When my husband came home from a run with a wasp sting in his bicep, I rushed for the first aid supplies. Ugh, what a mess. I keep them in the linen closet which has long been on my de-clutter list and long been avoided. Eventually I found both oral and topical Benedryl and anti-histamines, and my husband, fortunately, didn’t have too bad a reaction from the sting. But, I did feel that it is time to tackle the linen closet. Here is what it looks like before and after I spent 45 minutes to empty it:
The door doesn’t work, so it’s always open, showing off its messy interior. I know that the interior is not painted, the main reason I put off de-cluttering it. When we moved back into the house after renovating, we had all of the finish work to do ourselves. That seemed like such a responsible and economical way to go! However, years later we still haven’t finished the finish work! And for the most part, we were anxious to put stuff away so we hung shelves in closets without bothering to paint them first. In the case of the linen closet, I remembered that we tore the drywall in the process as well; another one of those tasks within a task.
Four hours of painting later (closets are the worst), the inside of the closet is a pale blue. The paint is left over from repainting our son’s room after his ceiling fell-in a few weeks ago and I was wondering how it would look to paint the hallway (never painted) the same color. Now I’m thinking a light brown might work better since it will have to continue down the stairs and look appropriate with light golden yellow as well as red.
I am not very good at throwing things away, so I enlisted my younger daughter to help me with all the medications and first aid supplies. Besides, she can read the expiration dates on things and I need my reading glasses to do so. She was soon chucking tubes and packets of things into the trash with great abandon. The bottles and boxes, we set aside to figure out a recycling strategy.
Next came the towels. I had been holding off getting rid of our oldest towels until I had time to re-organize the entire linen closet, so now was the time. This was made vastly easier because my older daughter had taken several to camp with her and my younger daughter had likewise packed a few for her upcoming camp. Just before we started our renovation, I had found such a good deal on towels at the local warehouse store that I’d stocked up on enough white towels for all the bathrooms. They are somewhere in the attic. I did manage to find the few sets that my husband had taken with him when he moved for his job and then brought back when he moved back home. So, for now I put those in the linen closet. I also found a box of beach towels and they fit neatly in the bottom of the linen closet now.
Sheets were next. I pared it down to one extra set of sheets per bed, but that left an awful lot more that I don’t need. I also knew that I had even more sheet sets and blankets in the attic. I need to go through them all sooner rather than later so that I don’t have that hanging over my head. In the end, I kept an extra set of sheets for my son’s bed because it will be used as a guest room when he’s off at college. This set has never been used, yet it was a wedding present (i.e. I’ve had them for 25 years and never used them!). I also kept a few extra sets of twin sheets because the girls use them when they have sleepovers.
As for the rest, I’m giving the ragged towels to the humane society and the nice sheets and towels to St. Vincent de Paul. That leaves only a little left for the trash bin.
When it came to the medicines and first aid supplies, I decided that less is more. Most of what I had wasn’t really first aid; it was just nice to have on hand if someone got sick. I’ll still keep small quantities of pain reliever, decongestant, allergy medicines, etc. but no more bulk buys for me! As for real first aid supplies, I checked the CDC website to see what to keep in a First Aid Kit and was pleased to discover that most of it is non-perishable. So, it’s now on my to-do list to assemble all the necessary items. They recommend keeping it all in a toolbox or tackle box so that it’s portable.
Here is my linen closet now. There’s room for a few more things, like blankets that we use in the winter that are stored up in the attic. Now I just need to fix that door!
Find the Joy in the Journey!