Friday, December 04, 2009


Nobody said that war is pretty.

Have you ever felt that your home looks more like this place (a thrift store) than a home? Have you ever tried to find clothes to try on at a thrift store? Say you want a nice, slightly out of style but modest dress for church. So of course you can find the rack of dresses, but can you easily find your size, or type without wading through them all and taking wild guesses at whether the ones you pick will fit? If you are like me, you will feel a little frustrated at this point. But perhaps you are starting to feel that way at your own house.

When you need to find an important piece of paper or a phone number at home, or the nail clippers or whatever, and you find yourself having to run from room to room, looking high and low, you are in a bad place, and I don't mean the mall.

Or you may have this dilemma: you are not one of those naturally organized people, but through trial and mostly error, through the grace of God and pure determination, you have managed to gain some measure of control over your household. Then somebody you know and up to this point loved, decides to make you the benefactor of their cherished stuff. Or you find out you are going to have a baby and ten wonderful people unload all their baby things upon thy hearth and home.

Or people move in with you. Or your spouse and you are diametrically opposed on the issues concerning what to keep and what to get rid of. Or your beloved likes lots of noise, wires and late hours in front of a blaring television, and you would rather read Wordsworth by the fire while listening to the old clock tick in a quiet room.

Or you can be like me and all the foregoing horror pertains to you!!!!! Well, except the baby part. But that did happen to me, five times.

But to continue on from the last post, I have decided that life is too short to be in a constant state of confusion and feeling overwhelmed. Its time to do surgery on this place and actually on my life. You know, most of the time surgery is necessary and is ultimately good for you. But in the short term, it elicits some fear and trepidation, and usually it is painful. Just like taking control of your life and domain.

So this week, I gathered up nine huge bags of giveaway clothes, and honey, I am just getting started. I also got rid of a twin bed frame and the mattress and box spring.
Today I called the sanitation department and scheduled a special pick-up. In our city we are very fortunate that if we have large items, old appliances or the like, we can arrange for the city to pick it up at the curb on our regular trash day. So on trash day, out goes the old microwave, a lot of bulky cardboard from new appliances, a broken computer chair, hopefully a busted motor scooter and whatever else I can scrounge up.

Now when I say "hopefully" the old motor scooter, that means I have to convince my husband to let go of the old rusted thing. I plan on convincing him about a few other items, too. But in some other matters, I am sorry, I have made an executive decision that clothes one has not been able to fit into for the last eight years or so, have got to go. Along with ugly clothes. And old, dead, primitive cell phones and cameras. And shoes that are composting in the closets.

Next, I have no choice but to attack the under eave storage, wherein is buried my Christmas wrapping paper, supplies and goodness knows what other Christmas stuff. Right now it all lies barricaded behind things my daughter threw in there when she moved back in. I envision adding to that giveaway pile. And dispensing with approximately, and you may not believe this, 28 years of receipts and tax-related papers. They are all in there, in boxes and large envelopes. Well, I wanted to be prepared in case we ever got audited. So yeah, I'll keep the last seven years of stuff, and maybe even pare that down after the new year. And maybe have a Christmas bonfire with the papery discards.

A recent study showed that people who are immersed in cluttered living conditions feel more stress, agitation and depression than those whose surroundings are orderly. The eye needs to be able to rest on some open space and symmetry. Which is why I feel so crazy right now and rather humbuggy about the holidays this year. I am a Christmas maniac, which only surpasses my zeal for harvest decorations, but this year, less will definitely be more. Because right now, I do not know where we can even put the tree. Remember the wall lined with computers? That is where we used to put the tree. I have six people in this house and most days seven (one son actually rents a place down the street but spends most of his free time and meal times here), not including friends of the kids who are here quite often. And don't forget about that little beagle boy of mine and those four ridiculous, eccentric, but beloved cats.

So to load up any remaining space with Santas, sleighs, toy houses and elves and holly would be suicide, I believe. Maybe this year I will put up one nativity set instead of four. And forget about putting cotton snow on EVERYTHING. I am telling you, my dear mother would be beyond appalled at the Broadway production I have been making out of Christmas. And my life. I can just hear her now.

You know the saying, "What would Jesus do?" Well, I am blessed to be able to draw from her example and say, "What would Mom do?" This will help me as I attempt to make some sense out of all this disorder. She knew what she could handle, and unlike me, felt happy enough with herself and her modest possessions, without having to go overboard.

Maybe that is it. Maybe contentment in one's interior life translates into harmony in one's surroundings. Let's ruminate on that one for a bit.....


  1. Good for you!!! I don't know about you, but I feel so free after a trip to the local Goodwill. It's as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder.

  2. Anonymous2:50 PM

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  3. Arlene9:02 PM

    Decluttering. You should be pleased with yourself Gail. I need to simplify myself, but I really am having a hard time getting started.

  4. Anonymous2:29 AM

    We had a recent pipe break in the house and flood some rooms. Consiquently our lives got turned upside down as the walls that got soaked, carpets that got ruined etc got redone and or taken up and replaced. Stuff from everywhere got put in rooms that were already full. Everything on all walls had to come down so they could work etc. !! What an eye opener {and embarassing} to see all your stuff!! Let alone the work crew to see and move it all! :( Then to have to put it all back and now you want the place to look nicer so where do you put that stuff?? :) Well I too got rid of over 30 years of tax and other paper work. Shelfs and pictures and clothes and this and that and lots more!! I asked God to show me who might need this or that and called. Low and behold the very things I didn't need were the things so many were looking for! :) Why did I keep them so long? Why didn't I ask God earlier? We are still clearing out. It took a long time to compile this and will take a while to clear it all out. We are hot hoarders by any stretch but do have too much. We keep too many sentimental things and things we want to repurpose but never get around to doing it! :) Feels so good to have Less! Sarah


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