Guest post from the desk of Celeste B.
What is the most frightening space in your home? I’ll bet it is a closet of some kind, the place where the detritus of modern living has accumulated and grown neglected. Whatever else might be growing there is not to be ignored either. Wallace and I don’t have a garage, which I describe as the American ultra-closet for many people. Instead of renting a storage locker, many homeowners have co-opted the “extra” space taken up by the second car and dedicated it to barbeque grills, canoes, roof racks, children’s playthings, freezers, adult playthings, infrequently used tools, unfinished projects, unpacked moving boxes, wedding presents and generally redundant or bulky items that are rarely called into service, such as the trailer for the float you build for the July fourth community parade and that you don’t want to get rusty in the driveway.
Somewhere you have probably got a closet dedicated to similar use: housing family movies or slides with their projectors, sports equipment, never used vacuum cleaner attachments, orphaned framed art and bric-a-brac including that fondue set with all the skewers still in its box. There is nothing sentimental about fondue unless you enjoyed it on your honeymoon in Quebec, a lovely city.
Your reluctance to tackle the closet cleanup is not uncommon. Everyone has it and, besides, what are you going to do with all that stuff once it is sorted out? A pile in the hall is no different than one in the closet and re-distribution is a temporary solution. You have to agree with your partner to accomplish this cleanup because there may be items precious to one of you that deserve special consideration. Woeful is the partner who sends the varsity letter jacket to the second hand store without permission. Blessed is the organizer who seeks approval before, during or after a closet purge. Hoarding is another matter altogether and there is probably no agreement available to assuage the concerns of that pathology.
Supposing that you are operating as one coordinated force on this, then there is a happy avenue for de-accessioning, as the museums call it. The yard/garage sale is by far the most satisfactory because, not only do you enjoy seeing people appreciate your stuff, they actually pay you for it. It is amazing always to see the cheery buyers sifting through the crockery, books, art and cast-off furniture, ever on the lookout for treasures overlooked by the rest of the world. It is somehow satisfying to see these burdens taken on by others as if they are financial Samaritans. And best of all, the many charitable second hand stores have liberalized their acceptance policies so you are able to load up most of the failed sales and freight them over for receipt, thereby putting many disadvantaged people to work in furthering the life of these goods. That is a win-win with a tax deduction to boot!
Thank you Celeste! Your practical tips and lighthearted attitude will help us all laugh at our clutter conundrums no doubt!
*If you would like to hear more from Celeste please contact me. I’m sure she would be delighted to learn of your enthusiasm and I’m happy to pass your message along as well as ask her to join us again with more fun and lighthearted posts!