Closets, closets, closets

Last time I wrote about my plan to declutter our home.  It is definitely a work in progress.  But like all home projects, one thing leads to another.

It started with my switching my summer and winter clothes.  I was going through my clothing closet as I usually do, culling out the items that were too big, too worn, or that I really wouldn't wear again.  I am trying to be ruthless in my purging. 

Things were going well and then I realized that it had been over twenty years since I had everything out of the closet and had it painted.  So, on Sunday night I painted the interior of my closet. (My husband gave me a questioning look as to starting mixing the paint after dinner.  The look dissolved after I explained it was either I do it now or at 5 o'clock the next morning when I generally do home projects.  Seeing that the opening of the closet is close to the head of the bed, he wisely choose to remain silent with any other suggestions.) 

That led me to thinking perhaps I should reconfigure the space better.   In viewing the space, and short of having a contractor come in and knock down a few walls in order to widen it, I started looking at another upstairs closet.  That led to a thought, "Should I redo that closet to be my main closet and switch the items around?" That will probably lead to another project and so on and so on...

What is so difficult is that neither closet is a "normal" or average closet space. I have looked at the myriad of closets on Pinterest (and there are thousands more that I can peruse). I can not find any other closets that would match the size and scope of what I want to do.   So, it is hard to imagine how best to maximize the space without feeling overly cluttered.  Of course, after looking at all these pictures, I am wondering if people actually live in any of these pictures.  Are they seriously suggesting that people stack and keep stacked their color coordinated t-shirts on wire shelves with only slim wire dividers to hold things in place? 

I am still researching ideas as I am continuing to cull out the closets.  I really want to live into the quality not quantity ideal.  In putting the actual decision off for a bit while I am still sorting, I am hoping to eventually have an actual plan for the two closets and not just my wing and a prayer type of DIY.   I'll let you know how it goes.

What about you?  Have you ever redone a closet?  Did you use a closet system?  Is it still working?  What would you suggest as a plan for our main closet?  I would welcome your comments below. We don't plan on reconfiguring any walls or doing any major renovation, just want to reconfigure the interior to house hanging clothing (shirts, skirts, pants, dresses, blazers), shoes and handbags.  It is narrow- 30 inches across but deep- 88 inches deep. About 55 inches into the closet the 88 inch tall ceiling slopes down so that the back of the closet is only about 48 inches tall.  There had been two shelves in the back of the closet (you can see the wood side bars that held them up.  Also the two rods are the same height.  One of the issues I have is that currently I use both rods.  In order to access anything behind the first set of clothing rods, I have to duck down and waddle into the closet. I feel like I am going "to ground" like our terriers when they enter the wood pile after spotting their prey.  

Closet Project Number 1...

Closet Project Number 1...



Tidying Up

 l love the word tidying. It sounds so cute, so benign, so Goldilocks-ish.  It is a word that explains what you want to accomplish and how you go about it.  It evokes an activity that is not too strenuous nor too ineffective.  It is just right. 

There was a very interesting article in The New York Times Magazine about the author, Marie Kondo and her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".   Seems that Ms. Kondo has quite a following of people who swear by her methods.  Her whole premise is that the items in your household and eventually in one's life should bring you joy. 

Like so many ideas that abound, this is nothing new.  As I have posted before, the 18th Century English textile designer William Morris felt that one should have only beautiful and useful items in one's home.  Basically, only have things which bring you joy.   It makes sense that in order to appreciate those beautiful and useful things you have to be able to see and find them.  In essence, have a neat and tidy place.  But as with all things that seem simple, it is very hard to achieve. 

There are a myriad of books on the market about getting organized. There are a ton of organizational tools and systems. They all are a means to the end- getting rid of items in your life that take up valuable space, time and resources. What isn't necessarily mentioned in any of these processes is that in order to get rid of anything you have to sacrifice it.  You have to make a choice to remove the said item from your midst. I think there is the rub.  We cling to our things. We want it all. Even if something is not useful or beneficial we still want it around, "just in case." 

It is not only physical items.  We hold on to emotional baggage and mental images that only clutter our lives. For nothing less than to show that we have/had something-an emotional draining relationship, a self-pity party or a poorly acted upon decision.  It is almost as if we have to tightly grasp these situations to prove that we exist.   Even if it was/is harmful to our psyche, it was/is something nonetheless. 

I know for me, it is until things get to the point that I cannot stand the clutter that I will then be ruthless.  It is then that I say, "this needs to go".  Of course, everyone in our household has a different tolerance point of when things need to go and there too can be the rub. 

That's why I like the word tidy.  It seems doable.  I can work on the emotional, relational, and physical stuff that is cluttering my life. I don't have to do it all in one day.  Tidying seems to be a word that is done in smaller increments. I think, "I can talk to that person and straighten out one of our issues."  "I can let go and remove the worry scenario replaying in my mind." "I can tidy my office today and start on the corner of my basement tomorrow."

What about you?  Do you have a tidy life?  What do you do when things get messy? Does the clutter bother you?  At what point do you say, "this needs to go"?  Do you even notice clutter in your life? What is your method for tidying up?