In case you didn’t read my last entry, I’m in the process of organizing my fiancée’s closet with the Configurations Closet system. I love her to death but she’s chronically messy and causes me endless organizational grief. I’ve dedicated my next few entries to tactics that have helped me get her Closet organized. My first entry dealt with “build her interest/momentum” which was crucial for the take off of the project. But to keep it in the air we need to attack the mess.
Yes, I know that all of us organized folk believe in the mantra “clutter kills.” You can’t create an open, zen-like space if you insist on storing piles of “things” in it. Being someone who has moved seven times over the last five years I’ve learned to pack light. If I haven’t used it in the past twelve months….its given away to family, the poor or the insatiable recycle bin. But how does this help me with my pack rat lady? She has literally kept all her pencil cases from High School…. not just one for the safe keeping….all five!
The key here is to ratchet down from kill to stun. When I get all “high and mighty” about getting rid of her shoes that haven’t seen the light of day since the late nineties….I turn her right off. Any momentum I’d achieved with the closet design site is gone and he she returns to her cluttered shell. Yes I want to “kill” a third of her footwear but really all I care about is that they don’t spill out of her closet into our bedroom.
The insight: don’t needlessly provoke her. Don’t fight battles that you can’t win. Ensure her that you’re not throwing anything out and only packing it away in totes, labeling them and storing them in a secondary location. This could be a basement, a garage, another large utility closet….just anywhere besides your bedroom. Don’t kill the clutter….stun it.
In my particular situation, the secondary location is my basement. My house was built 100 years ago and so the basement is extremely….medieval (see picture). It’s dusty, damp and even has some sand. As a result the tote of choice for me is the traditional Rubbermaid Roughneck. They can survive extreme temperatures and their snap-on lids have such a tight seal that no dust or sand gets in.
Using this method I’ve been able to move out 70% of the items that were in her closet, leaving only the current season’s rotation. In doing this, she extracted a commitment that I will go in the basement and retrieve any of the things I packed away whenever she wants.
A coup for her….but well worth it…I’ve got my eye on the big prize.
And by the way….what do you think of my “stun instead of kill” insight? Am I on to something or am I just slowly loosing the battle while deluding myself?
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