Earlier this year, we shared some of our new year’s resolutions with you, but one that we didn’t share (partly because it’s more of a goal/plan than a resolution) is to clean out all the storage areas of our house this year. More specifically, over the next 6 months, I’m cleaning out one room, or group of rooms, each month. This involves going through any closets, drawers, cabinets, or other storage areas in that area and purging anything we don’t need or regularly use. Everything goes into a keep pile, a consignment shop/Craigslist pile, a donate pile, or a trash pile. Most items end up in either the consignment pile or the donate pile.
January was bedrooms month, so I went through everything in the guest room (aka the dog/storage area) one weekend and everything in our bedroom the other (the third bedroom is used as a media/hang out room, so it gets purged another month). Cleaning out our bedroom was relatively boring because we don’t have a lot of excess in there. I got rid of a few pairs of shoes and some t-shirts, but that was about it.
The guest room, on the other hand, was a different story. I have a chest of drawers in there that had a lot of old clothes and random items (like some candles and a picture frame in the top drawer ???). My very unused desk is also in there. There wasn’t much excess in it, but it hadn’t been organized since we moved in, so I did that. Mostly, that desk just gets opened twice a month: once when we pay the first-of-the-month bills and once when we pay the middle-of-the-month bills (the two times we need the checkbook).
Anyway, the major project of January was the guest room closet. Were I a better person, I would send out personal, handwritten apology notes to anyone who stayed with us over the holidays when that closet (and the floor near it) was a disaster zone of leftover holiday decorations, odds and ends from our bathroom remodel, and lots of clothes that I haven’t worn in 5 years. It was awful, I tell you.
Here’s what I was dealing with at the start of the closet purge (I took off the doors for your viewing pleasure).
And a close up.
Pretty bad, huh? We’re pretty clean people, but we sometimes have the bad habit of just letting clutter behind closed doors be ignored (you know, while we veg out on the couch watching Parks and Recreation or something). So I didn’t have to do any major cleaning (yipee!), just major organizing and straightening.
First was the make-a-bad-thing-worse-before-it-gets-better step of pulling everything out and putting it into aforementioned piles. Next was the fun step of going through some keepsakes. Ed will attest that I like to throw things away (often things I still need) more than the average person. Therefore, I don’t have a lot of keepsakes. I don’t have boxes of old love notes, remnants of flowers from boyfriends gone by, Kristen & ________ B.F.F. lockets, and so forth. Not a one. But I do have a few things left over from high school and college in a box, so I spent a little time going through that.
Here are the highlights. 1) I was (and am) not cool. Proof: I was in a piano competition for a scholarship to my piano conservatory. That’s right, I didn’t just take piano lessons; I took them at a conservatory at a college. I still remember this boy, whom I regularly performed with in recitals and competitions, who wore white gloves prior to our recitals to keep his hands warm. I didn’t wear gloves, but I did sit on my hands to keep them warm. Only uncool people are concerned if their hands are too cold to properly play the piano.
Further proof: I got a superior (the highest) rating in a different piano competition for the seventh year in a row. I was one of those people.
2) I was not a fashionista, but I tried sometimes. Proof: I wore this number to my senior prom. Just in case you can’t tell, it is a black dress to the knees, but below the knees it is just mesh with beads in a floral pattern. The same is repeated on the back, making for see-through back and below-the-knees sections. Also, I’m wearing elbow-length black gloves with rhinestones on them and pantyhose with open-toed shoes. I’m pretty sure I thought this was the sexiest thing I had ever put on. Ed has yet to ask me to wear this, proving my idea of sexiness is misguided.
3) My dad is cooler than your dad. In college (at Auburn University), my dad was one of the eagle trainers/caretakers, meaning he fed and worked with the eagle every day. Like all birds, eagles shed their feathers from time to time. When I was a child, my dad had a shoebox full of these feathers that he collected over time. He gave me one, and I still have it. It isn’t in perfect condition anymore, but it’s 35ish years old, so I think that’s okay. It’s hard to tell, but it’s about a foot long.
4) I was once adorable (and almost bald).
I also found some of our wedding stuff. I found some extra napkins from the groom’s table. We’re big Mississippi State fans, so we had an MSU-themed groom’s table with cowbells, MSU ice cream, and these cute napkins. It sounds tacky, I know, but trust me, it was awesome. People still ask me about that MSU ice cream.
Lest I travel too far down memory lane, I’ll stop there. Other notable finds included our huge board game collection of three, a big pile of slap bracelets we use for our every-now-and-then 90s parties, and some books.
Back to the purging. I had a lot of clothes that went to the donate/consignment pile, a few that went to the keep pile, and a lot of stuff that got moved to its proper place. For example, all those paint cans? They went to the basement and are now on the leftover-paint shelf. That big box housed something we bought at Lowe’s but ended up not really liking, so we took it back for a refund. And all those video tapes? They went from this space-eating version
to this boxed up version.
Ed insists we keep them even though we don’t have a working VCR. If I’m the purger, he’s definitely the keeper. Ahem. It took about 3 hours to get everything organized, but pretty soon, I had this.
Just in case this picture gives you the impression that I dress up (ever), you should know that these are clothes used for weddings and occasional fancy dinners out of town. And suits for job interviews. I don’t go in here very often. My real clothes are in our bedroom. I realize you can’t see much in there, so I’ve marked up this photo for you. The closet is quite long, extending behind the walls, so I’ve got a lot stored back there. And once I take the clothes on the right to the consignment shop, there should be plenty of room for guests to hang a few things when they visit.
I have no idea why the light is making the wall look so yellow at the top of the picture, but it’s making me think a sunny color in there could be a good thing. Eventually all our walls won’t be white in the bedrooms, but for now, this is what we have.
Have you purged anything lately? Getting rid of unnecessary items just makes my heart go pitter pat. What about yours?
And in case you don’t understand why we had cowbells on our MSU groom’s table, it’s because we have the best college tradition ever. You can read about that here.