Saturday, June 20, 2009

Clearing Out

I started cleaning out closets in January and it has been quite an ordeal. We moved into this house 13 years ago and have slowly and surely filled every space. I am amazed and disgusted with some of the things I've found. I organized the basement storage space. We are neither handy nor organized and have always found it easier to go to the hardware store and get whatever we need rather than looking for it in the work area. Conversely, I can't throw anything out. So the basement shelves are full of little bags of screws and nails. Many switch plate covers. I bought some little organizing bins and sorted everything into its easily seen and accessed little clear plastic cubby. Why do I do this for the people who will be renting the house for the year, but not for us?

There was a pile of steel wool under the shelf and I was pulling it out from behind an old register grate when my (bare) hand encountered something soft and silky, yet with hard sticks underneath. Not like steel wool at all. I screamed. Then I looked. Rat. Dead a long time, didn't even smell anymore. It was perfect. A little rat mummy worthy of a spot in a diorama. Had I still been teaching preschool, I would have been tempted to bring it in. Jules and Noah came running, but they were only marginally interested. I insisted Noah help me clean it up, but then I thought of Hanta virus - which I know comes from mice not rats, I checked, but still. So I got the shovel and scooped the little guy into a garbage bag. Glad we didn't leave that for the renters, but sorry I don't have a picture.

Going through my own things I am astonished by the number of things that have survived from my past to reside in my attic. Since they have been around for so long, they take on increased significance, even though they never should have been saved in the first place. I forced myself to get rid of a lot, but since I didn't want to get rid of everything, I had to go through many items. I found notes and letters from my school and college days. Letters from long gone folks. All of my school ID cards. My baby book. Curiously blank. Newspaper articles from the Goshen News sent from my grandmother and featuring family members or house fires.

I had a garage sale of all of the wonderful finds I have accumulated over the years. My vintage dresses. Suits from Paris with shoulder pads. Handmade linens with minute stitches. Green bowls with one small chip. A bed that just needed to be glued a little. Nobody wanted my stuff. I only raised $100 for the library. It just goes to show, that if I am willing to get rid of it, it is of little value to anyone else.

1 comment:

  1. I too am cleaning out, but this time our house in California. After 27 years and 3 generations worth of "memories" contained in boxes of this and that, furniture, etc. $100,000 worth of like you, high-end clothes that belong in San Francisco, not Nicaragua. My wife and I own Playa Roca Beach Hotel in Las Penitas-Leon on the Pacfic coast see: What do we need high-heels, leather jackets, ski boots, thermal underwear, etc., etc.? We need shorts, sandals, boogie boards, sun tan lotion and a good telescope.
    I have wasted my last 3 trips back to CA to try to get rid of "stuff" that doesn't mean what they used to. The "home" here now is just a "house", as "HOME" is now Playa Roca. We have exchanged a large house overlooking a smog filled valley outside Los Angles for a small casita looking at Pacific waves crashing over volcanic rocks with panoramic sunsets as a backdrop the last 4 1/2 years.
    With the economic turmoil we can't sell anything, including the house. Let go and let GOD is my way out of procrastination and allow for the future to unfold. Material "things" are nice to have, but we tend to place too much significance on them, they can control your life if you allow it.
    David and Cookie No Basura Cardin de la Playa Roca.