Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sparking Joy, in The Closet

There’s been a lot of organizing talk on the old Internet lately, both fawning and less-so, regarding the bestselling book, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I have not read it. I’ve never picked up a book on organizing because I feel like I was hardwired to do it, no instruction manual needed. 

Nothing makes me happier than an area that is both beautiful, and functional, a place for everything and everything in its place. And yes, I realize this type of behavior can make others crazy, and can make me loony bins myself if I take it too far, so I regularly allow myself to create messes, and live with them, as practice for being a normal person.

Speaking of messes, take a look at this before shot of my closet. Does this look like the closet of an organized person? I never meant for it to get this out of hand. It's just that I’d been throwing stuff in there as I worked on re-doing our bedroom, and once stuff gets thrown somewhere, it’s oh-so-easy to throw more on top of it, in a grand mess-begetting-a-mess-begetting-a-mess, until you can’t see the floor. This is a closet where a person might hide behind the clothes eating Hostess Twinkies under the dim light of the bare bulb (not that I’ve ever done that). In a word, this closet is scary.

Once my bedroom was re-done, I decided the closet needed major help. So, what did I do first, in my attempt to create an organized, beautiful closet? Friends, I took off the door. No door meant that when I woke up every morning, my face positioned such that I was looking directly at the closet, I felt terrible. This is tough love, people. I basically shamed myself into a closet re-do.

Once the door was off, I cleared everything out, repeating to husband and children one of my favorite mantras of organizing: "it's going to get worse before it gets better." I handled every item and decided its fate: "Keep" or "Donate." Marie Kondo tells readers to consider whether an item "sparks joy." My rules weren’t quite so esoteric. They were:

1. Do I like it?
2. Does it fit me right now (not would it fit me if I lost ten pounds?)

Simple enough, right? I gave away six garbage bags full of clothes. Then, having whittled my options down considerably, I painted the room--ceiling and walls in a light tan, and fresh white trim. I got a pretty, vintage-looking glass globe to cover that bare bulb. I replaced one short hanging rod with a very cool antique cabinet containing many shelves for folded items and baskets of small things. I replaced some ill-fitting metal shelving units with two rods (a shorter one beneath holds skirts and pants) on the other wall. The shelf, I painted and kept.

Here’s a tip for those folded sweaters. I know from experience that no matter how neatly I stack things on a shelf, they will eventually tumble over. You really need a divider, but bonafide closet shelf dividers are crazy expensive (try upwards of $40 for two). They are basically pieces of metal. You know what else is metal and heavy and keeps things in place? Bookends. I bought two pairs from Staples at $8 each. They work great.

There’s a hanging shoe pouch in the back for the heels I rarely wear (there’s just not much call for formal wear for work-from-home writers). An IKEA step stool tucked under the clothes helps me reach the top shelf. A cordless shade from Lowes and faux fur IKEA rug add a nice touch. The only thing missing from this closet re-do is some new clothes! And I will say this, my new closet definitely sparks some joy.

1 comment:

  1. People always want to be organised. You tend to find tips on the Internet that are specifically for closets. Some people do seem to be naturally hardwired for organising spaces. The before and after photos certainly show off your skills. It is easy for anyone to get very busy and not have time to keep their closet tidy. Looks good.

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