My hair isn’t sore

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.

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.

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15 responses to “My hair isn’t sore

  1. Yep, this one rings LOTS of bells …

  2. I’ve learnt that it pays not to buy too much, just what I need, because I could easily be a hoarder!

    • Buying just what you need is great advice! One thing I’m noticing in my parents’ house – and it’s something I’ve been guilty of myself – is that it looks like they forgot that they already had certain things and bought a second one. (And in some cases, both of the whatevers are still sealed in their original packaging, never used.)

  3. That is a hard job for the soul. My mum and dad have been good at moving things along when they down sized from the family house to a bungalow but still they have a lot. I am still removing things in a never ended cycle.

    • “Hard for the soul” is a perfect description. It’s hard on the body, but it’s also depressing and draining. My folks never downsized – they lived in the same house for more than fifty years, so they never felt pushed to clear things out.

      I’m just now getting it through my thick head that removing things you no longer need IS a never ending cycle, and you might as well get it done.

      • Unless you’re in a rush, just take your time eventually you will get there.

      • Well, there is a deadline of sorts on clearing out and selling my mom’s house – the estate has to be settled in a certain length of time, and then we have to pay the inheritance tax. If I can sell the house by the deadline, I’ll definitely have enough money on hand to pay up. We’ll do what we’re able to do, I suppose.

  4. It’s easier to downsize for someone else. I struggle with all my “stuff” even after the move. But book “stuff” is the hardest, for me at least.

    janet

  5. I need a decapitated time soon. So sorry about your mother Sharon. I have been a bit out of the loop blog wise. Take care.

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