It's time to come clean here at Old Town Home, and to be honest, I'm only doing so because my partner in crime busted me this weekend. You see, while working on the installation of our new IKEA butcher block counter tops, Alex needed to empty the majority of our kitchen cabinets, including the large area under the sink. And boy was he surprised.
But let me back up for a minute. In January, we had a bit of a public outing regarding a hoarding situation in our house. My vice: the collection of nearly 100 paper shopping bags, stored jammed behind our white hutch. (Even Lulu is embarrassed by my behavior.)
My husband's: hoarding of scraps of wood, that have slowly taken over our basement making it difficult to use as a wood shop, and laundry/storage area.
As part of a new year's resolution to purge and organize, our public shaming of each other was met with a little huffiness substantial results. We remedied the bag situation so that the area behind the hutch was cleared of this clutter, and we worked on getting the basement into decent enough shape that it was clean(ish) and more functional.
But old habits die hard, and if anyone is a fan of the TLC show Hoarders the way I am, you know that more often than not, those afflicted with hoarding tendencies are either chasing the junk removal trucks down the street in an effort to rescue a few "really important" items from their fate in a landfill, or play it cool for the cameras but later fill their homes back up with stuff once the coast is clear.
Well, we have a little bit of both going on here. Might I direct your attention to Exhibit A, the state of the basement, lovingly referred to as The Hellhole.
Despite carting five trips of donations to a local charity, and throwing out several large contractor bags of trash earlier this year, the mess down here slowly amassed over the last six months. I did my best to ignore it, until our hand was forced. We just finished refinancing, and having our home appraised was part of the process. Embarrassed by the mess, the morning of the appraisal (yep, you read that right), Alex was frantically tidying up down there to make it less offensive.
An hour or so's worth of work later, significant improvement was made. Though we have several ongoing and active projects that require much use of our basement/wood shop/hellhole, Alex has done pretty well to keep it fairly organized. Sure, it's not even close to a clean and organized example of what basements can be, but it's workable.
I, on the other hand, did a better job of concealing my little hoarder backslide. Alex routinely checked behind the white hutch to ensure I was no longer stashing bags in my original location, so I selected my new hidden location. As I mentioned at the start, my secret stash sat hidden away until the counter top work blew the whistle on it a few weekends ago. On the fateful day, as Alex started emptying out the cabinet...I knew what was coming.
As he pulled out handful after handful of various crumbled bags, expletives started to fly and I knew I had been busted. I scurried around behind him, trying to quickly organize the piles he had exposed, throwing them into the brutal light of day. No longer hidden away, I made every effort to protect my bounty, but my efforts were futile. Here's my death glare that screams, "Touch these bags and you lose an arm!"
Okay, even I have to recognize that the stash had grown a bit out of control. So I completed the quick task of organizing the bags into reusable grocery bags, plastic bags, and paper grocery/shopping bags.
Next, I went through them and came up with a decent size pile of those that could be discarded. Here I am, with the "aren't you proud of me, honey?" smile, as I bid these bags farewell.
As much as I hate to admit it, I really appreciate times like these when you're forced to face your out of sight disasters. Even though I'm a neat freak, as long as things are clean on the surface, or the door to the basement is closed, I can usually ignore these problem areas for quite some time. But the recent appraisal along with the upgrades in the kitchen, are forcing us to make some decisions about what should stay, what should go to a new home, and what should head into the garbage or recycling bin. It's also presenting an opportunity to reorganize our home and our lives.
Having to pull out drawers and empty cabinets has forced me to make some decisions about kitchen items that we can part with. In addition to donating a bagful of items to a local charity, I'm thrilled to report that our kitchen junk drawer has gone from this nightmare...
...to this semi organized state, now free of batteries leaking acid and other atrocities.
Have you tackled any organization projects recently? Is there an area in your home, or an item that you "collect", that despite your best efforts you can't keep in order? Have you every been busted by your partner for a little bad habit "backslide?" I'd love to hear your stories.