I love my house. It is roomy enough to be comfortable for the 3 humans and one large dog that inhabit it, with enough space for occasional guests…yet it is small enough to keep clean. We have a great yard and are in a convenient location. However, the one feature my home does lack: sufficient closets and storage space.
Eleven years ago, we were so giddy about moving in to a brand new house, which at the time was substantially larger than our tiny old ranch we were previously in, that we just didn’t really notice the lack of places to put things. There is of course something to be said about women never having enough closet space, and I have to admit that is probably at least partially true. But in this case, we really are limited.
We have one small coat closet, my husband and I share a clothing closet, there are a couple shallow closets in the other bedrooms and there is a fairly funky closet in the spare room that has a sloped ceiling thus rendering much of the space useless. Since we live in New England, we are blessed with having a full basement – however half of it is used for recreation, which leaves us half the space for laundry and storage.
If I was a minimalist, this would be no issue. If I did not get emotionally attached to belongings from my past, I’d have much more available space. If I didn’t have the disease of “this could come in handy some day”, I’d have empty shelves. If I didn’t go crazy with holiday decorations I’d have about 15 less boxes in the basement. And I realize that I probably sound very spoiled. Oh, poor me, I have a lovely house but my closets aren’t big enough for all my stuff. I realized I’m blessed and lucky. The issue now, however, is that my closets mock me. I have them so disorganized and full of stuff, they are embarrassing. Even if visitors never see them, I know what lurks behind those doors. If there was a version of that Hoarders show on TV that only dealt with hidden spaces, I could be featured on an episode. I generally keep the rest of my house pretty clean and organized – it looks lived in, for sure, but not overly messy. Just don’t go into the back of the basement or open any closet doors.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband was looking for something, and ventured downstairs to the very back of our basement, into my little alcove where I store home décor items and set up a wrapping area at Christmas time. This is also where I hide gifts around the holidays. The space is about 5’ square, so even when organized and tidy, it is snug. My husband came back upstairs and said “um….what happened down there?” I had to admit “well, nothing. That’s the problem.” Here we are 7 months beyond the holidays, and I haven’t reclaimed and cleaned out my little alcove. So it is frightening back there.
Similarly, I was looking for a greeting card the other day in the spare closet, and literally had to burrow my way around hanging comforters fresh back from the dry cleaners, step over winter shoes, and lift up some of my son’s old school projects to find one. I felt like Houdini when I emerged a few minutes later, greeting card in hand.
In life’s day to day schedule of activities and chores, those messes that are out of sight routinely slip to the bottom of my to do list…until I have to open a door and face the piles, and I groan and get frustrated, with only myself to blame. And as usually happens once or twice a year, I will get motivated to tackle the piles and do a good cleanout. I am tempted to fly my sister out for a visit, and hire her and one of my BFFs, as they are both Organizational Queens, to just go crazy and organize me. My sister did that for me with my kitchen a few years ago, and it was awesome. Are the interiors of my cupboards still beautiful and sleek and sorted now? Um……oooh, look at that pretty butterfly!
So I must force myself to face the music…. (and in this case the music that is playing in my head resembles the spooky Hollywood movie music when the heroin must venture down into the scary dusty dark cellar)…. and get ready to do a big heave-ho and some heavy-duty sorting, classifying and arranging.
Since it is not just one closet to face, I’m considering having to take a day or two off of work to get it done. But that seems like such a waste of PTO… and it is so nice outside….and if I close the door, no one is really going to see it… and I might need what’s in those boxes some day… and…
oh, look a butterfly…..