• Apollo

Confront the monster in your closet

Like you, I've accomplished many things. I've studied myself into law school, got an internship at a law firm, and established a blog. Despite these small feats, I have monsters in my closet. Today, I confronted one of them.

It had been bothering me for months now, the figurative but also very physical beast hiding in the closet next to my desk. It had been the place where I stored everything that I didn't know where to put for long-term storage. What initially started as just a few unpacked bags from a house moving quickly turned into "dump anything difficult here" secret. Seasonal decor, unused curtains, gift wrapping material, you name it.

You most likely have a similar monster hiding somewhere as well, but just in a different form. Maybe it's a big pile of documents on your desk waiting for your inspection, or a bicycle with a flat tire sitting in your garage. Whatever it is, it's something intimidating that you should eventually take care of, but that you don't want to do.

My secret closet landfill caused me a lot of anxiety. Every time I opened my closet door, I'd see the floor covered in a jumble of random wares and items, taunting me and my organized routine. Being sick of this happening, I decided to write a daunting task onto my to-do list:

☐ clean the monster in my closet

Keeping my promise

Having made my promise, I needed to keep faith with it. I first looked at the monstrosity, examining its weak spots: Discarded Halloween decorations, expired Christmas foods, unused rugs, and other items still left from the house moving almost seven months earlier. Embarrassing, but not necessarily very surprising.

I got on with the task, battling the monster with a careful strategy: I started taking out the items box by box, discarding expired and unusable items and putting unsorted things where they belong around the apartment. I found both long-lost treasures and small trash like old receipts and empty product cartons.

After a long and enduring battle with the monster, it was reduced to just one bag packed full of unused canned food and conserve. I put everything away and had a quick look at the closet again from my desk: I could now see the neat floor and the single unsorted bag that was left. I was happy, and extremely satisfied. I was filled with contentment that I finally mustered the courage to confront the bizarre monster lurking in my closet. I was one step closer to a more organized life, with a slightly bigger tolerance for discomfort.

A thought about monsters

Monsters are scary, imposing, and dangerous. They're what some parents use to make their children follow rules, and what legendary tales depict as the foes of heroes that are larger than life. But that's the very essence of their existence – they're legends, not real, despite how scary they may seem.

Stop for a moment and think what your mythical monster could be. There's probably something you could take care of, something important but maybe not very urgent. Going through that stack of papers on your desk is intimidating. So is swapping a new tire onto that bicycle. It might even be something much more imposing like fixing your sleep schedule or making a study plan.

Having slayed that dragon, having finished that task makes you feel extremely satisfied. It makes you feel like you've got this, at least for a moment, like a mental weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You're now a little bit more organized and one step closer to your goals.

Find out where the monster in your life hides and confront it. It will likely be the best decision you've made in a while.