What if, just for today, I… didn’t fear my closet?


What do you see when you look at this door?


Look pretty normal?

Not to me.  When I see this door, I cringe… because I know what’s behind it.

When I see this door, this is what I see…


And when I HAVE TO open it, this is what flashes through my head…


What could possibly be so bad?  What would make you avoid that door… to not want another living soul to ever open that door?

I don’t know, maybe because:

  • I may need a tetanus shot after going in
  • the fear of dying by means of being crushed crosses my mind every time I think about opening that door
  • I’ll have to face the fact that I’ve been procrastinating
  • I’ll have to admit that I’m not good at something
  • someone will see how I let this area go… and they’ll then realize that my many attempts to “organize” this area were an obvious FAIL
  • I will have to figure out what to do with all this stuff
  • I want to pretend this place doesn’t exist
  • once you go in, there is no proof that you ever come back out
  • many things have been lost in there, in the name of *cleaning up* other areas
  • I don’t want to

Is that enough?  Because I have more…

This is why.  Upon opening this door you see this…


Messy, sure but we’ve probably all seen worse right? WRONG… because what you can’t see in this picture… is that, this is actually a 7 foot long closet.  Yep, 7 feet deep and 3 feet wide.

And guess what is filling that 7X3 space, because we both know, it is not wasted space.

Did you guess?

If you guessed a 7 foot deep, 3 foot wide, by 4.5 feet high pile of *what?!*… well then (drum roll please)


Congratulations!  You guessed right!

Games, blankets, shoes, coats, puzzles… Hey, there’s my yoga mat… and who knows what else…  Oh look, hooked on phonics!

And that statement right there ^^^ sums up why this closet is still in the shape it’s in.  Every time I decide to tackle this area, I get distracted.

Distracted by:

  • something I find that “I have been looking for” for awhile
  • something my kids find that we have to look at together, right now!
  • being overwhelmed once I realize what a HUGE job this is
  • being “too tired”

The fact is that these kind of jobs are exhausting, frustrating, and seemingly endless.  Because you know that it’s not just the cleaning of the closet that is going to occur.  In actuality, it’s going to be this:

  • digging it all out,
  • sorting through a bunch of *what? why is this here?* stuff
  • finding homes for your *what? why is this here?* stuff
  • Putting together the 12 wooden puzzles whose pieces lay all over the floor
  • doing the 2 loads of laundry — because you know you’ve looked for those items and they aren’t anywhere else in the house so they must be in the *closet of doom*
  • buying shelving – because, the stacking and bin ideas have both ended the same way…
  • installing the shelving – which requires locating appropriate tools you may or may not know how to use… that is, if you can find them.
  • reorganizing and putting all of your things back into the closet
  • cleaning up the inevitable aftermath, the odds and ends that you should probably throw but know that once you do someone will ask for.
  • vacuuming and picking up misc. pieces …we call this *project residue* in our house

and to top it all off — this is one of those projects you know that you will spend all day doing and no one will notice that you even did it. In fact, while you do this task, it is highly likely that your children, will make several more messes elsewhere in your home while you are doing this.  I always call my main project my *main course* and the inevitable clean-up of the other messes made around the house  afterward *dessert*.

Yes, it’s a task that breeds other tasks.  While I can handle one task, I cannot handle the 5+ others that this task will inevitably birth… So, it’s easier for me to close the door and “deal with it tomorrow”, which, translated into my language means, “deal with it never”… Hey, I’m being honest here.

I am just not the type to bite off more than I can chew willingly… I’m not.  I like tasks that have a clear scope and sequence and that have a timeline that is easily gauged — this is NOT one of those kind of tasks.

This is a task for a professional organizer.  And that, I am not.

I decided this task was a perfect candidate for my *what if, just for today, I* challenge…

After all, a professional organizer would take delight in the different stages of this transformation.  So with much reluctance I took a deep breath and dared to utter… “What if, just for today, I didn’t fear my closet?  What if, just for today, I was a professional organizer?”

What would I do with this mess?  How would I tackle it?  I made a plan, I:

  • measured,
  • purchased shelving,
  • found my tools,

Now it was time to get to work…

Step 1. Get it all out and vacuum, so I can start with a clear & clean space.


Step 2.) Install shelving along the back of the wall.


As well as, along the length of the wall to maximize storage space and usability.  Love the word *usability* – hey, I’m a professional organizer today – I can use it! 😉


Step 3.)  Stand in awe of what you’ve accomplished so far — because, after all, you are a rock star… look at all this untapped talent.

Step 4.) Take and post more pictures than are necessary, just because you are proud.


Step 5.) Reorganize & put it all together.  (I was going to say “back together” but that would imply that it was originally together and I took it apart… which we all saw, was not the case.  It wasn’t pretty.)


Step 6.) Have a brief moment of “what have I gotten myself into”, take a deep breath, and start loading those shelves!


Step 7.) Stand in amazement of all the stuff you pulled out of that single closet… okay, now, get moving again.


Step 8.) Stop and take pictures of your progress.


…a few more pictures won’t hurt…


Step 9.)  Think to yourself: “I am so good at this, I should start a consulting firm, and help other people clean out their junk!”

Step 10.) Remind yourself you are not really a professional organizer and step 9 would not probably be a good career choice, move on…Image

Step 11.) With the finish line now in sight, getting that second wind you need to finish…  Repeat to yourself “I’ve got this!”  Admittedly, a little surprised those words just came out of your mouth about this project… keep moving…


Step 12.) Stand in complete astonishment that everything actually fits into that 7 x 3 space and you can walk in there – without fear!


Step 13.)  Gaze upon the beauty of what is now your *new* closet.

Step 14.) Use the words “tidy”, “pleasant”, “spacious” in a sentence about your closet to make you feel accomplished… seriously try it – it feels good!

Step 15.) Close the door ❤

Perhaps a professional organizer would have done things different – who knows… the point isn’t perfection.  The point is vast improvement, completion, and the elimination of a stressor.

Now what do you see when you look at this door?


I feel so good about it.  I feel like it’s undergone a major medical procedure.  I kind of want to give it a flower…


There, that’s better!

And since it was late and my humor had reached a new low…  I admittedly giggled my way through the following… Yes it actually occurred, out loud, in my home that night.

“I would like to issue you a public apology, dear closet, since I’ve outed you publicly.”

“You endured a lot sweet closet!  I am sorry for all the pain I have caused you in the past… the things I have said to you, at times, admittedly harsh, and obviously misguided.  It was not your fault.  I am sorry for the reputation you had received due to my neglect.”  …”the nerd in me can’t help but give you a solid star trek vulcan salute”… “live long and prosper”…

Late night, nerd humor = the best!

Now when I look at that door this is what I see…


And when I reach to open it, this is what I imagine…


That does it for my first “What if, just for today, I…” installment!

What do you think?

See you next time!

12 thoughts on “What if, just for today, I… didn’t fear my closet?

  1. I love it! Our closet isn’t like this — we keep it strictly for coats and umbrellas, but my mother’s? Forget about it! I’ll show her this to get her thinking of new ways to organize her stuff, although she claims it’s “organized her own way.” 🙂

    • “Organized her own way” ❤ that's awesome! It always amazed my husband when he'd ask me for something in *the closet of doom* and I'd magically know where it was in the heap (ex: gloves, foot 2/layer 3) …wonder if I could have claimed it was *organized my own way*, haha! So good to know there is another closet out there that is, perhaps not as bad as mine, but scary in its own right 😀 I always thought there should be some sort of support group for project procrastinators, like myself in this case 😉 Maybe I'll think about starting one tomorrow <– ahhhh that's why there's not one… ha!

  2. clayton paul

    This is an outstanding post, Rae! It stands alone as a project accomplished, and it’s also a metaphor for getting to work on ourselves as well!

    Very good job!

    Clayton 🙂

    • Thanks Amy!!! I find myself opening the door once in awhile and strolling in just to make sure it is true, LOL 😀 Oh yay! You are a game lover too! We are addicted, lol — it’s a sickness really, lol 😀
      Thanks so much again!
      Rae 😀

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