Thursday, November 18, 2010

Closet Reaches Critical Mass

My bedroom closet has reached critical mass. Again.

I hate when this happens because it means a large chunk of my time will be spent de-fusing a situation that threatens to get ugly. Yes, my closet has exploded many times before, leaving bits of handbags and old sweatshirts strewn around my bedroom and into the hall.


This stuff is breeding at night. I've found evidence, a tiny baby handbag that looks suspiciously like two of my favorite purses. I haven't caught them in the act yet but someone has promised to lend me a nanny-cam with night vision.

The last house we lived in when I was growing up was my mom's dream come true. It was actually a closet nightmare. The house was a victorian style farmhouse that stood surrounded by some land. It was eventually swallowed up by the advancing Chicagoland sprawl.

The house had lots of detail and charm. There were lovely leaded glass windows, heavy woodwork, pocket doors and a fireplace in the main parlor that was edged in porcelain tiles imported from England. Not so charming was the fact that there were no closets. Well, there were closets but looking back I realize that all the closet space in that place housing seven people would equal the space in my master bedroom closet alone.

I don't think my parent's had a closet at all. They converted a side parlor into their bedroom. There was a tiny space under the staircase that might have been a storage closet, but it had been converted to a bathroom years before. I'm using the term bathroom loosely because it was actually just a toilet squeezed into the miniscule space. If I remember correctly you had to back into the "room". I have no clue where my parents stored their clothing. Maybe they wore the same thing every day. You don't pay attention to those things when you're a teenager.

When you've grown up a situation like that, a house with plenty of closets and storage space seems like a dream come true. But remember the saying, "Be careful what you wish for". We are currently living in a house that's a closet lover's dream. There are closets everywhere. Two coat closets, two pantries, large closets in each bedroom and four, count 'em, FOUR linen closets, one for each bedroom.

Those of you living in 100-year-old farmhouses are now drooling on the keyboard. Hold up. There's a huge problem with having ample storage space. I've thought about this for awhile and I've come up with a universal rule.


The amount of stuff occupying a space will expand at a known rate. This expansion is directly related to the volume of space available. The rate will increase exponentially until it reaches critical mass, at which time more space must be added or the stuff will create sufficient energy to escape it's confinement.


The more closets you have, the more stuff you will acquire, knowingly or unknowingly.
Having more closets means you are less likely to pitch the stuff that needs pitching.
Stuff breeds at night when you're not looking.
The stuff builds up imperceptibly and before you know it, you're drowning in stuff.
If you build a closet on to the back of the house, it will fill up quickly, requiring you to build another closet.

OK, enough of this. I need to go de-fuse that closet!


chocolatechic said...

I laid awake this morning just thinking the same thing.

I need to clean my closet.

PS. I totally envy your home growing up.

Tess said...

I have no closet space whatsoever. Though, I would put up with just about anything to have your house growing up.

Lisa D. said...

I have no closet space. I have said a house can't have too much closet space, and a kitchen can't have too much counter space.
We have a tiny 1 1/2 story house. My two girls share a bedroom, with a large armoire in their room for some closet space. My two boys share a room, with no closet space. Any button up shirts they own get hung in their sisters' room. We have an armoire in the front entrance for a bit of coat storage.
Because of the slanted ceiling, we have storage built in upstairs, however it is not practical everyday storage. Part of it is Christmas decoration storage, more is for all the boxes of clothes the two older children grow out of, waiting for the 2 younger children to grow into. And part is a secret hideout for the kids to play in.
I really miss closet space, however, you are very right. Storage space inevitably fills up and you need more. My husband and I both tend to be packrats, and this tiny house is slowly but surely curing me of that. More and more I just want to get rid of things because I hate not having a place to put anything, and constantly being surround by stuff and clutter. I still dream of endless closets and giant pantries though!

Vee said...

Oh, okay, and I was just about to begin drooling. That space looks wonderful!

Alison Gibbs said...

Suzanne it doesn't matter how big the closet is - there is never enough room.
Must be The Closet fairy coming around making a mess as you sleep!!

Anonymous said...

You are correct, the more storage space the more stuff! I also have this same problem. I hate changing seasons and the changing of clothes to match the season. Linda

bv said...

i can prove your theory. had 'dream house', moved to 'house of storage'. raised kids. 3 stories, full attic, full basement, walk in closets and storage room. every year i marched out 7 fully decorated christmas trees wrapped in plastic wrap. it took me a year to move out. and a year at the new 1560 sq ft home to settle in. 2 years of throwing out. when we moved i discovered a dirty little secret. when the kids cleaned their rms they shoved all their 'stuff' to the back of the attic. and i found a few empty beer cans left from those rotten children......LOVE my little , neat, tidy, home!

Ang. said...

I grew up in a house built in the 1920's. You would expect a lack of closets. Surprisingly, whoever built it must have been very forward thinking. All 3 bedrooms had decent sized closets. Plus there was a coat closet in the living room and a nice pantry. It also had built-ins in the kitchen and the dining room. I miss that house.

The house we live in now was also built in the 20's. It has no original closets downstairs. Someone built a coat closet in the dining room. Its ugly and out of place. Since our house has a hip roof, each bedroom has a large walk in closet under the eaves. Actually, my bedroom has 2. These closets are huge and could actually house a twin bed and dresser. Yes, they are crammed full of crap. Its time to clean my son's out because his houses the Christmas decorations. We can't get to them until he cleans his stuff out of the way.

It seems to me that an there is a lot of closet drama going on! Too much or too little it all creates closet drama!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the incentive to clean out! I try to keep a box handy and put things in that are too good to throw out, when the box is full it goes to Goodwill, I don't wait for a receipt, I need to get rid of it before I think I need it. We have a small room that is called the abyss!
I feel so much better when I declutter, and have much to get rid of.
we are in a much smaller house (since 1996) I keep saying I need to get rid of all the boxes in the basement that have been unopened for 14 yrs!
And lets not get started on the outbuildings!
I haven't been to your blog in over a week, so I am catching up.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I went from a six foot long closet to an 8 x 10 foot walk in, then back to a six foot one via moves. Can't wait to retire so I won't need business clothes. I might even pare down to a wardrobe of just a bathrobe and slippers for a few years!

Bathrooms Guru said...

Wowzer, you're abit of a hoarder then! Maybe buy a lockup for all this!?

QuiltNCards said...

I agree. When we moved here to a house with 4 bedrooms and a den where we had been living in a 2 bedroom apartment there were lots of empty spaces. I've been busy and filled them up to capacity and beyond. And like you the "mess" seems to spill out into other rooms now. Too much work to rectify it now. <3 Terri

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