I offer you today photographic evidence that with the right help, you too can clean your closet. (Take a look at the before shot!)
In our last episode, I wondered out loud if this transformation would really be possible, given my upbringing and genetic make up and all, even with the hired help of a true professional, Cori Roffler of Declutter with Cori.
To prove to myself that I could do it, and to try do as much as possible before her arrival last Tuesday, I walked across the apartment, I put my hand on the door knob, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
I exhaled, closed the door, and walked back to my desk.
You may wonder how my closet ever reached that state. It’s very simple. To make my place look presentable to presentable guests, provided I had ample time to prepare, whatever I didn’t want guests to see I would stow in this closet, always with the mental footnote, “I will get to this.”
I never got to it. The closet became a metaphor for garbage I’ve stowed in the dusty cabinets of my mind. No amount of therapy can declutter a cobwebby brain. You can’t talk out the trash. You have to pick it up and hoist it to the garbage bins yourself.
Starting, that’s the hard part. Sometimes, you have to ask for help.
Wednesday morning, Cori arrived at 9am, right on time, armed with a box of garbage bags, and, as I think of it, not much else.
Following her advice, I did visualize throwing things out the night before, and didn’t lose too much sleep, as she said the less time spent deciding and more time acting would make the process happen much more quickly.
What happened next was all a big blur, but one by one, she began hauling objects large and small into different sections of my living room.
“Pay no mind to this,” she warned me. “This will look chaotic at first, but you’ll see how quickly it falls into place.”
So it turns out that this large box with crumpled up paper that I had saved for the last five years, I didn’t really need.
I mean, for example. Most of my closet ended up either in the trash, in the recycle bins, or on its way to Goodwill. Cori even provided its transportation!
Here’s what I did save:
- One set of Bilstein shocks for a Mazda MX-5. Who doesn’t need those?
- One set of springs to go around said shocks.
- Oil filters. Ladies, can a girl have enough oil filters?
- Bike parts, like extra seats, cog sets, blah blah.
- All of my sister’s and my childhood art that I had completely forgotten about.
- My friend Becki Reed’s and my musical that we wrote in highschool. It’s called Lapdog with a Vengeance, and actually I didn’t write it at all. I sat on a chair in her room and we’d throw out ideas, and everything I laughed at, she wrote down, and I laughed a lot. I guess you could call that a colloboration, but she did the actual writing, and the musical score is brilliant. It’s just too bad that she didn’t know how to write music, but I remember some of the melodies, and they are crazy! It’s a horror-musical flick about a brain swapped into the skull of a Ken doll, who then proceeds to go on a mad killing spree, destroying the entire town. It is an amazing work.
All of these are organized now into nice and tidy boxes.
The whole process took exactly two hours, which is only a fraction of what I expected. I ended up with a lot more closet space than I ever expected, too. I even hung up more clothes after this photo was taken, so this is no longer an accurate representation.
Now, I admit moments of weakness. There were times when I stared at my piles of junk and wondered, “How will I get through this?” and fought back a few tears, wondering if I might be trapped inside this dusty closet forever.
These moments did not last long, however, as I got wrapped up in the process. It helps that Cori is not one for small talk.
“Look,” I’d say. “My eight grade science project. I can’t believe it didn’t erode!”
Cori never wandered off task. She calmly kept me in line.
You just have to allow yourself the space, and clearly demark what you will save, recycle, and toss out. And then what you save, you organize into categories. You just keep going, cycling through the piles, moving items from one to another, until sooner or later, it almost starts to make sense, and then the next thing you know, you’re moving boxes and bags down into the garbage cans downstairs, and even when you don’t look at your closet, you feel lighter somehow, with less worries, like probably there isn’t anything you can’t do.
You’d think with this new found knowledge I should easily be able to tackle my “home office” on my own.
I don’t think so.