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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Cleaning Your Closet? Side-tracked by Renovation

By Debra Holland

When I originally signed up for this blog a month ago, I decided to tackle a Spring cleaning topic. So I picked my closet—definitely in need of cleaning out. I have far more clothes than I need. Because I have a lot of closet space, I don’t have to get rid of garments. I just buy new ones. From time to time, I’ll go through my clothes and get rid of some, but not nearly as much as I should.

Actually, my whole house is in need of cleaning out. I’m the type of person who tends to accumalate STUFF. Between working as a therapist, corporate crisis/grief counselor, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction, I have LOTS of paperwork. Stacks. I believe they multiply during the night.

But it’s not just clothes and papers ... and magazines ... and books. When my parents and grandmother downsized their homes, my house became the family repository. Thus I have a lot of silver (from both mom and grandmother) china (mom and two grandmothers) brass, copper, and pewter (grandmother.) I also have more furniture than I need because both my grandfather and my grandmother made some furniture as a hobby. My talented grandmother also crocheted numerous afghans, doilies, placemats, and made needlepoint coasters, and other things.

I hope my neices and the children of my cousins might appreciate some of these things some day. One is getting married in August, and I’ll ship her my paternal grandmother’s hot chocolate cups and saucers.

Although I’ve never been domestic, my home has become much worse since I started writing. I’m sure other writers may have similar problems. Who has time to clean and sort when you should be writing? An every other week cleaning crew is a great help. At least I don’t have to clean toilets.

I’d hoped having a month to clean out my closet would be enough to provide me with material for this blog. What I didn’t realize was that the long overdue home renovations I’d planned would cause me to do a lot more organizating in other parts of the house—not my closet

My Wet Noodle Posse sister, Jennifer Smith, is living with me while she attends fashion design school. (Which means everything, besides furniture, which is usually in her room and bathroom is elsewhere in the house.) She’d planned to return to her home for two weeks during her school’s break. I wanted to get all my renovations done in the time she was gone.

While she was away, I planned to remove my popcorn ceilings in the entry, living room, office, dining room, and the landing on the top of the stairs. I also wanted to put in can lights in the ceilings of the living room, office, and dinning room. Plus, I wanted to paint the whole downstairs.

The problem came when I was deluged with crisis counseling jobs, leaving me no time to plan for the renovations. At the last minute, I scrambled to get bids and line up the work. Once I selected the contractor, I had two days to pack up everything (and I have a lot of everythings).

I really didn’t realize how much WORK I’d set for myself. And the time I thought I’d have to do this filled up with unexpected crisis counseling, forcing me to work late at night and get up early to pack it all away.

I wrapped and boxed everything, then stashed the boxes and stacks in my library and bedroom, until there was NO space to walk. I didn’t have the time to sort through papers, dust stuff off, or throw things away. Definitely stressful.

My wonderful contractor finished in three and a half days. Somewhere in that period, I decided to replace the chandeliers in the entry/stairwell and in the dining room, too.

Actually, I went to the store for some light bulbs for my old chandelier in the entry because I figured the guys would have to take it down anyway, and I could replace all the burned out blubs I hadn’t been able to reach. I walked into the store, took one look at a chandelier near the doorway, and went on a lamp spree. (It had been fifteen years since I’d last bought lamps.) Two hours later, I left the store with two chandeliers, one hall light, two table lamps for the living room, and two for my bedroom.

The rooms ended up looking wonderful. I love my ceiling lights—so much easier to read and work. The chandeliers look elegant. I still walk into the rooms and admire the new look.



At 12:38 PM, Blogger Judy said...

Oh, my goodness, Mo H. I found myself tired and wishing I could take a nap when I finished reading your post. LOL! Good for you getting all that STUFF done! Here I was so proud of myself for going through my TBR piles and whittling it down from nine to six, with a stack of books for our local RWA chapter's raffle at our monthly meeting. As small as the accomplishment is, there is something very satisfying about seeing the long-planned-for job done. Besides the satisfaction factor, did you do anything special to celebrate getting the job done?

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

The end result sounds wonderful, Debra, even if the process was dreadful. Good for you!

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Dr. Debra Holland said...

Actually, Judy, Mo just posted the blog for me. I didn't celebrate because I had several other projects on my plate. I had to finish my taxes, get a contest entry finished and mailed, and prepare a talk for a brand new training I was giving. Oh, and have 35 people over for Easter. :)

But several times I've stopped to sit in a chair and admire the living room for a few minutes. :)

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Your renovations sound wonderful. I want to replace the carpet in my house and get new tile for the bathrooms. But when I got a bid, they were charging me for the new pad, and I wasn't expecting that. So I put everything on hold. Now I have to wait until I finish the book I'm writing. I can't afford the down time the installation of the new carpet will take.

Closets--I don't even want to think about them. Why do I have so much trouble getting rid of clothes I haven't worn in two years?

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Judy said...

Ack! I'm sorry, Debra! I knew it was you! I even made a special note to myself to remember, and then flaked. *sigh* How I miss my mind. And how in the world are you still in possession of yours after all you've been doing!! You brave woman!

Merrillee, you aren't the only one. My mom always said, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without." So if the clothes aren't worn out, it's difficult to let go. That being said, I did find it easier when I donated the clothes to a local women's shelter where they helped outfit for interviews and such.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

I just wish I could clean out my closet without benefit of dynamite and / or a shovel !! Since I started writing this house looks like a frathouse for wayward Regency debutantes.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Debra, good for you! I'm pretty good at getting rid of old clothes. I don't have much in my closet!

I do need to go through drawers around the house though!

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Judy said...

Thanks Debra for the post! Oddly enough, it pushed me to clean up my WIPs of a formatting error I'd been ignoring and planning to take care of later! In the process, I noticed some typos and some tweaks I wanted to make. It feels so good to be writing, again. The nudge is greatly appreciated.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

We're just trying to get the house ready to sell. I'm shipping a whole bunch of "kid stuff" to the kids and they can decide what's worth keeping. Making large donations to charity. I dread the thought that once we figure out where we're moving, we'll have to renovate whatever house we find. Wish we could afford to build our dream house from scratch.

Back to de-cluttering. And we're going to let whoever buys this house deal with the popcorn ceilings. At least they're not the kind with glitter.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:20 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Wow, Debra! I'm so impressed. And inspired. When you clean out a closet, you don't do it by half measures!

I couple of years ago I did a major overhaul of the closet in our master bedroom. Our house was built in 1942 - an era not well known for storage space. We're lucky that, although ours is quite small, it is a walk-in.

My husband installed a ceiling light and an assortment of shelves and hanging rods.

I bought various-sized clear plastic stackable bins for stuff like scarves, shoes, seasonal clothing, etc. Now I can actually find things when I go looking for them. (I know - what a concept!)

The biggest surprise is that now, several years later, it still looks organized. Now if I could only find time to apply this method to my office, the kitchen cupboards, the linen closet . . .


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