Messy ClosetWhen we are young, we often let our imagination get the better of us. At night, the lights go off and we’re all alone in our bedroom. What’s under the bed? What’s that on my chair across the room? And…what is in the closet? Images from popular movies might come to our mind as we try to drift off to sleep. Wait…did the closet door just creak…?

Then morning comes, and the “monsters” in the closet aren’t there after all. Or maybe they’re just not so scary. So we forget about them and move on with our day.

What are the monsters in your closet? What used to be figments of your imagination might now be causing real anxiety in your life. That pile of clothes…the boxes of photos or other items that you were going to get organized, but “life” got in the way…whatever it is, something is cluttering up your closet. Just like when you were little, you can shut the door and ignore those monsters. But you know they’re still there, living happily in your space.

Time to evict!

I decided it was time to kick the monsters out of my kids’ closets. My two boys, 11 and 14, have 3 closets between the two of them. One room has two smaller closets. This would be a dream room for a girl, right? One closet for summer clothes, and one for the winter wardrobe.  But for my 11-year-old son, who usually pulls t-shirts and shorts out of his dresser (“those ARE my dressy clothes, Mom!”), the closets have become homes for clutter. One had been used for toys years ago. Now it just looks like a shrine to childhood —all the happy “monsters” in this one, like the kind you’d see on Sesame Street. Those monsters must be harmless, right? They represent all the good memories. I can’t possibly get rid of the bouncy balls, half-lost Lego kits, a pirate ship from our six-year obsession with Peter Pan.

Or could I? Here’s how I rationalize whether to get rid of something. Would I really want to go back to my parents’ house and find a zillion little girl toys, Barbies, stuffed animals, half-used make-up, all in my old bedroom? Umm, not really. That would be a little creepy. I have kept my two favorite dolls and some handmade outfits for them, and that’s enough of a keepsake. There’s a difference between keeping a memory or two and holding on to every object you own just because you’re afraid to let go. In other words, do you want to control your clutter, or let it control you?

Before I could go through my son’s “treasures,” I had to start with his permission. After all, it’s his room, his closet, his monsters. I went straight to the commander-in-chief of the bedroom and picked his brain. I found out that he really wanted to make the room more grown-up. Ah-ha! There’s the best motivation of all. Once he had some ideas of how to change his room, he had ownership of the project and was totally on board to pass some of his stash on to other children. And what better timing—there was a yard sale approaching. Time to act!

Happy Organizing!

Katie Wheedleton