My eyelids aren’t either. Or my ears. Pretty much all of the rest of me is, though – stiff, sore, and tired. My husband and I spent five days at my mother’s house (yesterday’s flowers grow in her back yard) sorting through things and filling up a dumpster.
What goes in a dumpster? Worn-out furniture. Half-made-up dresses that my mom never finished. Thirty or forty years worth of greeting cards for every special occasion on the calendar. Broken flower pots. Badly rusted tools that my father never cleaned up or got rid of. Piles of old magazines. And more.
Medicines that haven’t been available to buy for years. And years.
My parents – children of the Great Depression – found it very, very hard to throw anything away, no matter how worn-out it was. I suppose it made them feel secure to be surrounded by piles of Stuff, even if it was unusable. (Anybody out there want some burned-out light bulbs? I have plenty, now.) And in recent years, my mother just didn’t have the strength to do much cleaning. But I don’t have any sentimental regrets at all about throwing away a box of Jello dated 1981.
We’re nowhere near finished sorting through stuff and throwing things away, either. Maybe by August, if we’re very lucky and hardworking, we’ll be ready to hold an estate auction to dispose of the usable things that nobody in the family has room to keep. It’s going to hurt to see Mom’s house empty, but it has to be done.
Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, now that I’m back in my own over-cluttered house – I learned my mother’s lessons very well – for the moment, I need to go and throw things away. I don’t really want to be an official minimalist, but I don’t want my sons to be stuck with a project like this some day. It’s time, past time, to figure out how to weed things out as I go.
I used to think it would be wonderful to live in an enormous house. You know what? If I had a huge house, there would be more room for junk to pile up. I think I’ll stay with the medium-small place I have, thanks.