Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Time in the Secret Closet

I've gotten comments here before that suggest that it is impressive that I still have things to declutter. I call it less impressive and more embarrassing. See, the thing about clutter is that it is a constant fight against entropy to keep the clutter away. To prove this, I offer up the example of my secret closet, which is what I call the closet in which I keep gift wrapping supplies, gifts I plan to give to people, and assorted other crap.

I have decluttered that stupid closet more times than I can count.

Okay, that's a lie. I can count. It's three. Here you go:

1. Closet Clutter, Day One

2. How I Celebrated National Decluttering Day and The Spoils of the Closet

3. The Secret Closet Reprise

And now I'm about to offer up decluttering number four: The Secret Closet Re-reprise.

I got rid of all the things I usually do. I got rid of old receipts for gifts that I gave away a long time ago, I tossed old bits of crumpled wrapping paper and short lengths of ribbons that will never be useful for wrapping a gift. I took a bunch of old bags and art supplies and threw them into the far back of the closet. That is a project for another day.

But this is not a cleaning blog. (God forbid.) This is a decluttering blog. So let me tell you what I decluttered.

I found this magazine rack in there. It is full of old puzzle books that I bought in bulk at one point long ago. For many of these books I have done all the fun puzzles and left the rest for later. Guess what? Later's not coming.

Nineteen books recycled.

Probably the biggest change that I made in the closet was cleaning out the boxes I have in there. I used to keep a lot of boxes there in case I needed one to mail something. In some of the past declutterings of these closets, I've recycled some of these boxes. This go-round, I recycled* all of them, with the exception of three or four shoeboxes in case we need to make a diorama.

I didn't count the big boxes I got rid of, but there is substantially more space there now.

In the past, when I've been getting rid of boxes, I refused to even think of getting rid of the selection of small boxes and bags that I kept for little gifts. I haven't used any of those boxes and bags in probably four years.

 TWENTY-SEVEN small boxes recycled;
9 small bags (and another tote bag) donated.

What else did I find in there that I had been keeping for stupid reasons? Well, this box of half-used Valentines probably qualifies.

Because my kids are likely to remember they exist and then want to use them.

The secret closet is also a repository for leftovers from party favors and whatnot. I tend to buy party favors from Oriental Trading**, which is great because they are cheap and awesome, but I always end up with more than I need.

Some things I can use for other gifts or for add-ons to other gifts, but nearly everything in the closet currently has reached the end of its usefulness for the Stimey household.

Whistles and medals I'll keep; wristbands and tiny bags, I'll donate.

I was also going to give this little stack of notebooks to somebody who was at my house just a couple of days ago, but I forgot. Dammit.

I've been putting these toys in stockings, party goody bags, and whatever else I can think of for years. I'm tired of it.


It was actually completely astounding to me how many leftover party supplies I had in there.

I also found a few other assorted items to donate and organized my stash of things that I have on hand to give as gifts in cases of emergency. It was actually really good to go through all that stuff. I found some things that I didn't even remember that I had, including at least one that I hadn't given but that was still wrapped and I didn't know what was in it.

I also discovered that I will likely not need to purchase any gift tags in my lifetime.

All told, I eliminated 156 items from that closet, and that doesn't include large boxes and some insignificant-ish items I decided not to count.

I'll be sure to let you know the next time I declutter the closet.

* I should probably make clear that I didn't actually recycle the boxes, but I made Alex do it. He's such a good sport.

It's also not really my fault that every time I post a photo of Alex,
he's making a weird face in it. It's like I pull out my camera
and his face does that automatically.

** If you've never read my post about the Oriental Trading piƱata I got for Jack's birthday a couple of years ago, you should. It's one of my favorites.