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Friday November 25, 2005 // By Sandy

Out of sight, on the mind

Twice in the last week we’ve cleared out the contents of a closet in an effort to achieve something approaching order. Ninety percent of our apartment has been in an orderly shape since the second month of our residency, but only at the expense of the remaining ten percent. It’s those nooks, crannies and out-of-the-way shelves that have served as collection points for that which belongs nowhere else. After 14 months, it was time to deal with this leftover crap.

I’ll admit it: re-organizing is not much of a chore for me. I belong to the Church of the Spatial (motto: “What Would Rubik Do?”), so any task that involves fitting various shapes into varying spaces is my idea of a good time. I also enjoy the challenge of categorization, but because of my chronic indecisiveness, it’s this task that can also be my downfall. I have the tendency to overcategorize, or spend so much effort on deciding which bucket is best that I defeat the reason I started the work in the first place.

The closet in the office was where we kept all the leftover office-y supplies, unused electronic equipment and camping gear. I was never satisfied in the accessibility (or lack thereof) of the important stuff in there, and the dissatisfaction had reached its limit. So on a quiet Monday evening this week, I emptied the closet of everything and started anew. The result ended up being not only much more organized, but also managed to have room for a three-story plastic bin for orphaned cords and cables that we’d been keeping in the middle of the room. I went to bed happy knowing another spatial quandry could be marked: Solved!

Thanksgiving came around three days later. We had been absolved of almost all cooking duties that day, save some cookies, so with the prospect of a day spent at home, we turned to the next big organizational task on the list: the guest room closet. This one was less of an effort to reorganize and more of one to cull our overflowing memory boxes. We had a pretty fun time digging through childhood art projects and senior class portraits. For some things—e.g. “Rock the Vote” pin, circa 1992—it was finally their time. For others—extensive Garbage Pail Kids collection—the connection was just too strong. Again, everything found their orderly way back into boxes, which found their orderly way back on to shelves, which were finally in such a state that you didn’t need three arms and the Jaws of Life to get at the goods.

There are lots of upgrades we want to do to the place, efforts that’ll keep us busy until we move out, I’m sure. But I feel that only after we get the simple tasks out of the way—and I’m thinking “working, usable closets” should qualify as a simple task—will we have the inclination to focus on anything larger.

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