I could not imagine doing this. Not by myself. It’s too much stuff, some of it has sentimental value. Things hold memories and some are painful to look at.
This lot in the photograph are things we never got around to going through after the fire. There were thousands of neatly labeled TLC boxes–filled with things collected in a grid pattern like evidence at a crime scene–it’s useful, but kind of crazy– especially tough when you’re dealing with people who don’t do housework like us. Mea culpa. So in one box, you’ll see a label that says, “living room – single shoe, file folder with resumes, pens, startup disc for Oregon Trail.”
It’s all a bit of a time capsule from 2012 (SPOILER ALERT– Obama won that one legitimately and with WAY more votes than the other guy. Just sayin’.)
Things have the power to trigger emotions, good or bad, as we all know. And last year was hard. A close personal friend fought cancer right before my eyes. More spoilers–Miss Beverly is a badass and she won!
But it started me thinking. What I carry should be lighter, in case I have to change direction on a dime. It should be utterly precious to me, if I’m going to carry it at all, and it should be so beautiful, it pleases me to just think about it. I can’t tell you how few “things” in my life fit that criteria. People, yeah. But things? Nope. I have attachments to things. But there’s nothing I’d go into a burning building for. I guess that’s a good test.
When my anxiety gets out of control, it’s usually because I’ve ignored something that’s bothering me. As anxiety builds up, stress in other areas of my life gets out of control. Maybe, just maybe, I should heed the words my heart seems to be whispering…
BE NIMBLE – Perhaps now more than ever we should all be nimble, in case our income should dry up, or our health change and healthcare gets more expensive than we planned.
BE HUMBLE – I NEEDED TO hire help. I called up Orange County’s Cluttercleaners.com, and Sharon and Deb came over. They helped me bust my way through that nonsense with relentless, cheerful, prodding, “lets move on!” And they were respectful. It’s harder for some people in my family to let things go than others. They were very tuned in to our moods and were extremely responsive.
I asked all my kids to help, and what felt like a monumental, incomprehensible mess turned out to be kind of fun. And we’re done. One day. Amazeballs. My kids are fricking heroes. They worked so hard, and so tirelessly, and were so uncomplaining, WHO WERE THEY???
I kept asking them things that might trip them up. “Remember when we went to China when you were little?” We never did.
I’ll be honest, when Sharon said we’d do it in a day, I laughed.
And then we did!
And it was just the beginning. Next weekend, we’re heading into the office, also known as The Heart Of Darkness…
BE GRATEFUL – Our methods have been “unsound” for years. Paperwork, clutter, swag, and books? everywhere, partly because we are unwise in the extreme and partly because we’ve had abundance, and we’ve been able to take “the temperature” of our finances without having to do serious examinations except at tax time.
Imma tell you now–it’s gonna be a clusterf*ck of epic proportions when we do, and we’ll probably be disappointed in ourselves. BUT…
When we’re done, we’re going to know what we own. And what we owe. And how we can do better to help ourselves, other people, and the planet going forward.
BE MINDFUL. My life since the fire has been a blur. I never made the house mine, after. We got new furniture, but we didn’t put pictures up. or Rugs. I no longer cared about putting my stamp on my space–that’s probably a post for another day. Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t just let go of everything–reflexively–because that fire came with the awful realization how quickly everything could be taken away.
Your turn to follow along!
Go declutter something and tell me all about it in the comments! You know I feel your pain! But LOOK! LOOK AT THE TIDY! Feast your eyes on the swept!
BE READY TO LAUGH – Oh, and yeah. Our Christmas lights? I’m playing chicken with the twins and my husband on those. We’re halfway into YEAR TWO on those lights. They think it drives me crazy because it makes us look like what we look like… LOSERS! But here’s the thing, that’s nowhere geographically near any hill I’m prepared to die on. Those lights had just better work come Christmastime or it’s those guys who’ll be up on the ladder in the dark, switching them out, not me!