I worry about what I will do when I get rid of all the clutter and extra stuff such as arts and crafts supplies and sewing stuff. And home decorations. Undone projects. Extra potted plants. Excess home keeping gear. Superfluous books and printed materials. Cumbersome furniture items. Costume jewelry. Scarves. Yes, even scarves.
I will do more or less what I do now. Read, watch television, web surf. And I will still have coloring and embroidery to do. I was coloring for stress relief long before it became vogue. I have a Disneyland coloring book at least 20 years old I have been working my way through. I pick it up from time to time and do another page.
What will I not have to do when I get everything cleared out? I won’t have to move this to get to that. I won’t have overloaded cabinets, pantries and drawers. I will easily see what I have and what I need to replenish and so avoid buying something of which I already have a good supply. I won’t expend energy shuffling boxes of stuff around. I won’t waste valuable square footage of real estate holding onto “Made in China” junk, “got it for a dollar” junk, “Walmart” junk, “Dollar Store” junk. What didn’t get unloaded onto me at the passing of a loved one probably came from one of those sources. Even most of the inherited things came from similarly mass produced lines of goods.
I don’t own much that is rare. I have a few things that are very special to me personally, but certainly not valuable antiques. I practice an exercise periodically. I imagine a wildfire is approaching and I only have three hours to load all I can in my little car and perhaps the back of his truck. What would I load up to haul to safety? Of what was left behind, on what would I spend the money to replace? Items not making either of these lists become good candidates for the charity shop donation box. The things that would not get loaded and would likely not get replaced can certainly be removed from my housekeeping ménage.
The major problem I face is the selection of items that belonged to ancestors. Some are not practical. Some I do not have the courage to unload. With grandchildren on the way, I am increasing my consideration of those things. I don’t want my descendants to have the same kind of problem I have. I worry about the challenges he or our children would face after I am gone. If I were to not see today’s sunset, what am I leaving for them to clean up and disperse? I would rather not have very much for the charity shop to haul away after an estate sale. A few useful or sentimental things for them to take home and some things I need now to keep house that they won’t need are all I really want to keep.
When I read about decluttering, some much of the lists are simply trash. Broken this and piles of rusted that. I don’t have that problem. Occasionally, I keep a lamp in need of repair a little longer than usual before I give up and get rid of it. If an article of clothing gets into the mending pile, it is doomed unless our daughter rescues it and does her magic trick to repair it. I try to get around to it. I just don’t make it. Magazines and billing statements can sometimes get a little much. Candles, nail polish and lipstick are problem areas for me. They are still good items. But, I have more than I will use in a reasonable timeframe.
My trouble is more that the excess is useful and usable stuff. Not necessarily useful for me. Each time I come home from a shopping trip, I evaluate what non-essential items I have purchased. These days, even food is reviewed for non-essentials (chips, ice cream, cookies). I ask myself if I have bought more fresh produce than the two of us will consume before it loses its freshness. Cooking for two is still a major challenge. What about toiletries and kitchen gadgets? Magazines? Cup towels? Rugs? Storage boxes? I would rather not face my purse, shoe, book and coffee addiction just yet. But, it will come. Sooner or later, I will deal with those things, too.
I used to watch Clean Sweep and Hoarders. Don Aslett’s books about clutter are on my bookshelf. I have read through them several times. I saw a small portion of Oprah’s trip to India. A woman, her husband and their three daughters lived without despair in an eight by eight room. Water and latrines were down the hall in a communal area. All of these sources have helped me work through to what is essential for well-being.
Each person has a well-being setting. Mine happens to be clear, open and streamlined. Lots of sunlight and bright spots of colors are in the plan. Looking at the space around me in this room, I have more work to do. However, I will not berate myself for not being finished. I will commend myself for all I have done for the past couple of weeks and over the past 25 years.
My little nieces have helped me see things more clearly, too. The time they spend here helps me see how better to make things for them and the ones coming after them. They show me that snuggles under the covers watching Scooby Doo after a Barbie Doll bubble bath are the best!
I want to have a minimal house so I can have maximum time, energy and money to spend with them, with him and with the Dreams coming true. In the day to day, I want time and energy to spend on my true career, housekeeping. Housekeeping is not shuffling clutter around. It is cooking and cleaning, dusting and sweeping, washing and folding. Polishing the place we gather to live together. I want time and energy and love to spend on him. With him. Twirling around to a song on the radio across a clean wide open floor. Or bouncing along in the buggy down a wildflower trail…………..