Closets are scary, scary places. Every time I delve into one that really needs cleaning, I am both horrified and disgusted by what I find in them.
No, this isn't related to my joke about how the new garage floor coating will mask all the bloodstains, or how when we up-sized our fridge, we could fit a whole nother person in it.
We are packrats, but not of the insect-attracting, living-room-composting variety. We are clean, and the visible parts of our house stay relatively uncluttered.
But oh, the closets.
My husband and I are also both masters at the video game Tetris. That's the one with the different-shaped pieces that drop from the sky and you have to quickly flip them around and scoot them into place at the bottom without leaving any gaps. I bet that we would be pretty darned good at a 3-d version of it also. Because our house is like that. Every square inch of space, every gap, every nook and cranny has been well utilized.
Packing items into fixed-sized boxes for temporary storage and their eventual joyride across town in a semi is very different than Tetris. It is more like eating a restaurant salad. I don't know how they fit so much stuff in those bowls, but no matter how many bites you take, the salad looks as full as ever.
I have to face the fact that we own too many of certain items. Dragons. Crayons. Chip and dip sets. Blenders. Cake pans. Unused glow-in-the-dark bracelets and wands. Dead computer parts. Books on how to write software for the ancestors of those dead computer parts (MS Dos from 1985? VB4? Anyone? Anyone?).
I filled an entire "extra-large" size box with fabric that I never got around to sewing. This is the box to donate. I have about a dresser drawer full of bits that I am keeping for now. We filled three or four large sweater-type storage boxes with college t-shirts. Several more with just sweaters. There are still sweaters in our closet.
Books. Books. Books. We have purchased and filled 30 book-sized packing boxes from Uhaul. And used a few other smallish boxes. And we haven't packed anything. I own one e-reader, too, which after this will be seeing a lot more action.
The biggest lesson that I'm learning from our moving adventure is that we can't wait eleven years between closet cleanouts. We can't just buy new stuff without getting rid of the old. Even if we have the storage space for the overflow. Because the next house may not be our last house. In another eleven or fifteen or even thirty years, someone will have to clean out our closets again. We don't need to scare them.