The Great Clean Up of My Old Room

Sorry for the small delay in posting, ya’ll, but I’ve retreated to my parents home for the week and my work ethic has become a bit like jello. Mmm cable tv and a screened-in porch. . .why do I want to go back to Brooklyn and reclaim my independence? Until yesterday, when the ‘Clean Out Your Closets’ demands started rolling in, I seriously wasn’t sure.

I should say that my closets are basically a quick trip through my past, from kindergarten through college. . .and I’m a bit of a hoarder. And I love my stuff! That postcard collection that I totally forgot about, but have now re-found and adore? Don’t want to dump it! And the high school essay from A.P. U.S History that received a 98%? Can’t throw out that gem! Which leaves me with….two full closets and a peeved M.O.M.

After talking it through though, she has some good points which might make it easier for me to organize myself in the future. Abbreviated, it’s called The Basement Stairs Rule. How it works is, if I wouldn’t want to lug it up the stairs when I one day move back to Chicago to my own place — it gets tossed. She even proposed that I start thinking like that in my current apartment. At first, I railed against it, saying that I’d move EVERYTHING. But, after closer inspection, I definitely have some textbooks that will never be read again that can be donated in addition to old clothes and random papers I’ve amassed through the years.

I’m almost done cleaning and it’s been kind of awesome picking through various trinkets, knowing that only I know why they were kept. Like, a pair of kids sunglasses that I found while visiting the tulip fields in Amsterdam. It was 2004, and I was visiting a good friend from college who was ‘studying’ there — he picked them up off the ground and wore them the whole day just to be silly. Maybe they’re worthless, but seeing them immediately brought me back 5 years and that’s pretty invaluable. Because, I’m going to want that memory for a long, long time and in 10 years I’ll still likely be glad I have them.

The issue of time brings me to a final suggestion that’s worked well for me. I try to think about decisions and think how I’ll feel in 10 minutes, 10 hours, and, if possible, 10 year. So, when you’re cleaning, try to do the same. If you’ll miss something in 10 minutes, but not tomorrow — it’s time to toss. If you’ll be real sorry 10 years down the line that you chucked it — it’s worth the space.

Author My First Apartment
Alissa

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at GolinHarris, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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