An Inability to Clean Out Cupboards


One of my recent projects was to clean out what I loosely call my craft cupboard.

I love this cupboard. It’s been mine since I was five years old. I remember helping my mom pick out the colors and waiting excitedly for the paint to dry. Sometime in the next five years it became dedicated primarily to my varied collection of craft supplies. I also managed to break the hinges so it doesn’t close quite right without a rubber band to hold the doorknobs together.

As I grew up the craft supplies came and went. The cupboard moved from New York to Michigan and then all the way down to North Carolina. I went off to college and left it behind. It even stayed at my parents’ house while I was at graduate school and for the first few years I was married.

Then it moved to Raleigh with me, my husband, all the craft supplies, and a mischievous black cat. That rubber band around the knobs doesn’t cut it with the cat. I use a couple boxes full of papers and books to keep the doors shut these days.

Cupboard (1)

So I was supposed to be cleaning out my craft cupboard.

I did alright at first. I boxed up all the stemware and candle holders I purchased from Goodwill to use as little vases on all the tables at my wedding reception with the intention of returning them whence they came. I pulled out the glass candy jars from the candy buffet at that same event and took pictures so I could sell them online. I even gathered up all the supplies for crafts I no longer do (candle making, paper basket weaving, plastic lacing lanyard making) and boxed them up to donate to a church or other youth program.

Then I found the shoe boxes.

One of them was the bigger kind you got sturdy boots in. The other was skinny and narrow and probably from the first pair of dress shoes I ever picked out by myself.

Inside I found ten years of my life. Movie ticket stubs. Wristbands from university events. Programs from every play my sister was in during high school. Each one signed by every single cast member. Music from my high school marching band shows. Brochures from the NC Zoo from a middle school field trip.

I got lost.

It was the cat who found me first, sniffing at the piles of mementos I had littering the floor around me. My husband wasn’t too far behind, wondering if I’d ever eaten lunch. It was almost dinner time.

I’d cleared two of the four shelves in my craft cupboard. We had plans for the night, so I couldn’t keep going. I had to put everything back in the shoeboxes, put them back in the cupboard, and wait for another day.

This is not the first time I’ve failed to clean out this cupboard. (Or any other cupboard, or closet, or stack of boxes I never unpacked.) Somewhere along the way, I find a box of nostalgia and get a little lost in it. Or I’ll come across a folder of my old writing, or a children’s book I haven’t read in years, or something else to distract me. I’ve accepted the fact that I can never get through a cleaning and sorting project without this happening at least once. I will get lost. The project will be put on hold.

I have an inability to clean out cupboards.

That’s just how it is.

Cupboard (2)


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