Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mission Impossible?

While I was sick this weekend, I was still absolutely set on getting my closet completely cleaned out, purged of excess, and organized. On Friday, when I should have been resting at lunch, I went to Wal-mart, and bought a metal shelf to put in my closet (to go with the other two already there). Friday night, when i should have been resting, I spent 90 minutes putting the stupid thing together, at risk of cutting my fingers the entire time (damn edges were SHARP).

Saturday morning, after pulling myself from bed, I hesitated. I was torn between parking myself on the couch to rest and watch DVDs, and a feeling that if I didn't start this closet clean-out, that I would somehow be a loser and a failure at the one task I set myself for the entire weekend.

So, I did what any perfectionist would do. I started pulling things out of the closet, instead of taking a sudafed and going back to bed, like any doctor would have recommended.

After two hours, I had my closet reorganized. Which is to say, I had the shelf in place, the new storage boxes neatly labeled on the shelves, with the fabric, trims, and other sewing items inside. I even finally had room for my noble garb inside the closet instead of hanging over the door on a hook. It was beautiful!

You see, though, there was just one problem. There was the little matter of all of the rest of the stuff that had been in the closet. It was now stacked (neatly, of course), in my bedroom, and my living room, waiting to be gone through, purged, shredded, tossed. I had turned my beautifully clean apartment into a maze of boxes and rubbermaid storage containers.

So, I spent four hours going through a stack of boxes (and not a single one of the seven rubbermaid containers - four large, three half-sized). I pulled out stuff I wanted to keep, and tossed items to shred into a paper box, to join the other two ledger boxes and two smaller boxes of stuff to shred. All of the other boxes of "To Shred" items, were from my Great Closet Clean Out of January 2005.

By this time, I was practically sleepwalking. My son helped me carry out the garbage bags and boxes of trash. I shoved the rubbermaid containers and the non-shred boxes back into my closet, without incorporating them into the organization. This led to crap still being left out in my room, and boxes in my living room.

It was 5:30 pm, and I was a mess, emotionally, and physically. I took a hot bath, ordered pizza for supper, and sat down to eat in my less than clean dining room, and wanted to cry.

The next day, I started off in the same way. I did laundry, seven loads of it, when I should have been sleeping and fighting off my stupid cold. I went through boxes off and on all afternoon, but somehow never felt like I was making any progress. And the boxes were still bugging me to no end. And I was still sick!

Finally, tonight, after spending some quality time with the shredder, I decided that enough was enough. I went to my room, threw on my iPod, and started taking the containers out of my closet. When I had "organized" my closet on Saturday, I had quite a bit of room left on the shelves (three shelves, two of which were nearly half empty). I did a quick check of the cardboard boxes, to see what boxes held items I wanted to keep, consolidated a couple, then found homes for those boxes on the shelves. I rearranged the rubbermaid containers, so that they fit underneath the built-in shelf along the east wall of the closet (BTW, my closet is a pretty big walk-in closet). I stowed my camping gear and extra sheets and towels a bit more efficiently.

In the course of rearranging the big tubs, I made a great discovery. Two of them were full of blankets that I had been meaning to get rid of. Two comforters, and two blankets that were fairly worn. So, I was able to empty those containers, nest them, put a bag of old videotapes inside, put both lids on the top, and stowed them away for a future need.

I also decided to put the remaining boxes of things to sort back into the closet, at the front, so that I can do a little at a time, rather than trying to force myself to keep working at every spare moment. I knew better than to try to be superwoman about this, but I let my pride get in the way of my physical and mental well-being. Little bites.

So now, instead of a stack of boxes in my living room, I have a stack of empty boxes, and a couple of garbage bags in my dining room, ready to go out tomorrow once the garbage guys empty our dumpster. And yes, my Christmas tree may still be up and decorated, but I will get to that this weekend. It was extra beautiful this year, so I am going to enjoy it for a bit longer.

And when I do take it down, it will be a little bit at a time, rather than all in one go. I just need to remember to do that with everything in my life.

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