You know the ways you procrastinate, and you know each of your own rationales for dreading and delaying chores. Me too, these unwanted, un-adult non-actions, this wasteful side of humanness. I laid down the procrastinator’s law to myself last weekend, underscoring to self, the schedule was going to be light and easy, no excuses left. For nearly 12 months I have extensively searched for ways to avoid cleaning the guest room closet. This is no ordinary closet, but a large, dark closet which has endless capacity. Over the months, and bit by bite, my small, cheerful other tasks were completed, but the dreaded overstuffed closet lurked on. During a last week insomnia bout, I circled the words, “closet cleaning” in turquoise ink and wrote in upper case letters next to the words: “For God sakes, do it.”
On Saturday, I didn’t think or obsess about the task, didn’t allow rumination. Got up from breakfast table, took a box, a garbage bag and straight lined to the guest bedroom. Papers were grouped, a shred pile started, terrible, out of date clothes (read: no longer fit) were chucked into a donation box. Special objects earmarked for gifts or fun, were filed in a spare drawer and Christmas wrapping gear organized. I kept the earbuds turned up loud. John Fogarty had gotten me through much worse in the 70s and he did not fail Saturday. Any DIY project not completed, no matter the charming intention, went into the donation space. I’m the finest at gathering DIY ingredients and equally worst at completion. My lack of attention span and the failure to ever draw a straight line, understand directions longer than three sentences, just trump my intention. I know better, but I buy project ingredients anyway, believing I will supernaturally mature into a skilled do-er with the very next project. Six decades in, not yet.
I found a missing black and white print of my late Dad and I. Dad had 30-year-old construction guy guns, cigarette sleeves and khakis. I was months old, swaddled in taffeta. Man, I love that guy. He’s been gone three years next March, so finding this pic was my reward.
Old lamps were garaged and well-intended picture frames, grass stained tennis shoes, lesson plans long evolved, all gone. The broken curtain rod was restored, curtains rehung and when I came out of my Twilight Zone like cleaning trance, I had even changed out the bedding and dusted.
This 90-minute task had played out for months in my head. Why do I, why do humans have closets and accumulations which stalk and taunt us? Why? Anyone?