Monday, January 28, 2008

Way Over Packed

Continuing with Friday's theme of life as vacation. Number one: I got too much stuff.

Our friends' house burned down last Tuesday. They saved the animals, four pairs of jeans and the car. Jeans were in the car. It was 35 below here that day and the water kept freezing in the hoses. The firemen had to keep melting the water in the tanker trucks. Was horrible. Water vaporized in the air before it could hit the flames. Very weird.

I have been thinking about my stuff ever since. I gave away a ton load of stuff when we moved, but it wasn't enough. I have boxes of books we can't unpack because we don't have the shelf space to house them. I have way too many knickknacks and throw rugs. I have too many dishes. I have enough garden and yard stuff to start a nursery. And I don't even want to garden anymore. I could circle the earth with hoses. And bird feeders. And chairs. How the heck did I acquire all these chairs? I am determined to get rid of more of this stuff. If it isn't very beautiful or very useful I am chucking it.

I hate housework. One reason I hate it is because it takes so darn much time to move all the stuff so I can clean under it. On vacation we are in a hotel room or a one room cabin or tent. If I am cleaning the place it is a quick process to make the bed, swish out the toilet, sweep the kitchen and go. No laborious dusting of fragile china thingamabobs. I am de-thingamabobbing as I write. And clocks. Why do I have so many clocks? Two chiming clocks and a coo-coo. The cacophony on the hour is deafening. Mark says the ticking of three clocks is slicing off hours rather than minutes of his life. Says I want to be a widow. Ho ho.

I have to do something about the vacuum cleaner. I could suck up Cleveland with it, but it weighs as much as a lawn tractor. The head is so wide it reminds me of a wheat swather. I usually end up vacuuming with the hose attachment because I can't get the darn machine around the furniture. Takes forever and is exhausting crawling around on the floor with that little brush thing. I am still cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors on my hands and knees. How stupid is that? I am getting one of those Swiffer mop deals. I have a dog now. The house is never going to be as clean as it was. I don't care if the floor isn't as spic and span as in an operating room.

I also don't have to clean the whole house at once. I was doing the one room per day style at the rental house but in the moving transition I somehow went back to my old fashioned way of cleaning the whole house on Saturdays. Ruins the weekend. I want to clean one room a day in the mornings, and then be DONE with it. I am now stringing the cleaning and laundry and cooking throughout the whole day. I don't have to go to work...and I still am busy doing unfun stuff the whole damn day. Nuts to that. A woman on vacation does not do housework from dawn to dusk.

Okay I sort of got off track. But it is hard to separate cleaning and stuff. If you (I) have too much stuff you (I) can't clean. Speaking of which, why am I saving double bed sheets and mattress pads? We don't have a double bed. Is a mystery.

I am on a roll. I have corralled much knicky nacky stuff in a box. Box is going to the garage. I am going to go down and clean out the linen closet when I am done here. Double bed stuff is going in the same box with the China chotchkes ( the spellchecker doesn't know how to spell this). Saturday we will drive 75 miles to the nearest Good Will. If I were really serious you know, I would throw all the stuff in the trash. I can't do it.

Vacation bound. Love Bea


Anonymous said...

Wow this post hits very close to home. I grew up with an extreme hoarder, so my sense of usable was warped. Around thirty, I realized the stuff ,or keeping the stuff is very spiritual, it says alot about how you see time, like holding on to the past. I deided everything in my house needs to be mine or someone's favorite whatever, like every family member has 1 set of sheets. Where as my MOm would have had every set of sheets she ever owned. It has taken awhile to let the guilt go of giving away something I sense to have value. Until I realize all of an unused item's worth to me is theorectical, to a person who needs it the value is practcal. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to love evrything in your house from your perfume to candles to frames to coffee mugs. I no longer keep it if it was a gift unless I love it. And cleaning is less of a burden I want to chereish my favorite things, Not Dust Aunt Mary's favorite things!

Nory Roth said...

Bea! I sense a great blessing coming your way!!! I have had too much of everything in my life also. What made ALL the difference was a little prayer that I said. It went something like: Please Lord, send me the person that this stuff belongs to. Lo, and behold, my friend's apartment burned down, and he lost everything. (No renter's insurance or anything!) walks his good friend Nory, with just about EVERYTHING a bachelor could possibly need. Sheets, towels, tea-towels, dishes, cooking pots, pans, utensils. All patiently waiting for the appointed time. Same thing happened with my children's lightly used clothing. My friend has four children. Two of them exactly two years behind mine, and on a close growth curve behind them as well. She lost her job, her husband took a pay cut, and voila -- I found a source for those clothes!!! Just look around, you'll find a home for your lightly used blessings!!!

Vickie said...

I have a thing about clocks too. Also chairs - both full size and minature.

Vickie said...

"I've learned you get to your goals in a zigzag manner, and you have to enjoy the zigzag."
"All the little pieces of myself came together. I no longer think in terms of black and white:
extremes don't interest me anymore."
(Lorie Marino, Model/Designer, February 2008 issue of MORE magazine)

Speck said...

Bea, long-time lurker, first time to comment.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! (standing ovation) You go girl! Get rid of that stuff! When you own too much stuff, the stuff starts to own you. It becomes a millstone around your neck and you can't live in your house. You end up living *for* your house and that's not sane.

Hubby and I downsized from 2700 sq ft to 850 sq ft. We rid ourselves of 25 years of accumulated stuff and it was SO freeing. If a thing is not absolutely necessary for daily living, out it goes. The house looks pretty Spartan, but with three kitties and a messy hubby, that's the way it's going to stay. I keep two bankers boxes of tchotcke in storage and rotate our few decorative items. But if I take one from storage, one goes into storage. Bookshelves got pared down from five to two. I can't remember the title of a single book we gave away, so apparently they weren't that important to us.

A good rule of thumb to use when deciding what stays and what goes: If your house burned to the ground, would you bother to replace the item? If not, toss it, donate it, burn it on a pyre. Then do the magic happy dance and enjoy your streamlined living space.

Oh yeah, and make hubby vacuum.

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