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This spring has inspired a cleaning frenzy in me, the likes of which haven’t been seen by this house since we first moved in. It started with the playroom closet, which had gotten so bad you couldn’t even step inside. To reach anything on the back shelving, you had to let yourself simply fall forward like a tree in the woods, a crazy trust exercise where you’d just hope the shelf you’d catch your top half on was firmly mounted on the wall. I hired a babysitter and spent hours emptying it out, filling the largest box I could find with armful after armful of stuff for St Vinny’s. It turned out the box was way too big to fit in the car, so we had that living in our dining room for another week until I could repackage it in smaller boxes. Still, now it is all gone, and so clean, and it felt so good I became unstoppable.

Next came the pantry, then both junk drawers, then our bedroom (closet and dressers), then the office desk, and then, the mother of all organizational projects: the coat closet. I am so stupid proud of this.

Our coat closet uses the space under our staircase, so with a full bar of coats and cubby system full of shoes/hats/mittens, the front of the closet was so packed, the only way you could reach the back was to get on your hands and knees and crawl. Basically, all the space under the lower stairs was wasted. I had what I consider basically my most genius idea ever, to install drawers in that space, that pull out into the hallway. Seriously, I feel like I just created half a kitchen’s worth of storage out of thin air.

Cue the babysitter again. Drew and I had two hours to smash out the wall, build bases for some prefab lower cabinets (one of which we cut in half) so they would sit above the baseboard, and get everything shimmed and braced. By the end of the night I was riding high on sawdust, adrenaline, and nostalgia, and when I looked at Drew to see if he was in the same state, he sighed and told me, “This is the stuff that made me fall in love with you.” Aww.

This week I finished patching the wall and painting, and then went totally OCD and laid out every item we were putting back in the closet, decided where it fit best on the wall, and bought a properly fitting hook for each object. Four hooks for our four bike helmets (and I am only half kidding when I say that this means we cannot have a third child), a kid-height line of coat hooks so Junip can hang her own jacket, a small hook for each umbrella, a mounted basket for tote bags, and strategically placed large hooks for the diaper bag and less frequently used purses.

I used to give Drew crap for leaving the closet door open. Now I don’t mind; I get such a flood of happy every time I look at it.

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Now if I could just get that playroom painted.

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