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!
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Out of date opiates: Return to pharmacy [they sent me home with some heavy shit that I never used when I had my hysterectomy.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Out of date shampoo: Pitch
Out of date (ugh, what IS that?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 with Holes (rag bag)
The Towel Sam Likes to Chew On After He Gets Out of The Tub (Keep until replaced)
Random medical supplies (not out of date)
Bag Balm (three tubs – each no doubt purchased when I couldn’t find the last one)
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.
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.