Clean Out Your Closet; Change Your Life
I don’t know about you, but when I think “Spring” I automatically think “Clean.” Those two go together like wine and chocolate, or oysters and champagne, or Harry and Sally. And what better way to start a spring clean, than with closets, credenzas, and dressers? I LOVE a good closet re-organization. It’s satisfies me to my very bones to toss all those unneeded items, and organize what’s left so it is beautiful and functional. I’m going to be blogging about it all month. Consider it my ode to a closet!
I get a lovely little thrill from walking through my home, and the homes of my clients, and opening up closets I’ve organized to PURE ORDER. Ahhhh. Can you smell the lavender sachets, too? For just a brief moment, it feels like all is right with the world.
If you’re reading this, and worrying that you don’t have enough storage, or you don’t have the right kind of storage, or you just feel overwhelmed, this is the month for you! I’ll show you how to love and maximize the storage you have, by taking you step-by-step through a variety of closet types: the supply closet, the dining room credenza, the cleaning closet, the guest room closet, the man closet, the medicine cabinet, and maybe even a few more. We’ll get crazy! And if you just can’t wait to get started, you can check out my earlier blogs on closet organization here, here, and here. As you can tell, I kind of like writing about this topic.
As we go through this month, I would be absolutely OVERJOYED if you sent me before and after pictures of your closet re-organizations, too. Post your comments, and send your questions. I would love to hear from you!
I also want you to know that it wasn’t too long ago that I lived in an apartment on my own, with completely overstuffed closets. Not many guests came over, because I was too busy working and wallowing to invite people into my life, but if one had come over, they wouldn’t have seen a thing out of place. On the surface, all appeared to be neat, tidy, and together— just like I did. Ha!
But, if you were to open any one of my closets, something would have hit you in the face. I had sliding doors on one of my closets and the whole thing bowed out so much that the doors actually came off the rails one day and fell on me, too. I’m pretty sure I was trying to put my thesis draft in it.
This is what they call the moment of truth, Readers! Things had literally come off the rails. I was nearly crushed by my closet door. I laughed and cried all at the same time.
That was not a great time in my life. At 25, I was pining away over an ex-boyfriend with whom I’d long ago parted ways, I was dating all the wrong guys, and then I was dating no one at all. The only silver lining was that I was nearly done with my first year of graduate school, and I’d done well. But I didn’t have even the faintest idea of what I would next.
It’s not surprising my writing during that time was fairly dark. In fact, some readers who knew me then have said, “Your writing is so funny. I didn’t know you could write that way. You always wrote those intense stories of lonely women with painful misadventures.” We write what we know, people!
I was ready to write a new story. I was ready to channel my inner Nora Ephron. (Marie Kondo was still in grade school!) The elevator speech would go something like this: “Girl organizes closets. Girl finds love, success, and adventure.” Sounds good right?
That year, instead of spending summer break drinking beers at Lake Padden, I spent it dealing with my closets. I opened each one and, for the first time, I really looked at what was in all those bins, boxes, and shelves. As I confronted each one, and let so many things go, I let a lot of emotional stuff go, too.
What happened next? Well, the week after I finished cleaning out my closets I got together with a guy in my graduate program who I’d completely overlooked when I was shored up with all that crap. It turns out, he liked me all along! Who knew? I let him in, and we had an amazing year. I published an essay in a literary journal I never imagined would consider my work, and I wrote a thesis I was proud to share. At the end of the year, I said yes to a waitressing job in Glacier Park, because what I most wanted next was to spend some time in the woods. That summer in Montana is one I will never forget.
Some days, I still think of what might have happened if I hadn’t cleaned out those closets. I may still be stuck in that lonely apartment, writing sad poetry and wondering what on earth to do with myself.
And the amazing thing is, I firmly believe that de-cluttering and re-organizing can cause transformation for everyone, and that is why I became an organizer. So if you are ready to face the closets in your life, you’re in the right place.