Sometimes co-ops collect a little clutter. That’s really an understatement. Hypatia’s attic had been collecting clutter for at least two and a half noticeable decades: dressers with missing drawers; at least six bed frames, aged like a fine wine; forgotten boxes of clothes and books; an antique and well used toilet displaying a fine patina; three tube-style television sets; computer monitors; sketchbooks left half used; junk doors and windows — brightly painted, dulled by dust…
…masonry and rubble (?); mouse-infested and tattered luggage; couches from the street side; used Band-Aids and balls of tape; timeworn lamp fixtures — no shades; relics of people’s lives circa the early/mid ’90s — pink hair dryers, Aqua Net aerosol hair spray, baseball cards, a stepping machine, Thigh Master set. Punk-O-Rama I and II CDs. Et cetera. And though it was interesting to rummage through this, we had to let it go. The clutter rendered the space nearly unusable.
Initially we started with a plan of how we were going to organize the attic space. We decided on a floor plan where each of our 12 rooms would be allotted a single space, all of equal size, with the addition of two “spillover” spaces for extra storage — perhaps for a guest or a sub-leaser. Those plans were drawn to scale after much measuring, but were lost in a tragic and horrible Thigh Master accident.
Once the drawings were finalized, a small group of co-opers were assigned to mark the individual spaces with masking tape. Afterwards, residents were given two weeks to move all of their belongings to their own individual spaces. They also had to remove things from their spaces that did not belong to them (see the first paragraph). If contact info could be found on boxes or items, those people were contacted. If not, it was brought to our living room to be picked through. Bringing these things downstairs may have been the biggest effort of the entire project. I estimate that 90% of what was initially up there was not property of current residents and current residents are really not fans of OPP.
Once everything was in place, two people swept and mopped the attic floor and then proceeded to permanently mark the spaces with white paint using a 4″ paint roller.
St. Vinny’s came by four times to pick up all of the clothes, furniture, and books. A lot of the broken furniture was put on the curbside, most of which was picked through by scrappers within hours. Were they lurking in the bushes waiting for this moment to arrive?
The project is now complete! We worked hard, using 35-40 total man hours, spread out over a month. It’s very satisfying knowing that a system was created that will only (hopefully) encourage future organization and clutter control.