Cleaning Closets

Oh, you guys, thank you so much for all the kind words and hearty congrats.  I’ve been so sick this time, that seeing all that NICE in one place is really helpful.

It’s funny– I thought that once I was FINALLY able to write about it, I’d have so much to say… I had been furiously composing pregnancy-related posts in my heads for WEEKS, after all.  And I do– oh, ho, ho, trust me I DO– have lots to say about it all.  But for some reason, I simply am not in the mood to write about that right now.

That’s the thing about pregnancy– the moment you find out EVERYTHING CHANGES.  EVERYTHING.  It’s weird to walk around the world having the new knowledge that there a wee little person starting inside of you.  It seems like it should be OBVIOUS to everyone that sees you, or that everyone you meet should KNOW of this news.  And yet…. And yet at the same time, nothing changes.  The kids still need to get to school on time, and you still need to volunteer there on Mondays, even if you barf in the school bathroom.  And meals still need to be made, and groceries purchased, and laundry put through the machines.  All the minutia remains.

And speaking of laundry, we haven’t done any around here for, um, well, it seems to be upwards of  TWO WEEKS.  I’m not sure our laundry has ever been this backlogged.  I’m a once-a-week girl, with the occasional “oops it’s been 10 days” situation.  But five people and two+ weeks… it’s A GREAT DEAL of dirty clothes.  Trust.

It turns out, however, that the PERFECT PROJECT for when you have that much dirty laundry is cleaning out your dressers and closets.  Yes, this is true, and it’s a tip I’m sharing with you today so you too can try it.  See, the clothes that are in the dirty laundry pile are obviously clothes you wear, right?  So there are many fewer clothes left in your drawers and closet to sort through.  David and I tackled this project yesterday (it was blizzarding; perfect day for it!), and you guys, I CANNOT BELIEVE how much stuff we got rid of.  Final count was up to 4 large black garbage bags (one of which was garbage, the other 3 were for donation) and 3 standard size plastic bins.  One of those bins is clothes of mine that don’t fit anymore (thank you baby belly) so they’re going to the attic, but the rest is all stuff that is leaving this house and not coming back.

I look at all those bins and bags stacked together, and I am astounded that it ALL FIT in our room, in our smallish closet.  Amazing.

One of the hazards of not moving very often is that you accumulate too much stuff.  We’ve lived in this house almost 6 years, and apparently in that time we haven’t done a deep thorough purging of our clothes.  My sister says that the mandatory treatment hoarders is to make them move every year; they won’t move all that shit with them, and they’ll be cured!  After this weekend’s experience, I really think she’s onto something.

Getting rid of stuff is such an awesome feeling.  Now I want to get rid of MORE MORE MORE.  I’ve got my eye on Marin’s room next…


14 thoughts on “Cleaning Closets

  1. We recently moved house and the amount of crap that had been lurking (and dare I say it… breeding?) above kitchen cupboards, behind bookshelves, under beds, and in the shed was completely and utterly embarassing. My sweet friends were so helpful in getting us packed, but I was permanently a bright shade of red when I kept saying “That’s rubbish. Oh, and that. Yes, that too. You can have that, if you want. No? Too gross? Chuck it out, then.”

    So yeah, I totally get where you’re coming from. Throwing all that stuff out was very freeing. My goal is to prevent the clutter from breeding in our new house, but I don’t know how successful I will be; this house is bigger, so there is more space to fill!!! Eeep.

    • We live in a big old house that has PLENTY of un-lived in spaces for junk to accumulate. Like, say, our basement. Or finished attic. It helps having a garage sale every spring, but let’s be honest: only kids stuff sells at garage sales. The rest isn’t worth tagging and hauling out there, and therefore gets left untouched. BUT NOT FOR LONG. I’m on a roll. 🙂

  2. I love the tip to clean out the closets when the laundry is overdue. Not only is it very practical, but it plays into my tendency to procrastinate by starting a new project (closets!) before the old one is complete (laundry!)

    As someone who is probably a boarderline hoarder (but it’s containerized!), I have to disagree with the moving comment. I think the reason my bins o’ clutter got so bad was because I had to move like 5 times in 6 years, and would just stuff random crap into bins and then not unpack them every time. Now that we are in a permanent location, I plan to attack the bins and get rid of stuff. Either that or you’ll find me in 5 years wrapped in a snuggie, sitting on mounds of poo.

  3. Oh I love getting rid of! It is so much fun. (Except the time I got rid of a pair of shoes my husband had hid $500 in to take me on a vacation, but…) We’re moving to a much smaller house in about a month, and I am going to be RUTHLESS about getting rid of things.

    I am so looking forward to reading your pregnancy posts. I want to hear the inside scoop from a doula, it will be an interesting perspective.

  4. YES. We’ve lived here for 10 years and it REALLY SHOWS in our accumulated STUFF. I had a bad dream the other night that we had to move suddenly and there was just no way to pack it all up.

    YES about the baby stuff too! And there’s that SHOCK of it: I always feel stunned by the reality of the situation as compared to whatever I was thinking about hypothetically. And the COUNTDOWN feeling of it.

    • Oh, I am COUNTING DOWN the days until I’m supposed to start feeling better. HOURS and MINTUES even. And anyone that wants to tell me they were sick the whole pregnancy? Go ahead, but be forewarned that I’m going to plug my ears and sing “La, la, la” quietly to myself while you talk. 🙂

  5. I can hardly get past the fact that you can actually go that long without doing laundry! We’re doing 12-14 loads A WEEK and we only have one more person!

    Way to go on downsizing! I love getting rid of stuff. SO satisfying!

    • I think it’s b/c my kids are older than yours, Devan. The 8 year olds now wear their jeans more than once. Everyone wears pj’s 3-4 nights… and there’s not much spilling on one’s clothes anymore. I mean, spills still happen, but not nearly like they did during toddlerhood! Also, Marin doesn’t re-wear stuff as much as the older girls, but she has TONS of clothes– you know, inheriting a wardrobe from older TWIN SISTERS. Plus, and this is key, we all got new underwear for Christmas, so none of us are running out clean skivvies yet. 🙂

  6. I love to clean out closets and give stuff away. For about 10 years I moved almost every year, twice across country, and I got so ruthless with culling out the stuff. Then I got married to a pack rat and we moved three times in 13 years and the stuff! Man. I can hardly ever convince him to give things away, but I’m still ruthless with my (very small) closet. Love the feeling of freedom!

    Also, I was a “older mother” with my second and was so so sick. I’d had morning sickness with my son (and with two miscarriages) but my daughter kicked my ass. I was so over the first 16 or so weeks of being pregnant with my daughter. Not sure if it was because it was technically my fourth pregnancy, because I’m old as the hills (reproductively speaking), or because I was must less able to just flop on the couch and sleep after work, but this last pregnancy was a bear. Since it was only 19 months ago it’s still fresh enough in my mind to empathize with you. So, no helpful advice, just sympathy and good thoughts here!

    • I think if I were pregnant for the 1st time at age 35, this wouldn’t seem so “old” to me. But I WAS pregnant in my twenties, so I have that to compare it to… Anyway, I don’t know if it’s my age or WHAT, but I’ve definitely never been this sick before. BLAH.

      • I think it must be a combination — my recent pregnancy with my fourth child kicked my butt in so many ways, even though I was still only 28/29 at the time. I FELT older, I LOOKED older, and then I had three older children to chase after every single day. My husband was commuting long distances as well, so it would be only me from 7am to 8pm most of the time. HARD.
        I felt really euphoric after I had her because I was NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.

  7. I’m a student at university, and at first, living in dorms, I was really strict about what stuff I allowed to be with me, and kept most of it at my parents’. Then I got my own flat, and I’ve been living here for nearly two years, and it’s become home, so I’ve got a lot more stuff here now. Sometimes this worries me, but then I think, well, I do have to live in it, and most of the stuff I have is books. I’m an English major, I think it’s okay for me to have a lot of books.

  8. I try to clean out the kids’ closets with the change of seasons, at least clean out the clothes section. My kids have biggish closets, which is a good thing – but it also means there are two Boppy pillows and a mobile in the closet of my nearly-three-year-old and that seems a little ridiculous. We are rapidly approaching a need to completely empty and start over in all our closets.

  9. Pingback: Updates to the 2011 To Do List « Life in Tiny Town

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