Parahousenormal Activity

The Purge (Yellow House Style)

I've been on a bit of a purge-and-organize closet bender around the house lately -- what most people would probably consider "spring cleaning" except it's now September because I'm not a slave to your calendars, man.

This place has a legitimately amazing number of closets and built-in storage options, but of course the downsides to all that storage means you can simply wall up all your crap for years, out of sight and mind like the Tell-Tale Heart, until one day you open a door and BLAM. You are dead under a pile of regifting candles and suitcases and board games nobody likes.

 So I've been waging the War on Crap one closet at a time. Lesser victories (aka ones I forgot to take a "before" photo of, like wow it's almost like I've lost the compulsion to share every minute of my day with the Internet or something) include the boys' bookshelves and a linen closet:


(Note that I separated and organized sheets by SIZE! And added corresponding labels to the shelves! And made SEVERAL attempts at properly folding the fitted sheets as per YouTube demo instructions before saying fuck this and balling them up into a semi-flat wad like I always do.)

(I also pushed the button a bunch more times. Still nothing. Still deeply disappointed.)

More major victories included the master bedroom closet:



How does one let one's life spiral out of control like this? Three easy steps:

1) Pair off two people with equally high tolerance for clutter (and one with a very well documented wire hanger problem).

2) Rotate through several seasons without a full closet switchover thing, choosing instead of half-ass it and rummage around in storage containers until the whole thing becomes a terrible sweaters-shorts-jeans-bathing-suits hybrid of disorganization.

3) Uh. I don't really know the third step. Probably Trump-related anxiety. Why clean when you can lie in bed and stare at the ceiling while consumed with existential dread?


(Hedging the angles because I didn't take a day-of photo of Jason's half and GUESS WHAT THE HANGERS ARE ALREADY BACK, LIKE TRIBBLES.)

The basement toy closets:



This ended up being a multi-day job because I foolishly started it last Wednesday, completely forgetting that the kids didn't have school the rest of the week. Hauling out multiple bags of broken/busted/super-old toys was a bit more challenging with them hovering over my shoulder and insisting that yes, that Happy Meal toy from 2012 DOES bring them joy, now BACK OFF MY SHIT, MARIE. 


I am now in the process of creating labels for all of those perfectly organized bins and baskets, which I'm sure will totally solve all my problems forever. 


(I know. I know. Just give me this one for like, a couple hours.)

And finally, this goddamn disaster hellscape:


When we first moved in, I designated the bottom two shelves of the small kitchen pantry to the kids' art supplies and Play-Doh. (I mean, why not? we have two pantries! the other one is a walk-in! we have the perfect spot for everything! la la la laaaaaa.)

Over time, of course, the hoard of precious scribbles and scattered crayons/coloring books/empty Play-Doh cans grew and grew and took over more and more space, until it was less "kids' creativity center" and more "lair of the demogorgon." Finally, the kids went back to school and I just kind of snapped.


"Villains!' I shrieked. 'Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!


Ta-DAAAA, motherfuckers. That is some organizing magic, right there. Look, I found an entire shelf just for NAPKINS. 

So by my count, I only have like, five more closets to tackle. Plus the basement storage room which is probably the One Hoard To Rule Them All, but all that stuff is too heavy for mah poor delicate elbow right now. The shower remodel should wrap up today and then we're a go for hardwood floors in a couple weeks, also a back patio. And Ezra and Ike want to move back into a single room, which means we'll have an extra bedroom for...Legos probably? Oh! And we've swapped the living and the family rooms, relocated the TV and some of the furniture, AND I'm building a three-kid homework/computer station in what was formerly the living room. 

Holy crap, this entire post makes me sound like I am at least eight months pregnant and nesting AF. I know I don't blog as often as I used to but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't forget to tell you something that important.

(I am most definitely not pregnant. Probably just my latest coping mechanism for  all that "oh hey are we on the brink of nuclear war and the entire planet appears to be hellbent on our destruction while our president picks fights with sportsball? OH OKAY LET'S GO ORGANIZE A CLOSET AND ACHIEVE A SENSE OF CONTROL IN A WORLD FULL OF CHAOS" anxiety.)



I'm so jealous! Can you come organize my home? I can easily decide what to keep vs. throw away. It's more the initiation to action that I require help on. Here's the nightly thought process/justification: "Purge and organize? Let's do it! Oh wait, I want to finish watching this precious TV show. That's uber-important right now. Yeah, let's do purge-and-organize tomorrow and tonight let's just veg-and-stuff-face-with-popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain snack so that's healthy. What was I saying earlier? Eh, who cares. The Good Place is back on!"


The links are really what makes this post come together. I mean of course you'll never have problems again after organizing and labeling your closet like a boss!


I have also been trying to get a sense of control in a world full of chaos and sometimes I think it would be easier to just go live in a tent in the yard. And I don't even HAVE any kids, just a husband, a giant dog, not enough space and too much crap.

Megan H.

Closet organizing was my pregnancy jam as well. My husband came home from work one night (at 11 PM) to find pregnant me had completely emptied out both of the master bedroom closets and had all of the contents all over our bed. He decided it was prudent to help me finish my task so we could both actually go to bed that night.
When I nested all over the linen closet I got a pack of those vacuum shrinking bags from Amazon. That changed my life! Now all the things are in bags - winter clothes, extra sheets, outgrown baby clothes, etc.


As someone who woke up at 1 AM today from a nuclear apocalypse dream, this makes perfect sense. You get your house under control, girl!

Sue W

When my in laws passed away one month to the day apart 3 years ago, it fell to us to go through their house that they had lived in since 19hunnertand72. On vey! My mother in law had those ginormous totes of checkbook registers and paid bills from 19hunnertand72 stacked floor to ceiling in a bedroom closet. That's just one example all of the other things that caused us to ask, Whatinthehell did they keep THIS for? It kinda spurred us to try and tackle our own closets. We were gung-ho for a couple of weeks and then. Nothing. We don't have kids, so when we die, it will be left to our 2 nephews and 1 niece to ask, "whatinthehell did they keep THIS for?
And so it goes!

Joanna Moore

I actually am pregnant and have been resisting doing anything because I didn't know what we were having yet (another boy) and I hurt my back. But now I want to clean and purge everything! They should allow days off from work to clean and organize.


THIS "insisting that yes, that Happy Meal toy from 2012 DOES bring them joy, now BACK OFF MY SHIT, MARIE." made me laugh SO HARD. It is so me. I have read that book twice. I have begun the process several times. I think I need to read the book again.


We moved into a house with copious storage space, including a huge basement utility room/doomsday prepper's storage room that I laughed and laughed at and then completely filled full of stuff. Except my husband is in the military and the next place we move will likely be much smaller and also I am pregnant AF. My husband is taking our toddler to visit his parents for four days next month and the closet of doom will meet Crazy Nesting Pregnant Lady. Also, I am quite envious that you can just store napkins all willy nilly at a reasonable height. Ours are on top of the fridge for the foreseeable future.


I am verrrry veeerrrrrrrryyyyy interested in your 3 kid homework station. Please share that one if you get the time. It is relevant to my interests! Thank you, love your work.


So, I read the legal Printer Paper as "legit Printer Paper". I like legit better.


Woohoo closet porn!

Amy in StL

I think after the election in November I just gave up and my closet/bedroom are also a mismash of shorts and sweaters and tanktops and how did this happen OMG how do I unsort it all?!


i love purging and organizing. My husband usually complains about not being able to find things when I'm done though. He's more of a "i know exactly which pile that thing I'm looking for was in" kinda guy. The basement is next on our list, we've got to empty it so we can have it finished. Oh the crap down there, not to mention the spiders, I dread it.


I'm totally doing this too. The cashier at Target asked about all the cleaning supplies I was buying and I said "Fall cleaning".


I know this sounds like a terribly stupid thing, but sheet folding is the bane of my existence. Someone blew my mind recently by telling me to fold them up and store them inside a pillowcase. Mind Blown! How much easier and more organized my linen closet is now!! Just thought I would share. Perhaps I'm the only idiot that doesn't do this already or maybe I have now saved everyone here the frustration that I faced!


Just ordered closet systems for all the closets yesterday and I am SO EXCITED about installation next week. There will be shelves! And drawers! And bars at reasonable hanging height. I'm also filled with dread about having to actually empty said closets for installation. But still! Soon there will be order.


These photos bring me joy. I love sorting a closet. Well done!


Ughhh so jealous. I have going through our piles of crap and getting organized on my list to "work on" while the kids are in school..... but my youngest is only in morning preschool, and only 4 days a week.... soooo not much has happened yet. Le Sigh.


I'm genuinely bumfuzzled that there are people in the world who rotate their wardrobes with the passing seasons. In Texas, we have no seasons. Just hot, slightly less hot, rainy as all fuck, and maybe a day or two of legit cold. Plus I'm a nurse so I literally wear the same thing to work every day. When I'm off work, it's all yoga pants and tee-shirts all the time. My husband is either in jeans and a tee-shirt or shorts and a tee-shirt. I don't know if he even owns a jacket. So yeah. The idea of cleaning a closet is odd to me. Closets are where stuff you don't want to deal with goes to die and/or languish until suddenly it's the greatest thing ever again.


Here's another "I'm massively pregnant" comment! With my first two pregnancies, I somehow missed the nesting phase. Of course, this time I've got it! Which is weird, because this baby won't be coming home with me (I'm a surrogate- baby is just fine)! This week I went through the majority of my kids toys, got their cool weather wardrobes out, and started reorganizing my closet. It drives me nuts that I can only handle working on this stuff for about 20 minutes at a time, though. Anemia is a completely new pregnancy symptom to me!

Congrats on your beautifully organized closets!

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