Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cleaning House

It's amazing the amount of stuff one person can accumulate over time.

Back in early 1998, I was thinking of doing a purge of my belongings. I knew I had just too much STUFF. But the thought of going through everything was absolutely overwhelming to me. Not only because, wow, timesink, but also because nearly everything I owned was in Alabama and I was in Florida, so it would necessitate a trip up to a town I really didn't want to go to in the first place and force me to deal with a disaster not entirely of my making.

I knew I had to do it. I was in the process of moving back down here after my first divorce (I hate typing that -- having to specify just which divorce it was, lest there be any confusion... ouch!), and although I had a few books with me and a decent portion of my clothing, as well as my computer and violin, the lion's share of my clothing, books, and all my furnishings were still up in Alabama.

I remember going to bed one night in early March of that year thinking rather desperately and recklessly, "If that house would just burn down I won't have to deal with it at least." And then I fell asleep.

At 4:00 that morning my mother woke me up to tell me that my next-door-neighbors in Alabama had called. My house was burning down.


Actually, I was pretty calm about the whole thing. It was done. Over. And to be honest, the mustard yellow shag carpeting was actually hugely improved in appearance by the smoke and water damage.

I moved out of my parents' house into a little one-bedroom apartment, blissfully unencumbered by any storage issues.

But in the years since then I've managed to accumulate probably as much stuff as I lost in the fire, and now the time has come to haul in the proverbial backhoe and actually do a conscious purge. I don't want any desperate situation to force me to do it. It's just that the time has come, and I need to suck it up.

I'm an adult, dammit. Time to act like one.

Since I went through my books a couple of years ago, my priority at the moment is my closets. First in line? The clothing closets. I'm halfway through my primary closet (not to be confused with my secondary closet, which I took over when my ex moved out), and holy CRAP!! I haven't worn some of the stuff in there for nearly a decade. I still had maternity clothes hung up in there.

People, my youngest child is SIX. Erm... yeah. Those have to go. I think.*

I also have a couple of sweaters in there from the eighties that I took with me to Florida, so they escaped the housefire. HUGE necks, ala Flashdance, shoulder pads... oy gevalt. Not so sure I want to lose those though. I mean, they could come back into style, right?

Yeah, this is gonna take awhile. Back to the salt mines, folks.

*Note: in my defense, one reason I hang onto the maternity clothes is for birth control purposes. My theory has been that as long as I keep the gestational-wear near at hand I won't tempt the Fates into letting me get knocked up again. Hey, it's worked so far!!


Becky said...

I have the same problem when it comes to accumulating things and then not getting rid of them. I too have been holding on to clothes from the 80's and a bunch of other useless stuff. This year, thanks to Stephanie Bennett Vogt's newest book, "Your Spacious Self," I am so ready to get rid of everything useless and to get my house and life back in to order!

Tycho Beresford said...

I'd hold on to the 80's sweaters for a bit; you're right about them coming back into style. Unless, of course, you have more than 10,000 items in your inventory (like a certain, un-named Blues DJ).

Amanda said...

Hehehe, Tycho!!

Although I'm done with round 1 of The Great Closet Cleanup, I still have other clothing to wash and sort through. I'm nearly positive that those other articles of clothing will end up causing me to have to dump even MORE stuff out of my closet, which kinda sucks.

My kingdom for endless closet space!