When I was a child, I had a wild imagination. I still pride myself on being creative and imaginative in my adult life. This innate inventiveness has certainly been helpful for life in a small apartment. When space isn’t readily available for the surprising tasks that may pounce on you from time to time, it is helpful to be able to come up with creative solutions. At first – however – I turned a blind eye to the chores lurking behind doors and around corners or underneath the aging utilities. When they began to pile up, I stuffed them into the bedroom closet, the living room closet, or the kitchen pantry and told myself I’d deal with them tomorrow.
Tomorrow came, and then the next day, and the next day, but the chores were left undealt with and new ones kept piling up on top of old ones. Finally, when I opened said closet to pull out whatever I had needed at that moment, the item was impossible to find among all the chores I had put off. This habitual procrastination – needless to say – was the opposite of a minimal, simplistic, and purposeful lifestyle. I can share with you honestly that this has been a learning curve for me, it was not something I had learned previous to moving into Sunrise Spot. Unlearning the habit and modifying my routine procrastination when it came to my closets took time and steadfast effort.
There is an art to keeping a closet tidy and ordered. It has taken me 26 years to figure out exactly how I’d like my closets to look – in ideal terms only – and I’m still working my way toward that goal. I have successfully modified my routine of procrastination when it comes to dealing with cluttered closets, however, and the stress caused by having that hodgepodge of unused and forgotten items secreted away is now gone.
Wendell Berry said: Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. My ideal closet is not full to the brim with belongings – I do not want to be surrounded by so much stuff that I forget what I have when taking a mental inventory. My ideal closet is probably only filled to only about one third to one half of its full capacity. I’d like to believe, loosely, that I’ve achieved this with my bedroom closet in Sunrise Spot.
How does imagination affect decluttering a closet? Dreaming up my ideal space for a closet was paramount. I also spent a great deal of time thinking about unique but purposeful things that could live in a closet without taking up the much-needed space. Taking a closer look at how this is achieved, I hang practically anything that isn’t a tee shirt or jeans. Delicate career shirts, fall and winter sweaters, cardigans in every shade of tawny, all assortments of tank tops – they are all on hangers, hung neatly in the corner of my closet. Jeans, tee shirts, unmentionables, socks, and other practicalities that are used on a daily basis are stowed away in my dresser for safe-keeping. This way, neither the dresser nor the closet are too overwhelmed with clothing. In my closet, there is just enough space for a short and narrow wooden dresser that houses Sawyer’s unmentionables, tees, and pants to be tucked into one side of the closet while the hanging clothing is able to fit comfortably on the opposite side. When I open my closet, I enjoy being able to see the wall inside, and this allows me to do so.
In my bedroom closet, there is a built-in shelf above the hanging bar for clothing. I have found this to be particularly useful in a variety of ways. One of the foremost appreciations I have for this shelf: the kittens have yet to claim it as their own. It is the recherché of space, set aside for only Sawyer and I to use (at least for now). Thus, I keep memorabilia such as unframed photographs, letters and cards sent from friends and Sawyer boxed up and stored on the shelf. There are spare sheets folded neatly on the shelf next to a small basket of power cords and connector cables. Perhaps the strangest of closeted items a vintage snow globe that my late grandmother had given me as a gift. I find no reason why the closet, in all its utilitarian glory, shouldn’t and couldn’t be as simple and beautiful as the rest of my little nest. Everything has it’s place. It is in my ability to be in control of my surroundings.
Modifying my routine of out-of-sight out-of-mind procrastination, I have been able to alter my surroundings to match the more simple, purposeful way of life that I strive toward. I have discovered that, even though we may feel as though our lives are spinning out of our control at times, our homes never have to be that way. We are always in control of our own spaces, and therefore, I took control in order to change my habits for the better. Opening my closet doors doesn’t fill me with dread anymore; in fact, I feel joy when opening a door, as I know that behind it, I will see beauty even if it’s just an old snow globe. I couldn’t be more thankful for the small change I’ve made here.