Day 126: Clear

IMG_2348I tried to clear out the upstairs bathroom closet yesterday, but yielded to my wife’s request to make it an early night. But tonight I am on it. And boy, am I in over my head.

This closet is, well, I am not sure what to say about it. It would put Fibber McGee to shame. I’ve actually had to take two breaks so far, and I’ve now recruited my wife to help me work through the layers upon layers of God-knows-what that has found a home in here.

So far, here are the completely unnecessary things I’ve found, and promptly thrown away:

  • Fertility monitoring strips
  • A pregnancy test kit
  • One stray diaper (clean)
  • One plastic baby wipe container (empty)
  • Thrush medicine
  • Infant vitamin drops
  • Many, many half-full hotel courtesy bottles of shampoo & conditioner
  • Expired prescriptions (oldest so far: 1997)
  • And so on….

I’m not sure I will get through the towel-reduction tonight, but by my best count, we have around 35 bath towels (most of which are presently in need of a wash). I think cutting that number in half is probably a good target.

As my wife and I started to work through the remainder of the stuff in the closet, I could see her going through the same thought process that I have struggled with over the past few months, and still do on occassion. I held up a stack of linen hand towels that I am pretty sure I moved from one bathroom closet–unused–eleven years ago, to this bathroom closet, where they have remained unused to this day. When I asked what we should do with them, she replied:

“I’m not going to throw away perfectly good hand towels. Those could come in handy some day!”

After a few minutes of talking through what we were doing, and why we were doing it, the linen hand towels made their way into the donation bag, along with a table cloth (I have no idea why there was a table cloth in the bathroom closet), a shower curtain, and (no, I’m not kidding) a solitary, Christmas-themed oven mitt.

IMG_2350We plowed on through the rest of it, generating bag after bag of stuff that would  end up either in a landfill or at a donation center.

To be honest it was a little unsettling how much of what we cleared couldn’t be donated–there’s not a lot of call for expired medications and half-used bottles of children’s vitamins.

In the end, we cleared out the closet of just about anything that didn’t have an immediate or easily foreseeable use. The tricky part, though, will be to keep it that way.


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12 Responses to Day 126: Clear

  1. Good job! I also reduced towels some months ago, think I gave away 20 or so and still have enough. Even though it’s a lot of work it must feel nice thinking about how much lighter the move will be. Good job both of you!

    • Mark says:

      I hope so! It’s easy for me to start feeling overwhelmed, but the more we throw ourselves into the more difficult challenges, I think the easier it will be to keep up the momentum.

  2. That’s amazing, and at least the diaper was clean!! 😁

  3. nrhatch says:

    Great job! One question I ask when decluttering is: “If this object had NOT come into my life . . . would I have missed it?”

    If no, it’s easier for me to let it go.

    Local animal shelters are always in need of towels and sheets for puppies and kittens to curl up with.

  4. nrhatch says:

    Your after shot looks calming!

  5. suziecfisher says:

    Instead of putting the out of date drugs into the landfill (and contaminating the water table) you could consider dropping them off at a pharmacy or in my area the local police station has a free drug (legal and illegal) bin. Just a thought!

  6. revdarkwater says:

    I’m grateful for how you transparently admit this decluttering/simplifying/minimalising process is conflicted and just plain PAINFUL sometimes. Energy, focus, and all the rest to you!

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