Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Cleaning

This weekend Alex and I spent several hours cleaning out the garage. We were both sore and tired by the end of it all, but in a good way. Alex actually put himself to bed last night which almost never happens. That kid was pooped. I dare not post pictures here of the before because it was positively shameful. 

Last summer we went to lots of yard sales and thrift stores. It was a fun hobby for us to look for treasures together, haggling over pennies and nickles. Ahhh. Good times. But with that haggling came great bargains and an accumulation of 'stuff'. 

For a few years I have tried to simplify our lives and eliminate extraneous 'stuff', almost at all costs- brutally discarding things that I really liked but knew I had not used in eons or ever. I'm one of those people that comes home from shopping and leaves bags in the trunk or stashes them in a closet and forgets about them- only to buy them again a few months later, and discovers when we move or during Spring Cleaning that I have multiples of brand new things. But few times have I brutally discarded things with any lasting regret. 

So when all our 'stuff' that had collected in the garage over the past year became too much I really didn't have much difficulty parting with most of it this weekend. And actually I found several things I had been missing- the plug adapters for the keyboard so you can plug in regular headphones, some of Alex's Kindergarten artwork that must have fallen out when we moved in, a love letter my oldest daughter wrote to Alex years ago on a napkin when we were at a restaurant together, two new packs of wooden skewers, much hunted for tools, yard sale treasures I dared not part with they were so precious and yet somehow forgotten until I found them again, and a couple of burned CDs with pictures and videos of Alex as a baby and getting his first hair cut.  

Actually, the real mountain of 'stuff' was Alex's collection of recyclable materials he planned to use 'one day' for 'something'. Building rocket ships, jet packs, science experiments, eco-friendly housing for his future adult self (and family, of course)- he had grand plans. Grand plans indeed.  But the reality was most of it was just sitting in a giant pile by the back door and fell over on top of you everytime you tried to make your way to the car. He never actually used the materials for anything. Classic pack-ratidness. So it was a use-it or lose-it situation and Alex was quick to agree it had gotten out of hand. Thank the stars for little miracles. No showdown needed this time. 

Alex's pile was not unlike Beatrice Lestrange's Gringotts vault in Harry Potter's Deathly Hallows where they were forced to overcome a mountain of gold and jewels to reach their goal. Except instead of gold, I was wading through empty laundry containers, plastic food containers (cleaned of course), oatmeal rounds, boxes, pringles cans, jars, old wiring, boxes, random knobs, plugs and switches, boxes, milk jugs, 2-liter bottles, boxes, packing styrofoam, bubble wrap, boxes, kitty litter boxes and did I mention BOXES?

Luckily most everything we had to ditch was already bound for the recycle heap and our recycle bin was empty thanks to Alex's determination to never let me throw any recyclable item away, even in the recycle bin. With both garbage can and recycle bin full to the brim we rolled them out to the curb for today's pick-up. We can now see the floor and walls again and walk freely in the garage without it feeling like an obstacle course. Yay!

And best of all I have my makeshift art studio back again, which has been sitting dormant since last Summer because I couldn't get to it after the yard sale season ended. I LOVE doing my woodworking and art in the garage on Summer days with the garage door open a little, and the side door propped open with this misshapen but loveable wood stump, and having my music on.

Next weekend we will tackle the bedrooms. My room in particular. That is the place where all things eventually come to be stored because it's the closest room to the main area and a quick place to stash 'stuff' when company visits. A few weekends ago I did get through my closet, but all I really managed to do was empty my closet of non-essentials and move them outside to the main room. We all know by now that clutter makes for a stressful space. And I endeavor to never have stress whenever I can. So tackle it I must. Thankfully Spring is here and I am motivated to do my annual Spring Cleaning and re-simplify my home so we can have the laziest days possible through the Summer.

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