Years ago, diligent homemakers participated in an annual ritual when the snow melted or they no longer required their heaters to warm the house—it was called Spring Cleaning.
As a kid, I helped my aunt and a few others with this task. Of course I thought it was mind-numbing and totally pointless. Why would anyone take all their pots and pans out of the cupboard, wash the shelf, and put the stuff all back? While “helping out” at my great-aunt’s house I remember thinking that she was just trying to find stuff for me to do.
It’s only been during this move that I realized the wisdom in the annual “Spring Clean.” Oh, how I wish I would have done it every year. Since I haven’t, now I am faced with the joyful task of separating through five year’s worth of priceless treasures a.k.a. clutter in order to downsize our home.
I wonder, vaguely, what the trash man thinks of my near maniacal filling of the can. Does he think I’m disposing of dead bodies—or illegal substances—or does he think I’ve lost my mind and am feverishly emptying the contents of my home regardless of value?
Well, that last one was close.
As most of you know, it’s up to the mom to decide what stays or goes, so I’ve had but little help with my task. My daughter complained to me, “I don’t know how to pack glass.” Nor do I want her to. I wouldn’t let her or any other member of my family take on the task of packaging my heirloom china. They could, I think, pack the Corningware or Pyrex, however.
At one end of the house is the Yard Sale pile. It grows to new heights every day, and I have to wonder…Where did all this stuff come from...Where did I store it all…and WHY? But, (I’m gritting my teeth as I smile) my husband just informed me that he doesn’t want a yard sale. He doesn’t think we have time to bother with it.
Right smack in the middle of our house is the I-Want-It-But-Can-Live-Without-it-For-A-Week pile. This boxed pile nearly reaches the ceiling and includes food storage, books, and general pantry items. It starts at the living room door, heads south to the dining table, goes nearly to the kitchen bar, and is a real pain to walk around. My china and other important breakables are red-tagged and in a separate area in a safe corner. Hopefully safe.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve thrown away ten bulging bags of garbage—things I don’t want now and probably never did—magazines I’ve only read once, if ever—plastic containers with and without lids—a whole mound of canning rings—I actually did want those, but who cares??? I’m tired of storing them.
I’ve got hundreds of canning jars that I don’t know what to do with, and two flats of lids—do I take them with me, or put them in storage for later—and I vaguely remember getting rid of at least that many when we moved here. It seems they’ve multiplied like rabbits.
The problem is I’ve still got a whole houseful of stuff/belongings to sort through. It seems never-ending. Yet as I consider, I think my real dilemma is that I’m going to have to do this in reverse when we get to the new place.That reminds me of an old pre-school song: "This is the chore that never ends, it goes on and on my friend..."
I can totally see the wisdom in being a minimalist. Who needs all this stuff?
Word of CAUTION: When you get extra packets of sauce from your favorite fast food joint—THROW IT AWAY!
P.S. My dear husband had pity on me. Maybe he was just nervous about my state of mind—but we had the yard sale. It was quite successful and that made me feel good for about a minute and a half. Now, we’ve got people from our church coming tomorrow afternoon to help us move, and as hard as I’ve tried, we’ve still got tons of things that aren’t in a box. And, I've still got all my pictures on the walls!