Chanting Closets & Other Craziness

It’s been unusually quiet around here this week huh? Sorry about that, work and life have had me pretty busy. I’m trying to make today as slow as possible and am sneaking in a blog break.

So, my kitchen is still divine. Everything has a place, there’s room for things, I’m putting things away as I use them, etc. It’s given me a nice peace and I found an added perk to having my kitchen in such clean and clear order– I instantly find something out of place which lets me know something’s wrong. Like the other night, my Mom almost left without the miniature orchid I’d gotten her. And a few days before that, she left an important piece of paper she had to take with her. Unfortunately this morning, I took a bit too long to get back into the kitchen to see my son had left his lunchbox before they’d left but I noticed it anyways. This clean and organized experience has given me some encouragement and keeps me motivated.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my oldest two kids go home with my Mom who takes my oldest to Karate. It’s around the corner from her house, my brother goes too, and my Dad or other brother are also around to lend a hand. While he’s at Karate, my mom gives my daughter a bath and does her hair. I don’t know why she does this except she’s doing something to help me and also, I get the feeling she too has discovered the soothing qualities of doing my daughter’s hair. They usually get to my house, hungry, at 8 at night. This means Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s just me and the baby for about two hours. I only have to manage one child. I can’t explain to those who don’t personally know from experience, what a huge difference this is. The house is infinitely more peaceful and I am able to accomplish so much more. So, encouraged by the success in my kitchen and pondering the importance of completing mundane tasks, I got to work. I set a load of laundry to wash, dried it, folded it, and put it away (throughout the night of course). I cleared a ton of stuff from the dining room table (my number one Pile Magnet). I bathed the baby. I put away the four or five loads of laundry I had piled in my room on the ironing table for days now. While doing that, I thought I’d fix up my closet a bit too and pulled out some things to donate.

I also reorganized it into three sections– Work Clothes at the front, Casual Clothes behind that, and at the rear of the closet the Special Occasion clothes I actually wear. While setting up my Work Clothes, it occurred to me there were a few pieces in there that I couldn’t remember having worn in some time. So, I put all of the Work Clothes I’d just hung from the recent laundry to the front of the closet, tied a bright pink ribbon around the rod behind it, and set up the rest of the work clothes after the ribbon. As I wear clothes, I move it in front of the ribbon. In three months, I’ll take a look at what remains behind the ribbon and get rid of it. In South Florida, three months this time of year is a great gauge to the total of our seasons– hot and humid, hot and raining, coldish and raining, or absolutely glorious.

I don’t really love a good amount of my current work wardrobe and as reluctant as I am to spend money on it (or anything else really), I do understand that if I’m jsut wearing the same couple of things every day, I need to ditch what I’m not wearing and get my hands on some things I would wear– even if I do it at Goodwill. By the time I was done, my closet looks pretty sad, honestly. It’s quite empty and I don’t know that it FEELS positive. Right now, it kind of feels like it’s chanting at me, “You’re alone and you’re broke and you don’t do anything exciting!” You know it’s bad when closets chant. But I have to tell you, I prefer this sparse yet mostly organized chanting closet to what I’m about to show you. All I can say is, I promise I will end this post with pretty pictures to make up for what you are about to see. Please keep your fingers close to your eyes so they resist the urge to fall out after bulging as far as they will.

There is a closet in my hallway. It is a big closet as far as cloests go, especially hall closets. In my grandmother’s house, which has the exact same layout as mine, my grandfather converted this closet into a small office in a brilliant manner. This was in his heyday when he was an extremely skilled carpenter and the office really is perfect. Which is why I wanted to do the same. But, my home office is not glorious or even remotely functional. My hall closet looks like this…

Oh my god I can’t believe I’m doing this…

I loathe this closet. Hate may be a strong word, but loathe is stronger and so much closer to the feelings I have towards this closet. Now, here’s the thing. I’ve been reading One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds and I’m supposed to love myself a bit and do my bedroom in February and do the home office in March. I was actually going to stick to that plan. But, I think I was just trying to give myself an excuse. The thing is, my bedroom’s actually not bad at all. The sparse closet should have been a clue to that. I purge my stuff in my bedroom a lot– some times too much. I just don’t have difficulty or guilt getting rid of my things. The rest of my house is much more confusing and there are parts of the house where the thought of de-cluttering is enough to get me agitated (the kids’ spaces are the BEST example). I could honestly get my bedroom, closet, and master bath in absolutely tip-top shape in just a few hours with just a few bucks. And the other thing is, every time I de-clutter a space, I end up having to take stuff to the “office”. Why? 1) There are certain things that naturally belong in an office– my coupons, tax information, legal papers, etc. And because it’s a good-sized closet, I naturally store things like wrapping paper, school supplies, etc. But 2) because of the condition the closet/office is in, I postpone taking anything in there. Nothing has a place, and if it does, it’s not in it because the way to its place is completely blocked with homeless things or other things that can’t reach their homes.

So, I’ve decided I’ll tackle the beast head-on in February. In March I will do my bedroom with the bonus perk that I will reward myself by de-beiging my bedroom walls.

As for February’s big project, I’ve decided I don’t think I want the office in here after all. It’s HOT in there, the sole power source is one of those outlets that are a light bulb fixture with an orange extension cord dangling from it (see Scary Closet 4), and it’s just not very comfortable to sit in. I think this space would be a better place for the office:

The couch is going into the playroom until either my cousin claims it for herself or I sell it for like $30 on Craigslist. So I will have this nice, open space with a window. I will be in the living room next to the sliding glass doors so I will be able to monitor lots of situatuions. I think, if I can get a nice screen of some sort, I can block it off a bit to give it a sense of separation but if not, I won’t die either.

I don’t have internet at home and honestly have no plans to reinstate it any time soon. This means my laptop, the monitor it’s attached to (Ex sat on the laptop, broke the screen, and never replaced it), and the printer are… useless. I don’t want to get rid of the laptop because I will turn the internet on at some point. The scanner/printer has been with me several years but I think it’s time to say goodbye. I know what a modern, wireless, replacement would cost and I’m comfortable paying that– IF the need arises. I’m sure it will as my kids are getting older but I don’t think it’s happening in the next three months for sure, six months most likely, and maybe not even this year.

As it is right now, I need to have the laptop connected to a monitor fot me to be able to use it. To repair the monitor on the laptop is about $300. I’m wondering if I should put the laptop away, get rid of the monitor, and when I’m ready to connect the internet again, budget to repair the laptop. Is this smart or am I being drastic getting rid of everything? It’d be nice to have a clear desk for things like couponing, organizing photo albums, doing paperwork, etc. Plus, now I’d have two desks available for kids to do homework at. The big expense for this half of the project would be a filing cabinet.

The second half of the project is the hall closet! I want to use it for storage but there is a vast array of things I want to store in there. For instance, right now my holiday decorations sit in tupperware boxes in the same type of closet but one that is not accessible from inside the house and has been a good solution except that a few things have gotten ruined from mildew because the humidity is not being kept out (including a paper ornament I made when I was just three years old). Inside, there are things I am storing for memories. I believe the hall closet has access to an attic but, if it’s accessible at all, it’s a crawlspace kind and I have no idea what’s going on up there. I also don’t know if those types of places are good for storing long-term things? They’d also be in those tupperware type of tubs and I could put cedar into the ones that hold fabrics. I need to also figure out a good way to store things I use on a semi-frequent basis. These things include: my yarn and other crochet/knitting supplies, my toolbox, and gift wrapping paper and gift bags. Lastly, there are the items I use on a less-frequent basis like my Ice Cream Maker. I think that’s going to be the heavy expense for this half of the project because it’s just a big closet with clothing rods and one high up shelf.

Note to self: Tupperware tubs do not count as additional shelves.

Anyone have experience with affordable shelving that works well? This lady in the book keeps going on and on about The Container Store and Elfa but they’re EXPENSIVE. I like the idea of taking my yarn out of the plastic tub it’s in now and using cubby shelves to stash it according to color. I also think it’d be pretty useful to have one of these drop-down tables in there so I can do gift-wrapping in there instead of dragging everything out into the living room and doing it on the floor. The dimensions look pretty reasonable and if I couple it with a vertical gift wrap box and a hanging gift bag organizer, I think that’ll solve that problem. It’s the rest of the stuff that gets tricky.

As much as I want to plan for this project ahead of time, the only way to really figure out what I need to store and how I can store it, is to get in there and start. And then, once I’m left with a clear view of what I intend to keep, I need to analyze how it’s going to be used, and take it from there. God, this project is stressing me out already and I still have a week left in January. Let’s change the subject.

Oh, I know! Ex called and told me he didn’t have the rest of the child support for today like he said he would. He said he’d have it next week for sure (sigh) and that he’s sorry and that he doesn’t want to give me a sob story but he hasn’t gotten paid commission in two months, hasn’t paid his rent this month, and is just in a really bad place. I am starting to get very concerned about my Debt-Free plan. My standard monthly bills alone are more than what I make a month. This doesn’t even include groceries, gas, let alone snowball payments. If he is able to only pay me 40% of what he owes me, that makes me break even and includes groceries and gas but still allows for no snowball payments. This is absolutely killing me but I am trying to steel myself, do the best that I can, know that I have my parents to support me (God I feel like a kid saying that)., and am trying to put myself in a situation where the vast majority of child support is “extra”. I don’t know if I’ll meet my debt goals this year because of all of this uncertainty, but I have to keep in mind the garnishment will go into place at some point this year (god willing) and that will give me some sort of stability. Not to mention, with the youngest starting the private school this August, I’ll be losing that daycare cost. And even though I have to use it to pay the registration fees every year ($2700 this year), that’s only equivalent to just under 5 months of daycare.


Wow, I certainly did not mean to follow-up a stressed out note with a more stressed out note. Let’s not close on a downer. To make it up to you, I’ll link you to one of the most intriguing and funny book reviews I’ve read in a while AND post two pictures..

First, I saw this woman today at the train station and loved her outfit top to bottom. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to sport it myself (leggings!) but I can still admire it, especially that glorious, lusty purple bag.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning having a box of Samoas on your desk is very dangerous.


6 thoughts on “Chanting Closets & Other Craziness

  1. omg – i love how that lady was standing! obviously she has the attitude to pull it off. most women who wear leggings, shouldn’t wear leggings.
    oh, and the closet? i am with you on that one. but what can you do? you have kids. every year i am trying to get rid of stuff. i had a yard sale last year, made some money which i gave to my kids. not bad, i think we made $700 in one day! it’s worth it if you have the time to organize. if not, boxes and Goodwill work just fine.
    there are a number of things that speak out to my singlehood – the huge master bedroom and me still sleeping on my side of the bed.
    sheez – i am seriously considering moving out of the master, moving into the guest room, and making the master a game room or tv room. the only downfall is giving up 2 walk in closets and the equally huge master bathroom.

    • Right? She’s got POISE and I love it! I did a huge yard sale a few months after Ex moved out and made a few hundred bucks too. I was thinking about it but it was such a hassle, I don’t want to go through it again. So, yes I’ve absolutely been donating like mad.

      I had the foresight to give Ex our marital bed. I didn’t want it. I sleep in a full size bed and it’s perfect. Sometimes I sleep on a side but most of the time I make a conscious effort to throw myself right in the middle LOL I would never give up a huge master bathroom and I wouldn’t move out either. That’s almost like… surrender LOL. I say sell all of the furniture and start over. Even if it means you start stark, who cares? It can be your work in progress. Paint the walls, buy artwork you like, rearrange whatever furniture you do end up buying so it’s not in the same placement, etc. Make it YOUR room. I’ve worked hard at that and I really do love my room more and more every day.

  2. Wow. That was some post! I have a basement bedroom right now that looks like your hall closet….umm, I guess since I’m not doing any shopping in February, I’ll have time to declutter.

    I understand how you feel. My older two daughters are from a previous marriage. I was very proud when we divorced and wanted as little as possible from the ex. But, I sold myself short, and he paid as little as possible. It was tough. My parents lived 6 hours away, and there really wasn’t anyone to lean on. Hang in there, that was 20 years ago for me, and I’ve since remarried and had two more children. I’m happier now than I ever was. You will make it! Keep the faith!!

    I would love for you to join me in February. (Misery loves company, right? Um, wait, it’s suppose to be fun…) I bet you’d be able to save some cash to help you with your shortfall….I’ll be posting my rules soon!

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