Last year, several of the items on my short term post-retirement “To Do” list involved cleaning out closets. After I retired in the fall of 2017, I made several lists of things to do. This short term list included items that I needed to do fairly soon and one of the most important was cleaning out my oldest son’s closet so that I would have a place to relocate all the items I had brought home from work that were sitting around in boxes throughout the house.
I wrote a post about the trials and tribulations of this first closet clean out in 2018 that can be accessed here if you are interested.
While in my technical field, the moniker “short-term” usually referred to a period of time less that 3 months, many months actually went by before I returned to cleaning out closets but another opportunity arose when we had to replace the engineered hardwood floor in our bedroom, recounted painfully here.
While the fairly small closet under our front stairs wasn’t a huge problem, getting it cleaned out did allow us to begin another process, getting rid of items that we no longer needed.
Many of the items emptied from this space ended up going to Goodwill or the dumpster allowing us the opportunity to much better utilize this space.
The closet that took me the longest to get to, the one my wife would have probably preferred I do first, was our youngest son’s bedroom closet.
The reason my wife desired the timely cleaning out of this one is because she planned on using this bedroom for her art studio and this closet would become her art closet.
As I unloaded this space, I divided it into the things my wife would return to the closet…
…and the things belonging to our youngest son that he would need to go through. It must have been a sentimental journey for our son when he finally went through these things but many he decided could either be donated or discarded. But he did unearth his favorite stuffed animal “Lamby” that he took home to share with his own daughter.
Once the closet was cleaned out, I again painted it as I had been doing for the other closets.
Then it was up to my wife to reorganize the closet into her usable artist storage space, one that looked much more conducive to fueling her artistic creativity.
Interestingly about that time as I was getting Christmas decorations out of one of our two attic spaces, a water heater problem afforded me the opportunity to clean out the attic as well, a multi-step task also included on my “Long-term” To Do list. Thinking we were going to have to replace our nearly 20-year hot water heater, the plumber informed me the space would have to be cleaned out in order to install the new heater (ultimately we didn’t have to as a T&P valve remedied the problem). This attic space included old, worn out suitcases, old dishes, our son’s exercise equipment, and all of our Christmas decorations.
When I removed all of our decorations, my wife actually found this miniature tree that she decorated one Christmas for us to celebrate our anniversary one year away from home (we were married three days before Christmas). It included an ornament from one of my favorite movies, an anniversary gift from my wife that sadly I did not even recall. We both agreed we thought this little tree had been in a box in this attic space ever since we moved here almost 20 years ago as neither of us could recall having seen it in years.
Then after Christmas while my wife was away on a trip with her friend, I tackled the last item on my short-term list—going through my clothes closet which had gotten out of hand over the years.
The reason I had included this particular item after I retired was because I figured there were business clothes that I might not need or wear again. There is a saying by professional closet organizers that if you didn’t wear a clothing item in the previous season, then you should get rid of.
The accumulated dust on these pair of dress slacks from where they hung on the clothes hanger is certainly a testament to the fact that I had not worn them in not just one season, but multiple seasons!
When I had gone through all the clothes, I had a nice pile for Goodwill…
…along with some loud ties that I shuttered to think I used to wear.
The finished closet made it much easier to access the clothes I normally wear…
…and even be able to see my almost 20-year old Corvette poster that had become hidden behind stacks and piles of old clothes.
I completed this last task on New Year’s Eve, which technically revised the meaning of my short-term list to the more traditional business sense of less than 12 months. It was with great satisfaction that I struck off the last item on that list.
All in all, I think I made about six separate trips to the Goodwill donation center and filled our garbage can countless times with discarded items. Obviously as Americans, we accumulate a lot of “stuff” that ultimately we don’t need. I know much of my cleaning added piles to the landfill but hopefully all of the donations we made will become great finds for those in need.
And if you have closets that need to be cleaned out, hopefully this post will serve as motivation for you to get started on one of your own tasks that might be over due.