As I mentioned last week, I’m pretty tidy when it comes to public spaces in our house. The kitchen is clean, the family room is picked up, and my office usually looks like I might be a wee bit scattered, but still basically clean and organized.
My bedroom, however, is a totally different story. Come, let’s venture where no mere mortal who isn’t either related to me or sleeping with me dares to tread.Here’s a mortifying “before” shot of my side of the bedroom. In addition to the unmade bed and the piles of who knows what on my nightstand (oh, I actually know what—for example, I see a purple cup that’d been sitting there for months, ewww), you can see, sort of, way at the back of that mess, a laundry basket that holds DVDs and CDs removed from our old entertainment center when we got a new one… at Christmas. And my suitcase, left there to languish since the last trip I took… over a month ago. On the far end of the bench is a pile of beach towels, which have now been there for so long it’s almost time to take them out again, hooray! Er, I mean, wow. I’m a slob. And the rest of the junk in this horrifying tableau is stuff either confiscated from the children or things I promised myself I’ll “put away later.” Later, of course, never comes until I can barely make my way to the bed each night, because I am a creature of habit and inertia and no one ever goes in there and who cares. My closet, which dwells on the other side of the wall where the bench sits, wasn’t much better. Let me tell you; I have the biggest closet I’ve ever had in my life, in this house, and whoever said that you expand to fill the space you have has obviously been in my closet. The shelves were full, the racks were laden, and yet I wear the same four or five outfits 95% of the time, so do not even ask me what all was in there. The closet was full to bursting with clothes and more “to be put away later” items and also my “gift closet” items (for those not in the know: I keep a stash of generic-ish gift items on hand for birthday parties, hostess gifts, etc., picked up cheap and saved to be used when needed) which used to live in a single box and had somehow migrated into fifteen different boxes.
Not pictured: The continuing horror, in the form of The World’s Most Giant Dresser (which was also stuffed with clothes) and also my deepest shame—my bathroom.
This house has his and hers bathrooms in the master. I know; it’s crazy. And before we bought the house I was all “Two bathrooms in the master? Are you kidding me?” Especially because nothing else about this house is that extravagant. It’s just a quirky thing. But I’ll confess I’ve come to love having a bathroom all to myself, and as my bathroom is actually pretty sizable and ALL MINE I have, over the years, taken to storing/leaving/stacking items in there, as well.
So that was my next project: Declutter the master bedroom and my bathroom, or be mocked by my long-suffering husband (who has been quietly wishing I would pick up my mess for years).
The specifics of how it all happened are probably uninteresting unless it amuses you to know that—as unsentimental as I am about just about everything else—I am apparently something of a hoarder when it comes to clothing. I had over 40 pairs of socks in my drawer. Why? I have no idea. I would buy new socks, but never threw away the old ones. (WTF, me?) I didn’t even have the heart to count my panties; I had underwear which was triumphantly purchased after returning to my pre-partum weight when my son was a baby. My son is now 10 years old. I had plenty of clothes I think I kept because they still fit me (even though the style was completely out of date) and a ton of clothes that didn’t even fit (thanks to the weight I lost). I had a lot of shoes I hadn’t worn in years. And I had a really impressive assortment of raggedy pajamas.
Goodwill scored big when I was done—five garbage sacks worth of clothes, and my closet and dresser (and bathroom, which had housed piles of unworn clothing) are now all breathing easier.
I also sorted through the papers and boxes and all the other miscellaneous crap, and cleaned up the floor of my closet as well as the bench and surrounding area. I even put away my suitcase! And then demanded that my husband be impressed!
Nope, there aren’t “after” pictures. Because once it actually felt like a bedroom, I found myself reluctant to post pictures of it on the Internet. Go figure.
Okay. Now here is the moral of my slobbolicious story: What is clean generally stays clean, and what is messy generally stays messy. At least around here. The bedroom languished because it was already a pit. But now that it’s clean, I find myself putting items away in their proper place almost compulsively. Heck, I did laundry today and put everything away as soon as each load came out of the dryer. That never happens. Clearly I sold my soul to the devil in exchange for a tidy bedroom.
What’s more, I don’t even care. I just plain feel better in a room that doesn’t constantly cry out to be cleaned. And being able to go into the closet and actually find what I’m looking for (without stubbing my toe on the crap all over the floor in there) is pretty nice, too.
Oh, I know one day I’ll be in a hurry or sick and I’ll leave something on the bench or in the bathroom “just for right now” and that will be the start of the long, slow slide back into Clutterville. It’s the circle of life. But for right now, I have to say that I’m feeling mighty pleased with myself. (Handy tip: Lose 10 pounds before cleaning out your closet. Makes it much more gratifying. And now that I got rid of my 10-pounds-heavier pants, if I put the weight back on I’ll be naked. And will have to hide in my closet. Good thing it’s all cleaned out, I guess.)