I recently overhauled my linen closet. It wasn’t originally my intention, but one action led to another, and it turned into a situation much like the children’s book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”.
In that delightful book, written by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond, a little boy gives a cookie to a mouse. Then the mouse wants a glass of milk to go with the cookie, then he needs a straw to drink the milk, then a mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache, then a scissors to trim his hair . . . well, you get the idea.
The precipitating event for me was my decision to purchase new towels for my bathroom. I have been using green towels for over 20 years, and I wanted to change my bathroom accent color to orange. I wasn’t ready to get rid of the green towels yet, in case the orange ones didn’t work out. So I had to rearrange the linen closet in order to accommodate just two new towels. Actually, I had purchased a few other items over the past year but had not always gotten rid of the ones they replaced, so the closet was already just a little bit overstuffed.
One of my basic organizing principles is, “One in, one out.” In other words, for everything that comes in the door of your home, something of equal size, shape, and function needs to leave. That’s because we have a tendency to accumulate things. We need discipline to ensure that things go out, not just come in. Since I had been violating my own principle, an overhaul was needed, and the orange towels were the tipping point.
Once I got started on my linen closet, I discovered many items that I knew we hadn’t used in years and were unlikely to ever use again. I turned a few of them into rags, and packed up others to send off to Goodwill. (See my earlier post on how to easily ship donations via Give Back Box.) I also packed up some to donate to the ASPCA. It felt so good to get rid of so many useless items!
Once everything was relocated within the closet — with the things we use regularly at eye level — I relabeled all the shelves with my trusty P-touch labeler.
But I couldn’t stop there. I decided to review my guest linens, which are actually stored in a cabinet in my living room, where the sofa bed is located. I ended up replacing all of my guest pillows! There’s that mouse/cookie phenomenon in action.
I’m happy because I have a functional linen closet once again. Goodwill and the ASPCA are happy because they got some nice donations. Guests who stay overnight will be happy because they will get new pillows to use. But who was the happiest? I think it was my dog Alfie. Every time I made a pile of things to give away, he got on top of it. It was a fun day for both of us.