Ask UfYH

Ask UfYH: When Your Invisible Corner is a Whole Damn Room

Invisible corner: That area in your home that has had accumulated random shit in it for so long that it’s become part of the landscape. Often found in corners, at the end of counters, or, really, anywhere. It’s been there long enough that your eye doesn’t even register it when you look around.

So what do you do when your invisible corner isn’t just a corner anymore?

Let me tell you about my spare room. I have one extra bedroom that has no necessary purpose. It is, in the very strictest sense, an office, in that the printer and filing cabinet are in there. But it’s a room that has a door and that can be entirely ignored unless I make an effort to remind myself of its existence. And, as such, it has become what all spare rooms at one time become: a place to stash crap. It has, at times, held the following: the treadmill (which I actually use, so I don’t feel that guilty about), bags of clothes for donation, boxes of papers to be shredded, clothes that rarely get worn, boxes of random stuff that haven’t been unpacked since the last move, odd bits of furniture, and every single thing I don’t feel like dealing with at the moment.

What I’m saying here is that “junk rooms” happen. They may or may not have a door. They may or may not be your primary living space. But almost everyone, at one time or another, has had a rather large space that they stop registering as being full of crap that needs to be dealt with and that they just ignore. So what happens when you finally decide to deal with the junk room?

Well, first of all, if this is where you’ve been stashing stuff you don’t know what to do with, prepare yourself for having to finally and once and for all deal with those things. So you should have boxes or trash bags ready, and possibly also have solid plans for a donation drop-off or pick-up if you anticipate having a lot of things to donate.

From there, you’re going to approach it like any other UfYH project: methodically and with breaks. Accept that it’s probably going to take a while, and pace yourself. Don’t try to do the whole thing at once, or else you’ll burn out and never finish.

And as silly as it seems, cleaning it is the easy part. Keeping it clean is hard. That may mean you leave the door open so you can’t ignore it, or you put some kind of physical block (like a piece of furniture) where the biggest mess tends to happen; everyone’s situation is different. But like any of our messes, cleaning it once doesn’t make the problem go away forever. It’s a continual, incremental process that you need to put a little work into steadily in order to keep it clean.

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3 replies on “Ask UfYH: When Your Invisible Corner is a Whole Damn Room”

My fave invisible corner story…

Me: It’s getting time to rehang the screen thingy
Husband: Don’t we need to get a new one?
Me: No-it’s in the corner in your office
Husband: I know, but I thought it was there so it would be thrown out.
Me: Ummmm…it’s been there for 8 months, if you thought it was trash, why didn’t you throw it out?
Husband: …………..

I’m going to be played by Sutton Foster, haven’t cast anyone in the role of Husband yet…maybe Matthew McCrapICan’tSpellHisName?

This is what I am REALLY trying to avoid! We moved from a 2 BR to a 3 BR place and at first I was like “Yay! I’ll have an office!” Well there’s no desk in there yet so right now the room is just holding boxes, extra sheet sets, gift bags from my kid’s birthday party, etc. Once in a while, it hits me…oh, hey, we have a spare room! I really need to get a desk and move my computer up there before it just turns into a junk room.

Oh gosh. This is kind of what we’re dealing with at the moment. I have two questions that help me as I sort: “Can I afford to buy it again?” and “What do I gain by keeping it?” It’s been very difficult, but we’re getting there, albeit slowly.

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