Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Closet Case

To understand my closet is to understand me. You might think that speaks of a psyche almost imbecilic in its lack of complexity (ridiculous / fashion-obsessed / shallow), but I assure you, your closet is similarly reflective of you. And this is not an insult, btw.

Let me start with a few details about me which, until now, you may not have discerned:
  • I love order.
  • I hate clutter.
  • I'm efficient in a compulsive way.
  • I'm compulsive in a compulsive way.

Then I'll throw in a few details about my closet:

  • It's small - having been carved out of a room 15 feet wide, under a staircase.

  • It's oddly shaped.

  • It's been "home renovated" by my husband and a close family friend.

  • It's still not large enough for my clothes and my husband's.

  • My husband has more clothes than me - but most of them are crap from 1987 and are taking up space at the awkward back end of the closet. I would love to twitch my nose and have it all end up at a thrift shop. Trust me, he would not miss a single item.

Here are a couple of additional facts, thrown in for good measure:

  • I live in a Victorian rowhouse (over 100 years old).

  • Every built in closet (of which there are none on the main floor or basement) was added in - when the house was restored about 10 years ago.

  • I had no idea about the importance of closets until I found myself living in an environment so unaccomodated by them. My house, while long and tall, is 15 feet wide. So I get to choose between things like couches or an add-in wardrobe.

  • I love my challengingly narrow, old home and do not intend to move.

  • I don't have 60-100k lying around at the moment with which to do a wholesale reno, and trust me, I'd be starting with the kitchen if I did.

My long-time friend Martha has been known to say of me "She gets rid of September's magazines in August." And it's true. Given my nature, and infrastructure, I can live surrounded by clutter and crap the likes of which would make me truly insane, or I can institute a policy I like to call "Get Something-Give Something". For everything I bring in, I give something away via one of the following channels:

  • Putting it out front for the many, many, many lawn pickers who troll the downtown core.

  • Giving it to Goodwill or to a shelter.

  • Giving it to a friend.

  • Putting it in the recycle (when appropriate)

  • Throwing it out. (And yes, this has to happen now and again. You can't do much with old underwear and socks and decimated shoes and certain other things.) This is, of course, my measure of last resort.

Now that I've set the scene, please stay tuned for tomorrow's closet installment, wherein I will provide photos and talk about the specific way I like to organize my things.


  1. I wish you would come over and clean my house. Let me know if you have some free time.

  2. how i wish i had your drive! i'm trying to declutter my wardrobe and recently threw alot of things away that will never be wearable again... but now i've still got a pile of clothes i miiiight wear (but probably won't for like 10 years!)!

  3. Very exciting. I happen to be a bit obsessive about organization as well. My closet organized by color, which really freaks my friends out...

  4. I would like to wallpaper the insides of my closets, using some gorgeous print that is too cost prohibitive to use on a whole room. Wouldn't it be lovely to open the door and have a glorious burst of color and pattern?

    My house is 100+ years too, a Victorian Italianate. We have very high ceilings but practically no closet space. We'll be installing hanging racks above us soon (she said ironically).

  5. Oh boy, I can't wait to read this. I need help.

  6. Can't believe you have the maths dream too! It's a total nightmare!!! I love the yellow top outfit below, simple and elegant, fab with the sandals. I have far too much clutter - everywhere in my house just about. It's driving me insane. My clothes closet is neat, everything hung up properly and tops in piles, but I don't know what's in there, there's no order and sense. And when I do sort out clutter, it's like a matter of days and it starts piling up again. It drives my husband crazy. My shoes are total chaos, in big heap at the bottom of the closet. Ok, that was an essay, let me just say I will be reading your organisation posts with avid interest!!! PS You mean you don't darn your socks;)

  7. Please come over and organize my closet and throw stuff away!

  8. It's funny how people seem to fall into one of the 2 camps - clutterific or clutter-phobic. Where are the moderates, I wonder?

    Wendy - If you supply the booze, I will tell you the next time I'm in NY!

    Selina: That "maybe I'll wear it again" motif is soooo seductive. I say, be ruthless!

    Clothes Horse: Why am I not surprised that you have a colour-coded closet. All the better to do your special brand of colour blocking on the fly...

    Miss C: I would LOVE to do that - how special! Maybe after I overhaul the rest of my life :-) Ah, the joys of maintaining a Victorian home, huh? In which state are you located?

    Enc: Just wait for it :-)

    Bronwyn: I have that exact dream and, as I might have mentioned on Wendy's blog, I just had it again like, 3 days ago. It's a horrible dream, always predicated on the notion that I haven't remembered to drop the class I signed up for(nor have I ever gone to it), so now I'm on the hook with no way of knowing what the hell is going on. Doesn't help that I SUCKED at math in school. And no, I don't darn my socks.

    I Heart: From the sounds of it, your deliciously full closets would be great to have a wander through!

  9. I think the only way I know is to color code...TCH, why is that so frieky??