Keep, Pitch, Blog


When my friend Jenny is deep-cleaning her life, she has three categories: Keep, Pitch, and Donate.  Scott and I are digging out from under our own hoarders lifestyle, and I’m trying very hard to emulate Jenny’s example. Keep, Pitch, Donate.

Only I don’t think that’s enough categories for me. We’re working on our bedroom, and for my clothes alone, I needed eight classifications:

Dear God It Has Holes In It: Pitch
Christ that’s ugly, but somebody could still use it: Donate
It still fits me but I hate it: Dona…no Pitch…no no … decide later.
In Season: Keep
Out of Season: Keep
Holy Shit When Did I ever Buy One of THOSE?
Good Lord I’ve Been Looking Everywhere For That!
And
Hey! Look! It’s my Killer Nashville Shirt.

It was worse in the kids bathroom last week, when there was more than one type of object to evaluate:

In there, I had

Out of date opiates: Return to pharmacy [they sent me home with some heavy shit that I never used when I had my hysterectomy. I put them in the back-top of the linen closet and forgot them. The kids were never close to them. The Sam’s Club pharmacist just looooked at me when I handed them over].
Out of date shampoo: Pitch
Out of date (ugh, what IS that? Why is it so sticky? I can’t even see the label): Pitch
Towels
Towels with Holes (rag bag)
The Towel Sam Likes to Chew On After He Gets Out of The Tub (Keep until replaced)
Hand towels
Washcloths
Cleaning agents
Random medical supplies (not out of date)
Bag Balm (three tubs – each no doubt purchased when I couldn’t find the last one)
And
Tiny soaps (age uncertain; put in kids’ tub)

Part of the problem here is that I am a cataloger by trade, a librarian who MUST organize things down to their nth degree or not at all. I don’t just want to be able to find the red book on the shelf. I want to find the red book with the gold print down the spine and the little dog bite in one corner. Right where it was the last time.

I have the desire for Library of Congress Classification accuracy in a life that is always going to be Dewey-Decimal-at-best. And knowing that, I therefore struggle to even achieve Dewey.

When sorting my shirts, I had to go through three times, each time winnowing what I could not live without. Some of my shirts were so holey they couldn’t possibly survive another washing. (How can I get rid of something I love so much?) Some of them so awkward they’d only been worn once. (How can I get rid of something I feel so much guilt over?) And some of them I’d forgotten I owned. (How can I get rid of something that I never even gave a chance?) In the end, I got down to around thirty t-shirts. (That category being the worst offender; every other type of clothing gets one drawer at most. But my short sleeved shirts get two.)

In this quest for order, the only thing that gives me hope is also the thing that makes it harder. Scott struggles with the same things. The SAME things. He has shirts in worse condition than mine (but they’re so SOFT! We both sleep in those!) and clothing overload in a variety of other categories as well.

We got through the drawers on Monday. Six bags of donations went out to the car. Today, we start on our closet, an overloaded nightmare of a walk-in room. Technically, it’s big enough to hold  all our hanging clothes plus a dresser. In reality? It looks like a scene out of Poltergeist.

I'm sure Frodo and the ring of doom are in one of those boxes

Linda is coming over a noon. She thinks she’s going to pick our brains about something. Really? She’s going to come to the rescue should one of us get lost in there.

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18 thoughts on “Keep, Pitch, Blog

  1. My mother had a closet that went into the eves of the house. At Chrstmas we would hide he sibs gifts in there. One year, we got really smart and put batteries in the toys only to discover 1 walking dog fell over and walked and barked the battery to death. The closet was such a disaster no one dared to venture into the closet to rescue the toy and it’s batteries before Christmas. Battery’s given seperately.

    • Yes! I wish I didn’t have such emotional attachment to clothing. Seriously, THIRTY t-shirts. Am I going to wear one a day without washing them? It’s worse than my husband’s grad-school underpants theory. (He had 15 pairs. When he was down to putting on the last one, it was time for laundry day.)

  2. Man, I have so much trouble with the tiny soaps category! I never use them and yet I am still hesitant to throw them away. And I hoarded the out of date medications for a really long time too for no particular reason.

    I’ve been trying to do this for ages too. I find that the only way to get where I’m going is to come back periodically and make another pass. I find I’m more ruthless the second time than the first. Not efficient, but I’ll take what I can get!

    • Ha! You SAVED me from that sewing machine when it threatened to grow roots and never leave. So there. The bed was pretty easy to dig out. All we had to do was hang our clothes back up. We cut back by about a third.

  3. I did my house the week after Christmas — what a nightmare. I was very good about sticking to the categories for the first couple of days. The pitch-it pile grew markedly bigger in days 3-5 — it was the only pile left by day 6. One month later my house is telling me that I hallucinated cleaning it.

    • And things have a way of walking OUT of my pitch and donate piles and right back into the house. Sam has this jacket; faux leather, Winnie the Pooh, don’t-put-it-in-your-dryer. Well, we put it in our dryer. It. Is. Dead. I have thrown it away five times in three weeks, and EACH TIME I find it squirrelled back away somewhere new.

  4. How wonderful! It is not easy to start the downsizing project. If you go through the same area again in three weeks you will probably haul out 1/3 of what you kept. My keep pile is the smallest. I just refuse to grow out of a space! It’s amazing how much stuff we keep that we just don’t need. It’s also damned amazing that the clutter seems to silently grow and accumulate in corners and drawers without being noticed. How’s that happen??

For the love of Mike, TALK to me! (Concrit welcome on fiction)

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