Saturday, May 11, 2024

Sorting and pitching!

Wow!!!! What a day! We spotted one coyote and one moose on the way to the farm. There were never moose in this area, but their habitat is changing, so I guess they are in the area now. We also have bears -the big kind, but I haven't seen any here, although I had a dream about them last night. Little Bear, meeting a real bear! 

However, the most "exciting" critters I met were SIX ticks. I found one on my forehead while taking a break, one in the truck on the way home, and another on my head while having dinner. And the THREE that were stuck to my butt that I discovered when I had a shower. None had started burrowing, but those little claws are pretty sticky! I had to POP them off my skin. 

This picture is of one of the critters in the sink. I spared you the picture of my butt with the three of them, which I DID NOT take. 


Trust me, when we left the farm, I couldn't wait to shower - I didn't care how late dinner was. And I've checked myself MANY times to see if I missed one of those little critters. 

So this is how I spent a good part of yesterday. I did not wear the coveralls I bought, so I'll return them. It was hot, and I would have died in them. 

I am in decluttering mode

We have always referred to my Mom as the hoarder, but my Dad ranks up there with her. And those hoarding tendencies have rubbed off on the three siblings. My older brother has it worse than anyone as he has the room to store stuff, but part of that storage space is going away (sale of the farm). We each have issues, but I own nothing outside my house. And while I have a lot of craft stuff, the rest of the house is pretty good. And at least I can say that it's organized and clean. 

ACK -- just found number seven crawling on my foot. I wonder if he jumped onto my foot when I was in the bathroom, as all my clothes were on the floor. Well, he won't do damage to anyone. He's gone. If you find them, you must take the edge of your fingernail and squish them, or a hammer works. They are pretty indestructible. 

My job was to empty or make it easier to get into this small outbuilding filled with my Dad's stuff. It used to be his electronic workshop, and I'm not sure how it got filled like it did. But way back in the day, he used to fix stuff—electronics. So, if anyone had something that wouldn't work, they gave it to my Dad. And he collected that stuff. 

How many telephones did I find? 

Old phone

I found one television, old turntables, DVD players, CB radios, two organs, test equipment, magazines, and books. I will take the blame for some of the books and software because I gave them to him. ACK—I'm an enabler!!! 

I wanted to do this with the house: Get a burn pit and go through stuff, box by box, and remove it from the house. It would have saved us oodles of time. Let's say that my suggestion was HUGELY frowned upon. I'm not going down that route because—well, I'm just not. 

I wasn't just dealing with hoarding issues, but animals broke through the roof in this building, and there was a lot of evidence of their presence. Not only poop, but insulation from the ceiling, and there must have been many squirrel conventions in there because the pinecones were thick!! This is about 5 inches thick. 

Pinecone bits on the floor

I "swept" the floor with a shovel many times. But there was great satisfaction in doing this; it was what I wanted, so I didn't mind. 

This was my methodology. I would fill the truck with crap. 

Fill the back of the truck

Then, my Dad drove it to the burn pit. I don't know why he didn't let me since he was the one who scratched the side of the truck on the first backup to the building, but it gave him something to do. Although he was busy with the boys, as he supervised what needed to be kept, scraped, or moved. 

Then I sorted through the boxes (if you could call what was left of some of them a box) and sorted out all the electrical stuff, which will go to the electronic waste. There were boxes of stuff set aside. 

The great sort

The rest went into the burn pit, which we'll add to and burn in the winter when snow comes. It's been temporarily covered with pallets to prevent anything from blowing away, although I tried to put loose papers in boxes so it wouldn't be chaos. We had a steady breeze all day, and it picked up in the afternoon. 

The burn pit

I think this is the pit after my first load. 

OH -- this is a picture of what the inside of the building looked like. 

My task for the day - to empty this space

We could barely get the door open when we started. I removed five truckloads of crap, swept the floor yet again, and then had to return the boxes of electrical stuff as the recycling depot was closed, so there was no sense bringing it into town. I hope to bring in a load on Monday. We'll see how that goes. 

So why did we do that building and not the house? Well, at least most stuff was "easily" accessible in the house. My brother never lived there and doesn't give a hoot about the house, but Dad wants some stuff in the building, so the building, not the house, is getting emptied. I won't question the why; I'll just do it. 

And I stood on the edge of the burn pit and pitched, and it felt good!

Meanwhile, there was more stuff that needed to be moved, and so Dad, Wally, and Glen took charge of that. It was a long, hot, and exhausting day. After we had dinner, we chatted a bit, and then I went to bed. I never even saw one stitch of the northern lights that everyone is posting this morning! 

It was a blast from the past, as I saw all kinds of stuff that I had given to Dad or that brought back many memories. I took a few photos and then pitched the stuff. 

Does anyone remember this software?

I rescued a few small things, including this, but I have no idea where it came from. Just found it on the ground outside the building. 

A knick-knack

You would NOT believe the amount of paper that got tossed. My parents are KEEN on printing books, making books and manuals, scrapbooks, and gosh knows what else. I told Mom that she better think twice about making more. She looked at me with a blank look and said that she doesn't. That's a lie. I won't go into that discussion either - it was friendly, but she has no clue. However, I already see the next job for when I return next time, and it's their apartment, which is starting to look bad. They can still move around, and they have no choice because of her wheelchair, but she has NO CLUE about the issues we are dealing with and thinks we are standing there with magic wands to make all this happen. But I digress. 

So my advice to you is this: Look at your environment. Maybe you can't see it, so get someone else to look at it. Are you a hoarder, or do you have lots of stuff around? Get on it now, and I don't mean just taking out a bag of garbage here and there. I mean get serious about this because it's an issue. It's also mentally UNHEALTHY to live with huge amounts of crap surrounding you! 

Clean out your linen closets -- how much do you really need? Clean out your medicine cabinets, bedside tables, kitchen drawers, and closets. What about stuff on the floor? Extra furniture. I don't care if you think someone wants it -- they do not. They would find a way to take it if they really wanted it. Take pictures and let it go. Most of the stuff is NOT worth trying to sell. What about your car, your garage? If you can't do it - hire someone. What we have gone through in the last few years is horrible, and we're not done yet. 

But you can bet that when I get home, I'm going to go through more stuff, and I'll keep organizing until the day I die. But I do NOT want to saddle M with a mess. It's horrible! 

I brought two USBs with me, and I looked at both of them yesterday. Good grief—one had some of M's school projects and DH's work from several companies ago. That one got tossed, but not before I sent one of the presentations to M. That USB is sticky, so it's history. 

Going through USBs

Look at the date of the documents -- 2006!!!!

I looked at the second one, which I will empty and keep. I don't remember the dates of that one, but I'll delete everything or move it. I haven't got to the hard disk yet. 

I have a Zoom class this morning, and then I'll be back to the farm where people are coming to collect stuff. So help me, God—this is a nightmare situation. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but if you've ever had to clean out a parent's home, you know what I mean. 

All I can say as I close off today is take a GOOD look at your house. GET RID OF WHATEVER you don't use. I'm trying to get my Mom to see. Holy -- I had to be so specific. Mom -- what about the stuff in that closet -- you never use it because you can't access the closet door. Her response was that the closet is for towels and so on. NOT that closet, Mom -- the closet in the small room. OH yes -- I did buy too many craft supplies, and I could get rid of those, but how? She has no clue. But I had to be very specific- she can't identify the clutter in the house, and she is NOT capable or just cagey. I'm not sure which. 

So after the farm is done, and I sincerely hope this is the last time I ever step foot into a building on that farm, I'll tackle the apartment and hope to get some of it gone before I have to get rid of all the stuff. 

All I can say is have a great day! I'm enjoying my time, even though the circumstances are frustrating. I just remind myself that hoarding is a form of mental illness, and they literally can't see the forest for the trees. Or whatever - you know what I mean. 

I never did get a chance to walk, but I walked almost 12 km doing all that loading and sorting! 

And now, I'm off to scour my clothes for more ticks!1!

Have a great day!!!!



  1. Good luck. At least at my brother’s house everything was clean and neat. But everything had to be examined carefully before being thrown out as my sister in law hid money all over the place.

  2. I did "get" to empty Mom's home. IN ONE DAY! So everyone, please consider this story as you go through your own home.

    Mom lived in a little rural town where home sales regularly take 18-36 months. YES, as much as 3 years. So hers went on the market just 60d after she died. Well, we got a full price cash offer with stipulation that they take possession in 7 days or no sale. Our family is spread across 5 US states and everyone had taken time off to come care for her those final 7 weeks. I was taking 2d/week off to be with her Friday night-Tuesday night and my employers were fabulously supportive of me doing this. I could not in good faith, ask for more time to clear her home. So, I did it in 1 day!!!!! Sunrise to sunset. My brother lives in that town. I told him to get 3 guys with trucks and a trailer (farm town), to be there by 10am. His adult daughter to be there with her truck to fill for the thrift store. We filled my SUV with anything I couldn't release yet. I put in her bedroom anything little sister wanted (she could only come Sunday). And the house was empty by Sunday night. Monday was deep clean, carpet shampooed, Tuesday to dry and Wednesday the buyer took possession.

    In those days I cared for her, once she was sleeping more and could not get out of bed without assistance, I did start going through drawers of paper. She never lost mental status so I had to be cautious so as not to upset her. I only went through places that were storage. I found cancelled checks going back to 1988. Accounts that no longer existed as Dad died in 1994.

    Can your family clear your home in 36 hours? Some people say "I don't care, it won't be my problem". I think that is mean! I had my Mom till age 84 but it was still not an easy task. It takes a toll.

    I'm glad for you Elaine, that you have the "horsepower" to do this work and that you have siblings to also be working through this. My situation was nothing like yours but I feel the mental toll with you.

    1. I’m so sorry! 😞

    2. We did the same thing - got a full price offer, one week occupancy, both of us full time jobs. 2 adults, 3 teenagers, cleaned in one day. My mother was a knitter, sewer, portrait painter, flower enthusiast, 23 cookbooks, but we made it. If I had weeks I probably would have been a mess but the short time made decisions clearer (more painful sometimes) It's been 15 years and sometimes I go on the "hunt". Did I save that from Mom's house? Where did I put her fav cookbook? I'm trying to clean now so my kids won't need to do so much, but I have an antire closet of antique quilts, and other "stuff" that's really hard to part with. Good luck........