For months I’ve been trying to clean out my closets. Two years ago, when my sister moved from MD to NC, I agreed to store some of her belongings. Several minivan loads later, my extra bedroom had become the “JJ Memorial Storeroom.” Since I had been storing several large boxes for my daughter, as well as a few small items for a friend, in that room, I had to move those things into other closets in my house so nobody’s stuff would get confused. And since I tend to save odd items on the chance that someday they might prove useful, there wasn’t much available space. I kept putting things in wherever they fit, though, and figured “someday” I’d sort it all out.
By Labor Day 2008, both my sister and my daughter had reclaimed their stuff, and the only excuse I had for the sorry state of my closets was that I had triathlons to do, so cleaning would have to wait. I did squeeze in straightening up a small closet now and then, but my two largest – and most cluttered – closets remained to be done. As the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s – passed by with no extra time for cleaning, I was determined I’d spend my 4-day Lee-Jackson-King weekend on the task.
As I surveyed the mess of my bedroom closet on Friday, I considered that running a marathon in sub-zero weather might be a better activity. But there was no race on my schedule – just heaps of clothing, pillows, and empty gift boxes in varying sizes. Several hours later, I’d filled a bag for Goodwill and my drawers were neatly arranged. Figuring I needed a break from closet drudgery on Saturday, I went to indoor cycling and then a swim at the JCC. I also had other plans on Sunday, so that left Monday for the final closet.
Fortified by an extra cup of coffee, I grabbed the curtain rods that always fall out when that closet door is opened before they hit me in the head. Facing me was a hodgepodge of things put there six years ago when I moved in and accumulated since. I methodically examined every box or plastic bag I took off the shelves. Sometimes I was surprised to see I still had an item, sometimes I wondered why I’d kept it, and sometimes I was impressed I could lift the box. I only got sidetracked once – reading the newsletters I edited for a Tidewater sports car club many years ago. Then it was back to filling more bags for Goodwill, recycling, and trash. By noon, I could say “Mission Accomplished.” Well, almost – I have years of family photos and personal papers to sort through, but at least they are all in the same filing cabinet now. That project is for another day. It’s time to concentrate on triathlons again.