Last week I hired a real estate broker to sell my apartment, since I will be moving to Seattle. She was coming to meet me in the apartment on Tuesday morning, so Monday night I straightened up. I am messy, and I am always astonished by the ability of paper, in particular, to collect.
So, even though I was expecting it, I was a little embarrassed when she looked around the place, said some nice things, and then, very gently, told me I needed to clean up and get rid of the clutter. The apartment just wouldn't "show well" in its current state.
Now, I have some issues with clean. I won't bother to dig up my childhood and such, but suffice it to say I have always been messy. I deliberately buy bookcases as shallow as possible so that I won't pile stuff up in front of my books; then I go ahead and pile stuff up in front of my books. My apartment has deep, beautiful windowsills that I fell in love with when I first saw the place, and which I have since piled with random tchotchkes and bits of paper. My closets are stuffed full of old clothes and the detritus of old hobbies (woodworking, shoemaking) that I have left behind. My biggest weakness is paper, which piles up like crazy into huge snowdrifts on every flat surface in my home.
But, here was the broker telling me I won't sell the place unless I clean it up. So, I invited my friend Laura over. Laura is a clean freak, which is both an annoying and a useful trait. I decided to turn it to my advantage this weekend :-).
I started cleaning Thursday night. I cleared out the linen closet and the kitchen cabinets. You see, the broker tells me that the closets must not be stuffed, because otherwise it will make it seem like there is no room for everything. I refrained from pointing out that this is because there is no room for everything. So my usual method of cleaning--put everything in the closets--was not an option here. I threw stuff away. I got rid of old towels and old bowls and old Tupperware. I got rid of old wedding magazines (I'm not going to read them any more, even if I'm not yet married).
Friday, Laura came over. We cleared out crap under the bed and took a crack at the hall closet, the worst offender. We made the coat closet beautiful in its organization.
Saturday, the building handyman came and replaced my toilet. I cleared off the bookcases and the windowsills. I worked on the bathroom cabinets. I redistributed yarn in the many bins strategically positioned around my home. I hung pictures to get them off the floor. I cleared off the kitchen counter.
Sunday, Laura came over again. We cleared out my bedroom closet. We hauled stuff to Housing Works, a NYC charity. We threw stuff away. We shipped my summer clothes to my sweetie to get them out of my closet. After Laura left I finished up the dining room table, the worst place in the house.
Final total: 17 bags, 2 boxes, three pieces of framed art, and one electric fan to Housing Works. This involved two cab trips in the snow :-).
At least 15 bags thrown away.
Two large boxes shipped to my sweetie.
I still have a huge bag of stuff I want to put on eBay, and a couple things I want to stick in my sweetie's storage unit. I've also gone through my clothes again and pulled out more stuff for Housing Works.
I have to say, the place looks great. Maybe I won't leave after all.....