Every once in a while the urge to straighten, organized and declutter bites this writer in the posterior.
In most cases, the action is necessary. For example, when you move from one home to another, you become an archeologist of sorts and unearth a past tucked away in the cobwebbed nook of your attic. That was the case when we sold our suburban home and purchased The Funny Farm.
Going through thirty years of belongings is a daunting task, resulting in the biggest garage sale ever seen on our block. It included Hubby’s nineteen and a half foot Bayliner. Surprisingly, he had no problem parting with the boat, but many of the I’m-saving-this-screw-just-in-case-I-might-need-it required minor verbal tussles. The man did not want to part with anything that might be useful in the next millennium.
Of course, when it came to items saved, his wife was not entirely guiltless. We found a large box filled with her college notes. She planned on pursuing a high school teaching career, and the notes would come in handy.
Since her parents were educators, it seemed logical to follow in their footsteps until reality smacked her in the face. Students were not the polite oversized urchins she expected to find. Instead, they were rude, talked during class and even took naps, and that was on a good day.
How can you teach in such an environment? After several eye-opening stints as a substitute teacher, the idealistic glow of enlightening young minds disappeared with the proverbial wind. Consequently, the once valuable college notes remained forgotten in the attic until the big move. Once unearthed, they went in the round file — the modern version of the way of the Dodo.
Over the years, accumulated but perfectly usable items found their way into other homes, helping to keep the clutter to a minimum. The ideal way to do this is the same as taking leftovers to work and leaving them in the company kitchen. People snap up free anything with unbridled glee.
When a loved one passes, those in the know highly recommend refraining from clearing out everything belonging to that person. However, the urge to do something can be an undeniable driving force. Consequently, a compromise was in order.
Old undershirts and socks found their way into several bags intended for the Salvation Army. As with every other possession, Hubby hung on to such items for decades. Fortunately, the lady of the manor exercised restraint and did not include used underwear. Even the neediest person might balk at such a recycled gift.
Even the thought made her shudder, although a friend always included old bras in garage sales. To say those saggy items could not hold a cotton ball effectively let alone someone’s bosom is an understatement. And yet, people bought them. Perhaps they intended to use them as slingshots.
Recently, the urge to organize and purge cropped up thanks to the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
The premise is getting a handle on home and belongings by applying the Marie Kondo method. Keep things that “spark joy” and say goodbye to items that do not. Then she teaches the family members how to fold and store everything from socks to bras, etc. The results are aesthetically pleasing to the eye followed by the satisfaction of knowing you are in control of your domain.
Marie’s program inspired our daughter to evaluate the clothing in her closet. Up until then, not even a puff of wind could slip between the items crammed inside. That woman has a lot of clothes.
Not to be outdone, her mother ventured on a similar path, eliminating work clothes that no longer fit her new lifestyle. After all, one does not wear a suit to the gym. People might drop their barbells and gape, which is impolite.
Then, this writer opened the door to a tiny storage room in her home office. It was stuffed floor to ceiling with past unfinished projects, like a redo of her wedding album. Every scribbled note, every column or book idea found its way into the black hole known as her “author closet.”
“I better clean this up before I croak or the kids will kill me,” the lady muttered.