To Progress and Beyond

Just before the school year started I decided to organize my bookshelf. The shelves were filled with books, movies and box sets of TV shows. Every shelf was double stacked and balancing precariously on each other. Organizing my shelves was no easy feat. It took me a whole day, not only because I have a lot of books, but also because I needed to get rid of some. I knew I wasn’t going to read some of them again and some of them were from when I was preteen. I ended up with two huge boxes just sitting on my floor but my bookshelves were alphabetized. What happened to the boxes of books? Inspired by cleaning my closet, I moved the boxes to the trunk of my car to eventually donate. I’ve made the next step, but as it’s easy to tell, I’m not quite there on the follow through.

I have not met my goal in fully cleaning my closet, but I’m all right with that. I’m busy with school, homework and working at my part-time job. I know, I know, these are excuses, but I’d say they’re pretty good ones. Throughout writing this blog, I have been conscious of putting clothes back where they belong, either on hangers or in drawers. I’m proud to say that there are no clothes on the floor. I have started compiling a garbage bag for items I don’t wear or want anymore. I’ll probably get more clothes at Christmas, but that just means I have to get rid of more to make space. Hold me to it, please. I also purchased clear bins to make my closet more organized. I would say that is progress.

I have talked about perfectionism and hoarding. I have talked about organizing and cleaning. It all comes down to one thing. Me. When I first sat down to write this post I was worried about failure, but I told myself to look at it in a different way. I’m in school and I’ve made progress. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than it would be if I didn’t write this blog. Even if it’s just little by little, eventually I’ll end up cleaning my whole closet.

Because this semester is almost done, so is this blog. I’ve had fun writing it but not so much fun cleaning, so thanks for reading.

Left: Clear bins for organizing clothes and other items. Right: Bag of clothes and purses to donate.

Left: Clear bins for organizing clothes and other items. Right: Bag of clothes and purses to donate.


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STEPHANIE BELLEFEUILLE

Stephanie is a twenty-something Professional Writing student at Algonquin that can be found forever cleaning her closet. Which is what this blog is all about. When she’s not cleaning her closet, she is either reading, writing or watching copious amounts of television.

Stephanie can be found on Twitter and Pinterest. She also follows this blog The Happy Slob's Guide To Housecleaning

Collecting or Hoarding?

A couple of weeks ago, I was texting with my best friend and we were talking about my closet. I casually mentioned that I’m a hoarder, and she replied with the truth—as best friends do in these situations. Not for the first time since I started writing this blog, I thought: Am I a hoarder?

Compulsive hoarding is described by Wikipedia as a pattern of behaviour that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment.

By this definition, I’m not. Let’s get one thing straight; I still live with my parents, so all of my stuff is confined to one room, and being in my mid-twenties, I’ve accumulated a lot over the years. I’ve kept certain things under the guise of “I can’t throw this out because I might need it” and “I’ll keep this because I’ve had it since I was little and I have fond memories of it”. There is a difference between collecting keepsakes and collecting junk.

If we’re going by a loose definition of hoarding of someone shopping too much and not being able to throw things out, then yes, I am a hoarder. I love shopping and I hate throwing things out. Is this because of the way I was raised? Or is it in my nature to want to keep everything? I’ll be the first to admit I’m a messy person at home. I’m not in denial about that. During the conversation with my best friend I say I’m a hoarder, but am I really? I have no problems throwing out actual garbage when I try and clean my room, which some hoarders find extremely difficult to do. Last year I donated three enormous bags of clothes, shoes, and purses with no problem. In fact, I felt relieved to be rid of it.

Hoarders have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that is manifested through hoarding. I have some tendencies that can be related to OCD, but who doesn’t? Thinking about this in a rational way yields scary revelations, but they’re important. Slow down on shopping and dispose of the things I don’t need anymore.

Looking at my closet, it’s easy to see that I have a lot of stuff but I feel like I have a mild case of hoarding. It’s hard for me to get rid of things, but not impossible.

The conversation between me and my best friend about being a hoarder.  

The conversation between me and my best friend about being a hoarder.
 


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STEPHANIE BELLEFEUILLE

Stephanie is a twenty-something Professional Writing student at Algonquin that can be found forever cleaning her closet. Which is what this blog is all about. When she’s not cleaning her closet, she is either reading, writing or watching copious amounts of television.

Stephanie can be found on Twitter and Pinterest. She also follows this blog The Happy Slob's Guide To Housecleaning

No Such Thing As Perfection

I was working at my part-time job the other day when my boss—who has read this blog—asked me why I was so particular about cleaning at work but messy at home. This is a good question because I’m a great cleaner at work. Actually, I’m a perfectionist at work. I call co-workers out for not cleaning or doing something properly.

Looking at my closet, the word perfect does not come to mind. It’s extremely messy and disorganized. I’m a perfectionist at work, most of the time at school and with doing my laundry and keeping my car tidy. With my closet, it feels impossible.

Some people think that being a “perfectionist” means being lazy. This is partly true because, why not just do it? Even if a small part of my closet is clean, that’s better than nothing. But, there is always an excuse, isn’t there? My go-to’s are: getting dressed in a rush and there’s no time to hang the clothes back up, takes too long to fold things again, and there is no time to clean my closet. Time. Being a perfectionist requires time. Now, more than ever we claim we’re all “crazy busy”, but what are we busy doing? Why can’t I find the time to clean my closet?

It would be logical to think that being a perfectionist would mean that my roomand subsequently my closetwould be neat and tidy. In actuality, there are many people who are perfectionists, but these types of people are so focused on being a perfectionist that it becomes overwhelming. Psychology Today calls this “perfectionism as a roadblock to productivity”. It makes sense. I want my closet to be clean and organized, but it’s so incredibly cluttered that it seems impossible.

The task of cleaning my closet has taken me years. I always start strong, and then fizzle out. If I had buckled down and cleaned it out, it probably would have taken me a whole weekend at most to finish. In real time, a whole weekend seems like a lot of time, but compared to my whole life, a weekend is a wrinkle.

Perfectionism and time go hand-in-hand. I think I have to quit thinking of perfectionism as the end goal, and get busy cleaning the disaster that is my closet.

100% Perfect. 

100% Perfect. 


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STEPHANIE BELLEFEUILLE

Stephanie is a twenty-something Professional Writing student at Algonquin that can be found forever cleaning her closet. Which is what this blog is all about. When she’s not cleaning her closet, she is either reading, writing or watching copious amounts of television.

Stephanie can be found on Twitter and Pinterest. She also follows this blog The Happy Slob's Guide To Housecleaning

An Abundance of Clothes

A few days ago I was getting ready for school and looking through all my clothes. The problem with having a messy closet is that I can’t find anything. My clothes are all over the place, on top of each other and incredibly wrinkled.

I decided the best place to start the cleaning of my closet has to be with organizing my clothes. It starts with sorting through all the clothes that have made it off the hangers and out of drawers and on to the floor. I like to put all the same type of clothing together: tank tops together, pants together… you get the drill.

At the moment I have 34 sweaters. From hoodies to cardigans to plain old crew necks, I have everything in between. Why do I need 34 sweaters? I don’t know. I live in Canada, but this is excessive. I could always say that I have a sweater for every occasion, but let’s be honest, it’s because I feel like I need that many. I see a sweater I like in a store, and I buy it.

The question: why do I, and almost everyone I know feel the need to have so much stuff? There is no right answer to that question, but I’m going to try and figure it out.

I feel the need to keep up with the trends. I have loved shopping since I was young, and it used to be about quantity over quality, because I never had much money and I wanted more bang for my buck. Now, I'm going for better quality clothes. Not that it’s entirely a good thing, as they’re expensive and I’m a poor student. I have a hunch that many young people, students or not, feel the same way.

I see this happening with adults in their late twenties and early thirties, but with different things, such as bigger houses, better cars, and junk they don’t need. I’m so influenced by what the hottest thing is at any given moment, I fear I’ll fall prey to it when I’m older and own a house. Why can’t we settle for a smaller house for awhile and second-hand cars, to save for later?

The reason we have so many possessions is because we want to show them off. We want to show everyone around us that we what we have is important and they should want it too. You see someone in a nice car and you want that car. You see someone wearing a sweater you like and you want that sweater. What we see is a competition. What we don’t seem to see, is that no one is winning.

Yes, I have 34 sweaters, but I get cold and I “need” them. Of course those are more excuses. I’ll probably buy more, but for now I’ll just try to put them away when I’m done wearing them because really, that’s all I can handle at the moment.

 

Left: My clothes all organized and folded. Top Right: Folded t-shirts and tank tops in the drawer. Bottom Right: Long-sleeved shirts and pants folded in the drawer and not on the floor. 

Left: My clothes all organized and folded. Top Right: Folded t-shirts and tank tops in the drawer. Bottom Right: Long-sleeved shirts and pants folded in the drawer and not on the floor. 

A few of the many sweaters I own all neatly folded. 

A few of the many sweaters I own all neatly folded. 


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STEPHANIE BELLEFEUILLE

Stephanie is a twenty-something Professional Writing student at Algonquin that can be found forever cleaning her closet. Which is what this blog is all about. When she’s not cleaning her closet, she is either reading, writing or watching copious amounts of television.

Stephanie can be found on Twitter and Pinterest. She also follows this blog The Happy Slob's Guide To Housecleaning

 

Looking Through My Closet

Steph's Closet: I don't even know what is on these top shelves

Steph's Closet: I don't even know what is on these top shelves

I’m staring at my closet and wondering why I wanted to make my blog about cleaning it. I was thinking this would be a great way to kill two birds with one stone, but now I’m regretting it. First of all, am I crazy? There is so much stuff. I’m actually going to have to clean it. Second of all, I hate cleaning with a passion. Thirdly, I’m going to have to throw stuff out, and that kind of scares me. I like my things.

Steph's Closet: The clothes are more or less on the hangers. Drawers open from my dressing table. 

Steph's Closet: The clothes are more or less on the hangers. Drawers open from my dressing table. 

Throughout this blog, I will be cleaning my closet. I will show you my progress through photos and videos. There will be complicated answers to simple questions. I’ll post links to an assortment of sites that can help and inform anyone. I will be donating clothes, getting rid of my electronics in a safe way, and throwing away things that I don’t need anymore. There will be progress, I promise.

Now that you’ve seen my closet, you can tell I’m not a neat or organized person, though I may look it at school and work. I’ve even organized the family laundry room in my own special way. My room is a different matter. I won’t be showing pictures of the rest of my room, because this is about cleaning my closet, but let’s just say that it’s not organized either.

Steph's Closet: A giant pile of mostly clothes on the floor. I don't know what is underneath it all, but you'll find out when I get to the bottom. 

Steph's Closet: A giant pile of mostly clothes on the floor. I don't know what is underneath it all, but you'll find out when I get to the bottom. 

Question: Is my closet messy because I am lazy? Answer: Yes and no. Yes, because I am lazy more often than not. No, because I can be productive when I want to be. The real answer is, it’s cleaning and as I have stated above, I hate cleaning. The last thing I want to do when I come home from work and school is clean my closet. I always try cleaning my room on breaks from school but I never get very far. So why don’t I just suck it up and do it? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I don’t just suck it up. Cleaning my closet is a task so daunting that most of the time I just avoid it all together.

Getting rid of my things is scary, but I’ll have to do it. Watch me as I go through my closet and see the end result.

 


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STEPHANIE BELLEFEUILLE

is a twenty-something Professional Writing student at Algonquin that can be found forever cleaning her closet. Which is what this blog is all about. When she’s not cleaning her closet, she is either reading, writing or watching copious amounts of television.

Stephanie can be found on Twitter and Pinterest. She also follows this blog The Happy Slob's Guide To Housecleaning