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Saturday, August 19, 2017

A rude awakening


Ooops --- I knew I missed the post on Friday, but what happened to Thursday?  Oh - I guess I missed that one too. Well - there is a good reason.

But I'm back home now having arrived late last night and while it was nice to be away, it's super nice to be home! The girls and I had a great time at the park and now it's time to get to work. But wait - there's a story here. A story that is dirty, disgusting and well - a very rude awakening.

You see my Mother is a hoarder. There is no question in our minds - she NEVER EVER threw anything away. There are two houses on the farm. Both are filled with stuff. And they have an apartment which has stuff - but I'm not going to deal with the apartment. Not today and not until, well not until she isn't around. It's just better that way.

Since they moved, my Dad will go out with a list of things to get. Thankfully he's going out less and each time, it appears that there is less to bring in. But what to do with all the stuff that is still there?

My brother and I had (finally) free rein to roam the houses to take assessment of the situation. Let's suffice it to say that it would be way easier to just leave everything and let it go than to figure out how to deal with it.  I'm not kidding when I say that. The responsible part of me says - it should be cleaned up but as no one will likely ever like in either house again - what's the point? Well one of them for sure. Box after box of stuff. Bundles of old papers, bundles of book catalogues, books, knick knacks - you name it - it's there.

We looked in the kitchen cupboards of the older house which no one has lived in for thirty years so you can well imagine what it looks like inside the house. An old farmhouse empty for thirty years - need I say more?Well, the kitchen cupboards are filled to the hilt with dishes. Why? Where did the dishes come from?  I've no idea  - I can imagine, but seriously it's a serious mess. No - she has a serious addiction and there were several well meaning friends who went to garage sales to "help" her.

Never mind the dead bat that I found in the newer house. ICK ICK ICK!!!!

I know how I would solve the problem, but I won't put that to pen and paper!

I did take pictures and I could go on forever, but here is the thing. I learned some lessons and I'm going to share them with you.

1. NEVER EVER let someone give you their crap. Unless it is something you will absolutely use. I mean like books you WILL read or dishes you WILL use or whatever. It's for this reason that I will NOT give or sell my fabric and craft supplies to an experienced quilter. They already have their own mess to deal with.  I do have a couple of bundles here that I need to get in touch with my "new" quilters.

2. USE your garbage or recycling bins often!  Look at the paper as it comes in - why are you keeping this - does it have a home? If you don't have a good home or a good reason to keep it - get rid of it! Old bills, receipts - there is absolutely no need to keep most of it. At least get in the habit of getting rid of what comes in so you're not adding to the problem. I can't even begin to tell you what we found that should have been tossed years ago - god - it should never have been saved in the first place. Our only saving grace is that she was an organized hoarder. Like things are stored together.

3. Pick a spot in your house and go through it. Like the cup cupboard or the pantry or whatever. Do it once a year. once you get rid of the bulk of the stuff, the second time around won't be so bad provided you haven't filled it up again. I'm happy to note that there is a lot of space in the apartment kitchen cupboards. Why? Neither of them can reach the space!!!!

4. Think twice before you buy ANYTHING!  Do you need another shirt?  Do you need that new kitchen gadget?  If not, don't pawn it off on someone else. I really really hate to say this, but throw it out!

5. Get over the sentiment of things.  I mean - get over it!  Take a picture - that's all you need to evoke the memory. And it you have something that you treasure - then get it out in plain view. I retrieved a painting for my mom that had a note on it as to how precious it was to her and it had been in the newer house for the last two years, tucked way back in a corner that she would never have seen the painting when they lived there. If you love something - put it on display!

While I was there, I made a vow to myself. I will get my house in order and trust me - it looks empty compared to what we saw. BTW since I know that you will all be thinking of my studio - I'm going to get the rest of my house in order first and then deal with the studio.  Yes - it would be amazingly overwhelming for anyone and I realize that a lot of it would be thrown out.

So I'm taking today off!  I'm going to tackle the office. I took a couple of before pictures and I'm going to get the recyling bins outs and have fun. I know I'll feel better, but I just never got around to it or there was something way more fun to do.  But after seeing that - well - it would make you sick!

Look around you - is there some area of your house that you would like to tackle. Take a couple of hours and get it done. Think about if you didn't come home today and how overwhelming that space would be to someone else to clean up. We found three boxes in the house - one was labeled pens, the second was labelled pens and the third was labelled MORE PENS. I  mean - seriously????  And I bet that all of them were dried up!

On that note, I'm going to tackle this area and see what I can accomplish by the end of the day!

Have a super day!!!!!


Ciao!!!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for your reminder for those people who do not want to deal with anything. We are fortunate to have a winter home, as well as just sold our Canadian home, and I have gone through every closet, box, and room to downsize significantly. I have begun to view items as just that -- items. If we died on the road, coming or going, would I want my children to be faced with all those decisions? NO. We have gotten rid of a lot, and donated, passed on, and given away whle we ar here to enjoy the recipients' faces, and share the relief of not having so much stuff. When we return in the Spring, and open all the things we kept in storage we will get rid of half of it again before we move into a new home. If I live to be 114 I won't use up all my fabric that I kept! Do it now, feel the relief, keep it moving, don't burden your friends and family when you're gone. Jill in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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    1. Jill -- that is awesome - wise words of wisdom. And yes, this culling is something that we have to keep doing. We did our kitchen a while back and about 50% of stuff went. I'm sure we could do it again. The more you get rid of things, the more you realise you don't use a lot of stuff we own! Safe travels!

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  2. I'm not looking forward to my MIL passing, but it sounds like it will be a lot easier than what you are facing. Well done on having the courage to face it, and all the best with your own studio clean up. It's a good thing it's not inherited, though my husband strays a little too closely towards the "floor storage" direction for my liking! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Tawa --- ah - the floor storage. I have my moments with it. Learned it from my Mom. Got to stop the buck HERE! Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. No hoarders here, but after cleaning out my parent's belongings after they passed and then my MIL's after she passed, I have felt the need to go through my stuff so that my kids aren't having to go through so much. Have you heard of Kon Mari? My daughter helped me do that with my clothing and accessories. I didn't think I had that much, but 9 black garbage bags full later, I live a much more stress free day each time I have to get dressed. Afterwards you are much more discerning when it comes to buying more things for yourself. Good luck on your endeavor

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    1. Mimi - thanks for sharing your story. Agree 100% - it's one thing to live with all this stuff. It's another to saddle someone else with the mess. Very irresponsible. So glad you got a handle on it. I have read that book you mentioned. It's a bit extreme, but perhaps time to read it again!

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  4. Good for you! After helping three friends downsize and another friend dispose of possessions after his mother's death, I'm more careful about what I keep and acquire. Organizing paperwork is still my downfall, however.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one with paperwork issues!! File, not pile (says she who is a major piler!)

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  5. Been there dealt with that 3 years ago and 2 weeks ago. Be kind to your children do it now while the objects are useful don't save it for years only to have them discard it because it is obsolete.

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    1. Kat --- very wise words of wisdom!! It's hard to get over that obsolete thing, but I'm working on it!

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  6. yes, been there, done that. My parents family home had to be dealt with at the same time my 10 year home had to be because of moving. It all fell on my lap and I was a deer in headlights for too long a time. Finally, I screamed HELP! to my real estate agent and guess what. Help is out there. In my case, Ingrid Davis from 'Smooth Transitions' SAVED me and this is no lie. She helped me see through all the fog of the overwhelming task and we got it done, one home of 20 years (mother never threw anything away), and a home of 10 (me, self proclaimed pack-rat). Today I try very hard to let go of more 'stuff'. Fabric is still a problem.

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