Thursday, September 15, 2011

the clutter murders

For those who are not fanatical Kansas natives (called Jayhawkers - there's your crossword trivia for the day) and don't know about the horrific Clutter murders of 1959 in Holcomb, Kansas:  the Clutters were a well-off farm family.  Two marauders were convinced that they had bunches of money and valuables hidden in their house, so they broke in, held them hostage, then savagely axed the whole family to death.  Turns out there were no valuables.  Oops.  The murderers were found pretty immediately, tried, and neatly dispatched (hanged).  Truman Capote came to Kansas and wrote a little story about called In Cold Blood.  I'm sure he shocked the hell out of Southwestern Kansas with his gayness.

My mom grew up not fifty miles from Holcomb, and all she would ever remark on this incident (that happened when she was eight) was that that was when they started to lock their doors at night.

But, happily for you, this post isn't actually about the Clutter murders of 1959.  It's about the clutter murders of 2011.  That's right, folks.  I'm taking you on a tour of the dark bowels of my home.  These four areas that I'm determined to clutter-bust before the year is out.

Don't know about you all, but clutter makes me feel chaotic.  Watching "Hoarders" is scary.  Some of my relatives have been on the line of problem "collecting," and I've had to clean out too many great-grandmas' and grandparents' houses to ever, EVER become a packrat.  Unfortunately, my husband hasn't had the same experiences, and loves to come home with new little tidbits of junk.

We moved homes every year from 2007 through 2010, and moving is an fantastic motivator to get rid of all your old crap so you don't have to U-Haul it anywhere.  I've made it my mission to only have one of anything, so Goodwill has benefited mightily from my prunings.  Alas, we've been in our home in Topeka for almost fifteen months now, and some detritus has begun accumulating.

First:  Jeff's closet.

We have a bad habit of just leaving things in the big plastic Rubbermaid bins, rather than storing it more attractively.  This is a symptom of my frugality, as I'm hesitant to buy shelving even though we need it.  This just needs a good once-over.

Next up, the pantry:

Our house is old and funny and has lots of nooks and crannies that are perfect for tossing junk when you're in a hurry.  The pantry sits under the staircase, and extends its entire length.  We use the top shelf for food, and the bottom for the stuff we would put in a garage if we had a garage (dog food, Jeff's tools and milk crates, charcoal for BBQ, etc).  I'm not totally sure how to solve this space issue until we have a garage, but I can at least neaten it up.

Then, upstairs:

This one is really Jeff's to deal with, since for some reason he absolutely despises putting his clothes away after I launder and fold them.  But he won't do it until I twist his arm, so I just need to get started on the arm-twisting.

And this.  Kind of like the pantry-garage, this is the stuff I would put in the basement if we had a basement.  Old journals, baby and maternity clothes I'm saving for next time (!), art supplies.  Instead of a basement, they live in a corner of our giant upstairs loft-bedroom.  Again, just need shelving to neatly store this stuff.  In fact, I'd kind of like to see if I can't consolidate it into the pantry-garage and use this corner for the baby's "prepared environment."

Wish me luck!  I feel like to really complete this endeavor, I'll have to take a few days off work with the baby at the sitter.  And there's the small matter of getting Jeff on board . . .


David the Librarian said...

Ugh. Everything you wrote here applies at our house too (well - minus one baby. But plus three cats!) The still-packed storage crates. The random, Hoarders-style stacks of months-old newspapers and magazines that I'm sure I'll get around to reading someday (yeah, right). And we have a basement AND a garage, but they're full with all the grandparent junk you referenced. And it seems like Lorissa brings in at least one bagful of new crap every time she walks through the door. HELP!!!

Emily said...

Yes, I'm afraid that instinct to "save it just in case" must be genetic! The months-old newspapers are totally Mom's style. For Jeff, I had to implement a one-in, one-out policy. Every time he brings something home, we have to put something in the Goodwill bin.