Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Closet Cleaner

I wish I could confess that I am the best housekeeper in the world.

I do like a clean house, and there are some things I do "just so". I could tell you my housekeeping efforts are all about having a beautiful house that is pristine and always clean... but just between you and me, it's more about power! and control! (said gleefully with a look of intrigue... and perfectly waxed eyebrows)

How do I know this? Well, I remember the day (not so long ago) I came home and that sweet man of mine had rotated the silverware holder to the right 90 degrees, just so you didn't have to reach way into the drawer to grab a butter knife: "It's hard on the hand"says he.

I wouldn't say I had a conniption, but I wasn't real sweet either. I vaguely remember saying something about the kitchen being "mine" and "how would he like it if I came to his work and re-arranged his desk?"...I did eventually acquiesce and see things from his point of view...but it took a couple of days to not mutter under my breath when I went to make toast.

He would also say I have "laundry issues." I would call it "organization". I would say that they have to be folded a certain way so that all those clean, fluffy towels all fit into the cupboard correctly, and also, they should be color coordinated... so when you open the linen closet it looks nice. Because you never know who might knock on your door at any minute and run up the stairs and open up your linen closet in need of a towel folded the "right" way.

It doesn't matter that under the towel shelf (in that same closet) is the blanket shelf, which is overflowing and a complete disaster (not to mention not color-coordinated). It is so out of order that you have to push really hard to get the closet to completely close. However, for some reason in the winter months, I can let this go...mostly because that shelf is on eye level with my children who decide each night that they are cold...and each morning they re-decide that that blanket didn't work, and should try out a new one. Somewhere in "the mind of Kellie" I decided if a task looks too hard to gain control of the best course of action is to simply ignore it. Maybe someone will magically appear and clean it...or maybe one day you will accidentally make your coffee way to strong and have a caffeinated surge of energy that creates a "fantastic idea" to get those blankets back to it's color-coded glory. Of course these things always lend itself to more work...Cause you can't possibly just do one'd have to organize the whole thing...this is why it is best to just ignore it.

However somethings you can't ignore...even if you try real hard. Yesterday I cleaned the fridge. Something had died in there. I had waited a couple of days in hopes that the box of Arm N Hammer would do the job I hired it to do, but there wasn't enough arm to hammer that stench. I couldn't find anything that was causing this odor, but when I was done it smelled more like a fridge-a-daire ought to...

This morning the coffee was so good I was glad I made half a pot. I always make a half a pot, but usually only drink 9/10ths of it. This half-pot habit is from the good ole Texas days when 4 out of 5 days of the week I would share that pot with a friend. After I drank the coffee (which is really only three cups worth) I had a "fantastic idea."

Honestly, it was planted there by one of my Texas coffee "regulars" when she mentioned yesterday that she had done a complete overhaul of her downstairs but still needed to get to organize that dreaded under-the-stairs-closet.

The closet under my stairs had needed to be cleaned out since the day after we unpacked the moving boxes almost one year ago. It had become the place I threw things that I didn't want to deal with, from arts and crafts stuff and unopened bank statements (yikes!) to that one afternoon last year when we came home from the last day of school with two huge brown paper bags filled with the contents of a 7 year olds desk...quite frankly I am surprised we didn't have a stench there too.

Why is it that projects always seem so fun when you start? But when you get that closet unloaded and out on your family room floor you begin to wonder why in the world this idea sounded so "fantastic". I found myself having thoughts like "This is some great Spring Cleaning...too bad spring won't be here for another three months, by then you will have to do this all over again."

I separated all the crayons from the markers and pencils and gel pens and put them in separate boxes and got out my label maker machine and labeled each box accordingly (this didn't work so well when the kids didn't know how to read). Nobody actually reads those labels but me....but it makes me feel hopeful, plus when people come over it gives the appearance that your organized. Even though the truth is if you open the door any other day you are taking your life into your own hands.

Now, three hours later, I have completely re-organized the arts and crafts closet/storage unit/pit. It took me so long that the coffee buzz had worn off and I had to start in on the Diet Coke to finish.

Now, for about two hours before anyone comes home I can sit there and enjoy how everything is in it's place. Color-coded, labeled, and may I say, oh-so-beautiful. Of course this is alot like a wedding or a thanksgiving meal: what took hours to fix can be (and will be) undone so fast you can't see it happening with the naked eye. I feel like re-arranging that blanket shelf...

Nope, it smells fine and I can still get the door closed...I'll just ignore it.


Lara said... make me laugh so hard I'm going to log it as exersice on

Anonymous said...

my "closet" that most needed organizing was my budgeting (arghhh!). Since Jan 1 is my favorite day to clean and reorganize I added the overdue budget to the list. It was the very last thing I did and it wasn't until Jan 8th that it actually got done, but it feels good to have that mountain of paper and receipts put where it belongs. I need to take a picture of my clean "office area" just like I did the rest of the house once it was clean on New Years weekend. Around here the only proof that anything ever was exactly where it is supposed to be is to take a picture of it. Now I can relive the memories......after I manage to get my scrapbook pile whittled down........