and found even more that I wanted to donate (including an old TV and 17 board games). It was difficult to let some things go, but I finally just admitted to myself that they were things we didn't need, didn't use, and probably wouldn't use in the future (like the full-size sheet set for our old bed, which has been sitting in our laundry room waiting to leave our house since we moved in almost three years ago). It was actually a bit cathartic to let go of so much. Granted, I'm sure there's more I could purge if I really wanted to (I kept more bath and body stuff than I really probably need to), but I think this is a really good start.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out:

It's hard to get a decent pic of the closet.
The very top shelf is still just games and puzzles, which has been the case since we moved in. I put all of the kids' games together on the right, the long board game boxes (like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit) next to them, puzzles in the back corner, and square shaped game boxes (like Ticket to Ride) and card games on the left. It's easy to see everything and choose what you need (though many are so high up that I need Tom or a chair to get them down).

The second shelf has toilet paper and paper towels to the left (towels for the pets and/or spills are under the paper towels), then carpet cleaning products, then spare hats/gloves (it's just one hat at the moment, because I'm trying to gather the others from all over the house to wash), then the boys' earmuffs for loud things (like WWE shows and Monster Jam), then things related to light (candles, light bulbs, flashlights, and batteries).

The large box on the right of the bottom shelf has skin care, extra razors, and extra oral care items. The box on top is full of tampons and pantiliners, and there's a case of Dove soap on top of that; my hair dryer, straightener, and curling iron are also on top of the large box (for now -- I don't really like them just sitting there like that, but it works for the moment). To the left is a box of pet care items (grooming products and extra collars) and a box of hair care items. Extra wipes are next; I had actually gotten them last summer at a really great price, and forgot they had been lost in the mess of stuff. Even though the boys are potty trained, we do still use them a lot, so it's handy to have extras on hand. Next I have extra linens and the picnic blanket (which will probably be moved to the laundry room once I have that set up the way I want it). Towels are on the left side.

The bottom of the closet (you can actually see the carpet now, though it's not pictured) has all of our suitcases lined up below the towels. Our vacuum and SpotBot are next to them, with the vacuum in the front for easy access since it gets a lot more use. I put a little hamper on the right so we can just toss clothes in there after leaving the bathroom post-shower (I am especially bad about leaving my clothes everywhere.

I don't think it will be like this permanently (especially since I plan on getting a full-sized carpet cleaner with our tax check, so there may not be room for the hamper in that spot), but for now, I can find whatever I need when I need it, and that's the important thing.

It feels really good to actually get something accomplished.

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  1. Jessica Goffinet GoekenJanuary 16, 2018 at 11:29 AM

    Good for you! It's the little accomplishments and successes that turn into big successes down the road. I think you picked the perfect place to start.

    1. It's definitely helpful (for me, at least) to be able to see something accomplished, even if it's small. I ended up doing the bookcase next, lol. The good news is that the closet still looks like that two and a half weeks later; and I haven't even been tempted to throw stuff in there!



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