Everyone has one: that space, whether it’s a drawer, a cabinet, a closet, or a whole room, that shit just seems to migrate toward. Mine is a fairly decent-sized closet. Not sure where to put all the wrapping paper? Chuck it in the closet. Might need that shipping box again? Closet. Box of shit that never got unpacked from the last time you moved? Closet. It’s like the damn junk closet is magnetized and just draws all the debris and detritus in, never to be seen or dealt with again.
This closet gives me panic attacks. It’s been known to make me cry. It’s one of the main reasons I’m so resistant to moving, because moving would mean having to deal with the closet. Once a year or so, I make a half-hearted attempt to deal with it. I move stuff around, straighten things up, but the net result is still a closet that may actually be the portal to a hell dimension.
So yesterday I decided that the Hell Closet was no longer going to be the boss of me. I was going to show that motherfucker who’s in charge. (That’s me. I’m pretty sure.) So I gathered up some motivation, a bunch of trash bags, and a take-no-prisoners attitude. This was cleaning… with extreme prejudice.
The entire process was somewhat predictable. First, I had to haul all of the shit out of the closet. If I could, I would throw things away on their way out if I knew they weren’t staying. For some reason, there were about twenty shipping boxes in there from various places and times. I set those aside to start. Never know what you might need. And then I started pulling the random crap out. Old light fixtures (which we needed to keep because they came with the apartment). Various vacuum parts. Broken cordless phones. Crappy suitcases. Boxes and boxes of “hardware” (which is funny if only because we are in possession of no fewer than three fairly well-stocked toolboxes). And just an absolute metric fuckton of shit that never should have made it to the “storage” stage in the first place.
Sorting things out was pretty easy. Broken, useless, and ugly things, as well as things that hadn’t been touched since we moved in (we’re talking a decade, here) went into the trash without a second thought. Pieces to things (vacuums and such) that we still own just needed to be organized and stored. The hellish “wrapping paper corner” needed to be sorted and it needed a more precise system than “throw all the shit in a giant Rubbermaid bin.” There were a few things that stumped me. An old Ikea area rug, since replaced, but still functional. A few hurricane candleholders from the wedding that could be reused. Things like that; no real sentimental value or immediate repurposing, but not total trash. So I made the call to hang on to them.
For just about an hour, I sorted, tossed, straightened, boxed, and reorganized. I took three big lawn and leaf bags full of crap out to the trash. And then I was done. Years of being scared of this closet, of letting it make me panic, of making it ten times bigger in my head, and it was all better in less than an hour. That’s the real price of procrastination. We build these projects or obligations up, and the longer they sit, the more daunting they become, but when you finally do them, you’re free of all that. And it’s done. It feels so good to be done.