I have the nerdiest confession to make: I love storage and organization tools.
Some women light up like Christmas when they walk into Macy’s or Bath and Body Works. Not me. Stick me in a Container Store and I’m happier than a fat kid with a tray of brownies. No trip to Bed Bath and Beyond is complete without a quick detour into the closet organizer aisle. Even if there’s nothing that I really need, I will find a reason to stop by the storage and organization aisles at Target. I will do mental inventories of every craft item I own to see if I can locate the perfect craft storage unit. I will peruse my mountain of catalogs to marvel at the creative cabinets and cubbies and other furniture designed to make hoarders look the picture of normalcy.
I will buy every gadget and gizmo and organizer on the planet and still find myself wanting for satisfaction every time. And this is why storage and organization tools are a crock of shit.
Obviously, anytime you move, there’s a period of settling and adjustments. Your old place was settled and organized and you had all these nifty contraptions to keep everything tidy and maximize every inch of your limited space. Ah, but therein lies problem number one: Creating more space tends to lead to the purchase of more stuff. Then you decide to pack up all this stuff and move to the other side of the city/state/country and NOTHING WILL EVER BE TIDY AGAIN!
You’ll wonder to yourself and your spouse, “Where did all this junk come from? Why do we need 47 coffee mugs? Why do I have 87 shot glasses from 47 states, 9 of which I’ve never visited? I wonder if he’d notice if I got rid of 10 of his t-shirts. Can we get rid of the books yet? Did you buy this case of canned beets? You don’t even like beets!” This is followed by you becoming the most generous individual who ever lived. You will sell everything on Craigslist at prices so low it looks like a bad fencing operation. And when your friends start leaving their purses/backpacks/diaper bags locked in the car to keep you from hiding your castoffs in them, the people at the Goodwill drop off will know you well enough to greet you by name.
Even with all this purging and generosity, you’ll still end up moving with 97 boxes, 12 of which are marked simply “miscellaneous.” One box of miscellany will contain beach towels, the iron, Season 3 of the Simpsons on DVD, a plastic skull, and 10 pound dumbbell. Another one has a dirty sock, a bar of soap, and a hair dryer. The old mom-mantra of “A place for everything and everything in its place” becomes a pipe dream and that pipe dream is total BS. The frustrating reality is that it will be a month before there’s a place for anything, and everything will sit in the middle of your living room in the meantime, making everything look like a tweaker’s weekend retreat. And all those storage who-zits and organizing whatsits you bought for the old place? NONE OF IT WILL FIT ANY OF THE NEW SPACES IN YOUR HOME! Hahahaha! *cry* *beat head against nearest wall*
So you get rid of all the old organizers because you don’t have room to store them, and you go out and buy new ones that will fit in your new space, thus beginning the process anew. You generously donate the old organizers to friends who now need homes for the random items you snuck into their bags when they weren’t looking. Slowly, your home will start to take shape and feel more like your sanctuary than your prison and you will achieve that false sense of security that allows you to repeat your bad habits and the organization industry to bleed you dry, one Elfa basket at a time. Well this time, I’m onto you bastards.
I gave a sizable bookcase to our friends who are also trying to clutter-bust, but I kept the rest of the organizers and damned if I didn’t find a use for all but one of them. When I replaced our bed, I bought the one with built in drawers so I have places to store our linens and I used the linen closet for cleaning supplies and toilet paper. In total, I bought a wall shelf for the kitchen (why have the wall there if I can’t store anything?) one for the bathroom (that hair dryer has to go somewhere convenient), and a towel bar. Yes, a towel bar. Because some idiot builder put the only towel bar in the bathroom 3 feet from the shower.
But no more organizers. We have a new rule ’round these parts: Nothing else comes in unless something goes out. And that includes T-shirts, Husband.