Monday, July 11, 2011

Closet Happiness

On Saturday, Sara-Grace, inspired by the overhaul I unexpectedly found myself committing on the girls' bathroom, asked if she could empty out the bottom of her closet.  I immediated launched into a panicked conniption and accompanying tirade because the bottom of her closet was crammed full of half a dozen or more kitchen-sized white trash bags containing clothes and junk that I needed to sort through.  And, the worst part was that they have been there for YEARS -- during which they have weighed on me massively.  SG wanted to pull them out of the closet and dump them in the hallway where, I knew from experience, they could sit for months. Somehow I won and SG went off to play video games and I had a reprieve by which I was greatly relieved.

On Sunday morning I walked though SG's room on the way to the laundry room.  I'm not sure how it started but things usually occur like this for me --  I walk into a room to put something away and end up spending the next two days overhauling the whole room.  I try to just mindlessly follow my muse in these situations.  Somehow, she always takes me to where I need to go.  I know that if I do things HER way, I will get the most done.  If I fight her, I will get nothing done.  It's my lesson in obedience.  It works for me.  And she enjoys the power trip, I'm sure.

I'm ashamed of how painless it was to go through all those trash bags that had sat there for all those years looking so very ominous and evil.  I started with one just to see what was there with no hope of getting through them all.  Just one.  One was manageable.  One wouldn't kill me.  Before long, I had emptied all the bags of clothes and two bags of junk.  A pile of papers and one small bag of junk got boxed for future fun.  I bagged two bags full of the best and most memorable clothes for posterity (surely, I will have grandaughters to dress up before all these simple, timeless little dresses become hideously dated?). 
Here is the "after" photo.  I didn't take a "before" photo because I didn't expect there to be an "after" anytime soon -- which is probably for the best: no documentation of my collosal failure!  Just imagine white trash bags three feet deep!


I have struggled for years (ok, decades) with getting things out of the house. I bag or box them up, then they sit for a while and I forget what's there and get paranoid and have to go through it all again.

I have devised a new strategy to combat this: anything that's "outta here" (I bristle at the phrase "get rid of" for some reason), I put in Walmart bags and tie up the handles and that's code to my paranoid brain that that bag has been cleared for takeoff. Plus, there are always Walmart bags around so I never get stalled out by not having the right container. This works for me.
After finding the floor in SG's closet, I had an impressive pile of Walmart bags laying downstairs in the front hall where they landed after I hurled them, satisfyingly, over the banister on their way to the front door so they would go OUT.  The bag count is up to about 16 bags now. I took this photo when there were only 10. The creepy Santa head is on it's way out too (in case you were worrying).

The view from above. 

Next, I color-coordinated the clothes hanging in the closet.  I am proud to say I learned this from my 14-year-old daughter, Tessa.  I don't know where she got the inspirations but, when she was about 10, she color-coordinated my closet and I have LOVED it!  I find that I usually know what color I'm in the mood for in the morning so having my clothes grouped by color makes finding the outfit of the day just that much easier.  Here I've grouped tank tops, shirts, jackets, dresses all in their own categories because that seems to work.


My OCD streak LOVES the shoe shelves!  I had two basic white laminate shelf units from when I was a 20-something in an apartment in Southern California between 1988 and 1992.  One unit finally collapsed (as they will tend to do after a couple decades of abuse) so I put the shelves from the collapsed unit into the surviving unit and now I have flip-flop-sized shelves as well as appropriately-sized shelves for shoes and boots.  Now that I look at it, I see that I have room for one more shelf at the top.  Yay!

On the top shelf of the closet, I implemented one of my favorite storage techniques:  bins that I use for things like, belts, hats, purses/bags, out-of-season, too big, too small, or "outta here" (the categories depend on individual need, of course).  A couple of times I've had to designate one bin "Cat Bed" because the cats seem to find their way up there and stake a claim!

There's nothing like a tidy closet to make my heart happy and to give me a new lease on life and make me feel like a good mom and all varieties of other good things all rolled into one small space! 

I know, I'm weird. 

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