Friday, August 10, 2007

Is that R. Kelly in there, behind the flannel?

I lead a very cluttered existence. Not only is my brain a jumble of thoughts - and it really is amazing that I'm able to write this blog at all, what with all the riff raff throwing loud toga parties in there - but my home is becoming increasingly disorganized and chaotic with each passing day. Especially since Chicky came along, and with her came all the crap you need to keep a baby happy and healthy (read: Annoyingly loud primary-colored plastic toys) but she's not the only one to blame. Through the years I've adapted to Mr. C's way of dealing with clutter: as long as there is a path from the bed to the bathroom to the kitchen and out the door there's no problem. Clutter? What clutter? I don't see any clutter. La la la laaahh.

Every flat surface is covered with something - I have no idea what that something is half the time - and our closets are overflowing with more stuff. Now, stuff is a very important word here, because as I said before, I have no idea what most of the crap (stuff) is or why we have it (the stuff).

My dream is to live in a home where injury is not risked by opening a closet door, where pots and pans are easily found without toppling over the All-Clad and Calphalon mountain, and where counter tops can be actually used for preparing food and not for holding the overload of... well, stuff. I'm hoping by living with less physical clutter I'll also be able to start unjumbling my mind.

Unjumbling. Not a word, but that just shows you how fecked up my head can be. Unjumbling sounds perfectly fine to me. Oh yes it does.

But with so much disorganization it's hard to know where to start. The simplest of tasks leads me right into a landmine that will surely blow up to be a major home remodel. We need to add a new wing to the house! We'll call it "The Stuff Wing"! That makes perfect sense!

This is all made worse by the fact that I am the supreme ruler of the pack rats and have an extremely hard time throwing anything away. I suppose that's the danger in being middle class: We have just enough money to buy things but when a certain possession outlives its usefulness I can't pitch it. It could possibly be used for something else one day.

(But, but... That extra long woman's sport coat from the 80's, the ones with the shoulder pads you could use to fly a plane with, that could come into style. Or maybe I could just sew the shoulder pads together and use them as a body pillow.)

I have gotten better. The sheer number of toys that Chicky has acquired has forced me to make some changes. We didn't do it this spring, but I'm really hoping to have a yard sale this fall to get rid of some of the junk exquisite items we don't use anymore. And I've brought more bags of clothes (mine and Mr. C's) to the Salvation Army than I can count. So that's a start.

It's just not enough, however. I need to make some serious changes or the mounds of clutter will just topple over and bury me one day.

Let me show you what I mean.

(I'm going to hate myself for showing you these pictures but this is how desperate I am for help.)

Scares you, doesn't it?

This picture does not do the clutter justice. Seriously. When I walk past my closet I swear something reaches out and tries to grab me.

Let's break it down into sections.

(And you can click the pictures for a better look. It really should be experienced in all its glory.)

Here's the shoes and my past feeble attempts at organization:

The pants and skirts section:

1.) I'm pretty sure there's dress pants back there. Maybe. 2.) More khaki than any woman should have. I sold my soul to Eddie Bauer. 3.) Cute skirts that I hardly ever wear because they're too cute to wear. 4.) Jeans, jeans and more jeans! They're jean-arific! 5.) Felted bag that my Nana made that I never use. 6.) I think those are sweaters but, honestly, I fell asleep while looking at them.

The Shirts and Sweaters:

1.) Flannel. Holy hell, I still have flannel in my closet. What am I, a lumberjack? 2.) Cute sleeveless shirts that never stay on the freaking hangers. 3a and b.) Way too many sweatshirts. 4.) Yawn.

The place where things go to die section:

1.) Do not adjust your monitors, that is, in fact, my letterman's jacket from high school. I have a good reason for that being there, promise. 1b.) I'm feeling really old right now. 2.) I think there are some dresses way back there but they're hard to see with my youth standing in the way. 3.) Fringe, need I say more? 4.) Another shot of my youth, uh, flannel. Plus! Three fleece vests and a puffy down vest! Yes! I work with dogs for a living! How did you know?!

The sad thing about it all, I cleaned up my closet for these pictures. This is my closet at its most tidy.

Somebody help me.

(To be continued...)


S said...

You need that Australian dude who declutters people's spaces on TLC. Y'know, the one who makes the couple with the scarily messy house (which yours, BTW, is NOT) cry every single time, because the source of their messiness is always some kind of deep-seated trauma?

Yeah. Well.

painted maypole said...

wow... that is almost as bad as my closet. Seriously. I cannot possibly take pictures of it. But I am glad to know that there are others out there like me. We have lots of paths in our home from door to bed, door to couch, etc.

flutter said...

Um, that looks pretty organized to me, I should be afraid, huh?

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Flutter: I shouldn't have cleaned it up. I should have just left it the way it was, alarmingly disorganized. But my OCD got the better of me.

Phoenix said...

Personally it looks really organized to me. Mine is all on the floor and when I need something, I have to send in a search party.

The fringe scares me a bit. I however have my prom dress still in plastic from the dry cleaners in mine. Not sure why exactly, maybe one day it will go in a museam. Yes, a museam all about me. ;)

Lara said...

you need lady m. she's the most organized person i've ever known. she could help anyone. seriously.

Anonymous said...

I can't take my eyes off the varsity letter jacket. Because it really and truly bothers me that I no longer have either one of the powder yellow spring jackets that I coveted with all my heart and finally earned. I have my varsity letter, but I don't have my sweater. And dammit, I wish I still had all of that stuff. Just for posterity.

So there's something to be said for being a pack rat. Besides the possible TV show appearances, that is.

Lawyer Mama said...

Um, honey, you should come see my closets.

I love those red sandals!

Everydaytreats said...

But your closet has "sections"! That, in and of itself, is impressive.

Cate said...

You are brave for posting those. But I've definitly seen worse. Maybe even here in my own house.

This is probably an obvious solution to everyone in the universe except me, but recently I packed away all my winter clothes. I'm going to rotate them. You could try that --- all those sweaters and flannel could go hide out for a few months.

Hang on to the flannel, we're due for a 90s fashion revival any day now.

Major Bedhead said...

Ok, here's my take on it.

Anything that you haven't worn for at least a year needs to get tossed. Anything that doesn't fit you needs to get tossed. Anything that is out of style (like tapered trousers or *ahem* fringed things) needs to get tossed. Put your high school jackets in a box and put them in the attic. Anything else you are keeping for sentimental reasons, put in a box, don't keep it in the closet.

Be ruthless. If you can't do it alone, invite a ruthless friend over to help you.

And start wearing those skirts.

karengreeners said...

Honestly, I don't think that's so bad. at least the stuff is ON the hangers. My clothes are folded nicely... in laundry baskets and on the chair because they never actually make it into the closet.

Plus, what the hell are All-Clad and Calphalon?

Julie Pippert said...

I'm normally really good about the 2 year rule but with the weight gain, weight loss and pregnancies mixed in to the last 5 years...errr, I've gotten a bit out of hand, myself.

I've hauled a bunch away to the women's shelter...but still, some of it...I keep hoping. I think maybe I'll fit in...

So I don't know if I am any help.

But maybe use the 2 year rule...and think of those people who need it more than your hanger...


And BTW, it doesn't look too bad! Just like a lot, but at least mostly organized.

So I'm assuming you want less stuff not more organization.

P.S. What's up with the cleaning theme today? You, Sarah, Me...who did I miss?

Ravin' Picture Maven

Kizz said...

Oh man, please don't feel bad about this. This is, truly, not bad. It may be not what you want but it's simply not that bad. I took a deep breath and poured out some pictures of what has become of my mother, who is a pack rat of the highest order. Go check those out and I think you'll feel both freer about what it looks like now and more motivated to do a little organizing. (Sorry I don't know how to simple up the link.)

Girlplustwo said...

i actually see a lot of empty hangers. seems like you should forget all this and just go shopping.

Anonymous said...

Well I feel better..I keep picturing everyone in the blogging world as WAAAY better at life than me.

Thanks for posting those pics!
Our closet is the same.
I can't show you photos of Caity's closet because we can't open it.

kittenpie said...

OMG this sounds like my house, but better organized. We do in fact have a junk room - for now. Part of the aim of this fall's Great Room Shuffle is going to be to try and organize and throw out vast quantities of STUFF. Ugh. It's killing me. I hate that there are no surfaces in my house. We are, in fact, BOTH packrats, and it makes it even worse that we work with kids, so anything COULD be a craft project... Gah!

SUEB0B said...

You are hilarious with the fringe and all.

This is my 100% true advice: when you begin getting rid of things, more wonderful things will start coming your way. I promise!!

Christina said...

But at least your clothes are IN your closet, and not piled in baskets and on top of your dresser, and one load in the dryer that has been there for days. That's the constant state around here.

Clothes ON hangers - now that's impressive to me.

I feel your pain, my fellow pack rat.

OhTheJoys said...

I just open the closet door and chuck it in there at this point.

moosh in indy. said...

I'm all about the six month six rule.
If you haven't worn it in six months, and it doesn't go with at least six other things then it goes. No questions asked. (Unless it's something so totally awesome that you want to gag Chicky with in 15 years. Then it goes in a nostalgia box)

carrie said...

Having just recently purged my closet of all things flannel, I can totally sympahize.


Anonymous said...

While cleaning our our closets a few months ago, I innocently asked my husband if we could get rid of his letterman's jacket... you would have thought I was asking him to give up his firstborn child.

So I (through him) can sympathize with you on that one.

That being said, our closet is still a mess. I've given up on organization. :)

Jane, P&B Girls

Adrienne said...

I'll take the cute red sandals off your hands.

There, that's a start.

Anonymous said...

I'm liking the dress you have hanging on the door...we're about the same size, right? Hint, hint...


You're a brave woman. You'd have to bend me over and tie me up before I posted pics of my mess for you to snicker at.

Mommin' It Up! said...

I was about suicidal until you admitted you cleaned before taking the pictures. That was a CLOSE one! You don't want that on your conscience do you? My closet is waaaay worse than that, and I also live in Clutter World. World O' Clutter. Junky Town. Take your pick.

Lisa said...

Moosh makes a good point but your closet isn't that bad. (Wait, are you going to throw one of those shoes at me now?) Actually? This makes me adore you all the more.

Gray Matter Matters said...

Ok Chicky, first of all, those ladies who are telling you it's not so bad...they're lying. I can say that with all candor because mine look identical. My greatest fantasy isn't a live-in masseuse or winning the lottery, it's to have a dumpster pull up to my house with chutes from every room and be able to toss things with reckless abandon. Yeah, that's the stuff, Daddy.

Namito said...

Like your hangers.

One year rule is a lifesaver. Truly. I just don't know what to do with the trash-bags of sentimental t-shirts from beyond space and time that we have stashed somewhere in the storage area that we can no longer walk into.

If you wear your cute skirts I'll wear mine. Just have to find someplace to wear them...

Bri said...

I second rotating winter/summer clothes, it's the only way I keep even remotely organized. Also, take out all the items you're not wearing (but can't get rid of)and put them in a rubbermaid tub and store them. Look at them again in 6 months to a year, I find it easier then to let "stuff" go (usually because I've forgotten I have it). Frankly, I'm living with paths from bed to bathroom to fridge to door ever since I moved to a new apartment this summer, so I'm not really in a position to give advice, but my closet is the only thing clean and organized right now. Sorry, this ended up being long-winded, I'll check back and see how it goes.

St. Louis, MO

Anonymous said...

How about the hand-me-downs from friends/family with children older than yours?

By the time my four year old fits into hand-me-down size 7s, they'll be out of style.

Just say NO.

I'm thinking Salvation Army - my friend doesn't want them back.

Anonymous said...

This is gonna sound totally ridiculous ... but I crave some of your wonderful clutter Mrs. C.

I'm married to a neat-freak, mimimalist art director. It looks like no one lives in our house. We have very little "stuff".

But I have gotten into it a bit over the years. Every season I go through my closet and if I haven't worn it then it gets donated to charity. So that keeps the closets from overflowing.

But the rest of the house ... oh your clutter sounds fabulous.

BOSSY said...

Fer chrissake, Bossy loathes clutter and is very Nazi-esque when deciding what in her house should go... except... when ... it comes to her clothes closet.

Because you never know when you may want to wear that dress that will never fit again or that hideous belt that is slightly wider than something seen on a Pro Wrestler.

Jenifer said...

Hey at least your closet has similar stuff together! Mine is a heck of a lot worse. I have my clothes mixed in with hubs, boxes from when we moved that, who knows, could have like kitchen utensils in them or something... scary.

Cathy, Amy and Kristina said...

I watch Clean Sweep and I weep. In envy.

ewe are here said...

AT least your clothes are divided up by 'type', right? That's a start!


mo-wo said...

We are trying to get our nerve up to do a proper garage sale and empty our old furniture, no really it is solid wood, but we don't necessarily like any of it refuge.

Clothes, they're the worst. When I lose the kids stuff now, I'm generally happier.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Your closet is my dream "after" photo.

Things live in my closet. Hairy clumps of hanger-less shirts tumbled with ivory hose, chunky-heeled square-toed shoes sitting atop piles of high-waisted pleated trousers.

If "clutter" were an art form, I'd be Picasso. Van Gogh. Oh, the things I can do with mail.

I mean no offense, but you're a novice in the cluttering arts, my dear.

Rusti said...

Chicky I think you may be my other half... although I'd be the worse half - because my mess of clothes and shoes isn't in my closet - it's spread all over the spare bed... and it's driving my husband nuts... maybe I should post pictures for you... or maybe not - then everyone would know the truth about me... I'm a messy pack-rat slob of a housewife :) Oh well!!

Damselfly said...

When you find closet peace (you know what I mean), please let me know because my closet looks a lot like yours!