Today I had the lady who cleans for me twice a month and Nick’s caregiver in the house, and I was in the mood to purge. Both of them are usually glad to take things off my hands, so I started bringing stuff out and letting them divide it. I got rid of
two gold glass bowls
27 drinking glasses
two piggy banks
an assortment of decorative ceramic balls
two small stuffed animals (whatever you call those Ty thingies)
two decorative cats
two cat pillows
two boxes of wires & computer junk
one sack of clothes
all my CDs
one thingy that pumps water
one umbrella stand
two small plants
two large vases
assorted plastic storage containers
two tote bags
. . . and a partridge in a pear tree.
The lady who cleans for me will be back Monday with her truck to get an assortment of terra cotta pots from behind my house. She will also take some clothes that are to large for me to see if her mother can wear them.
is my current project. This weekend, I tackled the closet in my office. I was surprised at how much of my mother’s stuff I still had in there in boxes: her final bills that I paid, some of her things that I did not know I had, and her wallet, with all of her credit cards, driver’s license, pictures, and a few dollars and change in it. I kept the wallet . . . there’s too much of her there to throw away, and I sorted through the bills and papers and kept the most essential documents.
She had some carousel horse music boxes which frankly creeped me out a bit. I had passed some on to her friends after she died and had kept three. Today, I pared it down to one, and gave the other two to B, Nick’s weekend caregiver, who said she liked them and would cherish them. I did not force them on her (I feel the need to explain this since the things gave me the heebie-jeebies). They were in a pile by the door from which I told B she could take anything she wanted. Anyway, I’m glad they have a home now.
I am still in the process of rearranging the closet to be accessible and useful.
Nick and I watched two episodes of a show called Hoarders, about people who hoard pathologically. It was fascinating. I learned that people who hoard often have or are prone OCD or addiction problems. I learned that people who hoard can’t just be made to clean up their stuff and then miraculously be “cured.” They have to want it.
Two hoarders were featured on each show. They were at an extreme point in their lives: about to be eveicted, had to sell the house, about to have their kids taken away, and the like. Most of them just had junk and trash piled around.
But one woman hoarded food. She opened her refrigerator (one of them) and must have had 30 or 40 cartons of yogurt in there, some expired for months. She said they were still good; she would not toss them until they started to bulge. In her living room, she had a rotted, and I mean decayed and slimy, pumpkin. When she agreed to get rid of it and someone scooped it up in a shovel, she reached out and said what a beautiful pumpkin it had been and put her hand in the rotting mess to take out seeds so that she could plant them.
I understood as never before how hoarding is truly a disease, and how people get truly attached to their rotting pumkins and empty plastic bottles and clothes they buy and never wear.
This show also made me want to throw away everything in sight so that I will never go down that path.
two big bags of pure-dee trash are in the garage. Yay!
My goals are twofold: (1) Be able to walk into the closet in my officem and (2) clean out Nick’s office so that he can go in it.
He has a tiller, a chainsaw new in the box, an almost new shop-vac, a gizmo that you can wheel around with a garbage bag in it to collect lawn debris, a weed eater, a leaf blower, and maybe some more stuff that he can’t use right now and I won’t use.
I asked him if it would be okay if we let our friends have it if they want it and give it to Goodwill if they don’t. I told him that when the time comes that he can use gardening and yard stuff again, we’ll go to Lowe’s and celebrate by buying new stuff.
He agreed to it, so tomorrow when they come I’ll just let them know it’s up for grabs if they want it (and remind Nick beforehand that he okayed it).
I’ll feel much better when it’s being used instead of gathering dust.
on a roll throwing out shabby, raggedy items.
It’s a holdover from poorer days for me to use towels until I can read through them, save t-shirts with holes and stains for around the house wear, and keep things I no longer wear or use “in case I need them again.”
However, I now have towels I have never used, have plenty of t-shirts without holes, and need the closet space more than I need the stuff.
So the holey t-shirts go into the trash (okay, there were a couple I could not part with yet). The stuff that’s still good goes to Goodwill. The towels go to the animal hospital or to my friend S, who can use them for her dogs.
from the back patio/pool area.
I have a bag of trash and a box containing who-knows-what cocktail of spilled pool chemicals—mostly some pool cleaner that leaked, I think. I threw away some small sun umbrellas that have been in the corner of the patio for years.
I pissed off a big spider when I took away the umbrellas. She had her web attached to them. I tried to move her with my broom to another part of the house. Last time I checked, she was still hiding in the broom bristes. I did not mean to scare her.
Note to self: Do not bring broom inside until 2-inch spider is gone
and since I discovered the question, “Does it burden me?” I have been looking at my house and the things in it through a new lens. As I look around my kitchen, back entry hall, and living room, most of the things I see are not burdens at all. They are useful or uplifting in some way.
But my office, I realize, has been used as a dumping ground for a long time. It’s where I put my burdens. So many of the burdens I have are paper, unfortunately. I hate to sort through paper. I may just, when I get to the paper, do what I have done beore with great success: put it in a box, seal it, and write: Discard on (arbitrary date). That always works, I never want to look in the box.
Of course, if it is related to taxes or anything that has to do with Nick’s disability or retirement, I guess I have to keep it. Taxes are easy. Put in box and label with the year, and hope I never have to open it again. The other stuff, I guess I can generally label and put away. I think I’ll clear a top shelf in Nick’s office closet just for that purpose.
I want space. Freedom. Room.
If it was clearly trash (old magazines, 2007 calendars), I threw it away.
If it was soemthing I had been meaning to get rid of, I put it in the trash or the Goodwill box, depending on its condition.
Then I started asking, “Is this a burden to me?” and if the answer was yes, I put it in the Goodwill pile, no matter who had given it to me (would anyone who cared about me want me to be burdened?), how long I had had it (time to let that burden go!), how much I had paid for it (I don’t have enough burdens, so I’m paying for them now?), or what memories were attached to it (hey, I still have the memories).
I feel good. I did not get rid of a lot (maybe three shopping bags full for Goodwill), and I still have a long way to go, but asking if it was a burden really helped me let go of some things I had been hanging on to for no good reason.
My goal is to spend an hour, while Nick is sleeping, decluttering my office.