Clean up, Clean out

A collision of events has led to complete disorganization in my home. Seriously; it’s bad.

There are piles on the piles; things half done and undone. Mold in the bathroom, stacks of things to be filed, unhung pictures leaning against the walls. The cat threw up in the basement . . . a while ago (it is out of the traffic area, mind you). If my home were a feng shui movie, it would be rated R.

And it’s making me crazy. The more disorganized things are, the more it feeds the disorganization. When the baskets of clothes go unfolded, the clothes get tossed everywhere (“MOM! I have no clean jeans without holes in the knees!”).

The mess and distraction keeps me from accomplishing anything, because I must drift from place to place to find things, to locate a clean surface to work, or just to redistribute the piles.

So last week, I launched my attack. Lists made, boxes at the ready – the whole day wide open. Made some progress. But choosing what to give away, what to recycle, what to toss and what to keep are loaded with difficult decisions for me.

What about the giant stuffed pumpkin my Mother made for the children? The one she said was “for looking at, not playing with.” It was (of course) played with, and is (of course) in shambles. I’m not going to take the time to sew and/or glue it back together; returning it for repair loads me with guilt; can’t donate it because it’s a mess. And to send it to the landfill and require Mother Earth to slowly try to digest it seems even worse.

That is just one thing to make a decision about. I have these possessions (or, they have me); what am I going to do with them?

My next-door neighbor died suddenly last year; it was a terrible shock to me — he seemed to be in pretty good health. It was also a shock because he was just a fabulous piece of humanity; kind, generous, smart, giving; he was a true inspiration. This Summer, they auctioned off the items from his home that his family did not want or need. It was a quite a spectacle.

The event lasted from early, early morning until after dark; just loads of furniture, art, household items and collections. Things you could tell meant much to him, and other things that were just saved because of some perceived future value. Tons of gifts he had received and stowed away. Things precious, and things not so. Things never used, never opened, but saved nonetheless.

It was a real wake-up call to see everyone prowling around his things. What would it be like if today, right now, my family had to choose what of my possessions to keep and what to let go of? What would it be like to relinquish my belongings to strangers? A good thing to think about because, someday, I will. It is important to recognize that people will be rooting around through my memories to determine what might fetch a good price on E-Bay.

What is it that is truly valuable to me? Am I ready to let things go when the time comes?

Looking at the big, BIG picture — what else is truly valuable to me? What else do I need to let go of, and is the time to let go now?

It is forcing me to look at my belongings with a new eye. Less form, and more function. Less “gee, I might use that someday” and more “hey, someone else could be using this right now.”

But what to do with that giant, stuffed pumpkin?

Hmmmm . . . . *sigh* More than likely, pack it away and postpone my decision until next year.

Maybe I need to ponder that symbolism, as I catch up on the laundry.



One Reply to “Clean up, Clean out”

  1. lauren

    Love your blog, Jill! You are catching on to the whole "blogging scene" very well and I love to know what's going on in your life! 🙂 My home is very disorganized as well and I need a professional organizer to come to help. Take care! 🙂


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