I’m more than a little neurotic at times; ask anyone who knows me in the really-real world and they’ll attest to that without a moments hesitation. I already mentioned that I’ve officially started my spring cleaning for the year, but what you likely do not know is just how nuts I am about such things.
You see, I was born into a long line of packrats. I come from a clan where a good 80% of the women would have (should have) been on those hording shows long before those hording shows existed. When my maternal grandmother passed away (and we went to clean out her house) there were thirty some quilts tucked away in various closets – all still in their original packaging. There were clothes (of various sizes; most not Grandma’s) in all of the closets with price tags still on them. Amongst other things, there were hundreds of cassette tapes, still in their plastic wrap (my grandmother didn’t even own a cassette player), insane amounts of unopened makeup, shoes, medications, dishes, towels, soap, gift baskets (still in their cellophane wrap) shampoos, perfumes, something like fifty tubes of toothpaste, over a hundred boxes of cereal, tool kits, and – though granny never sewed – boxes of clothing patterns and rolls of fabric. This sort of thing was (is) pretty common amongst the women in my family, and serves as yet more proof (to me) that the line of mental illness in our genes did not start with my generation, even if we were the first to accept it and do something about it.
Once upon a not that long ago, I was no better than the rest of them; I used to have one hell of a hard time throwing anything away, and so when something outlived it’s purpose, I just tucked it up on some shelf or in a box somewhere. It was comfort sort of thing that stemmed – I believe – from my constant need to feel like I had a place, a home, a point in life, but it used to make moving hell.
After I started putting my life back together (following my downwards spiral) one of the first major changes I made had to do with a de-cluttering of my private universe. Before I was strong enough to move on to the people that were toxic to my wellbeing, I started with my possessions. Over a week and a half (or so) I went through every single thing I owned and parted with more than 3/4 of it. The only ‘useless’ items I kept were those that I found too sentimental to part with; like my old records and whatnot, Benny the monkey, and my writing. I donated three pickup trucks worth of clothing and things to the Salvation Army, and created another four truckloads full of landfill fodder.
This unloading felt so amazing that I have gone on a major purging once a year ever since.
Each spring when the purging bug bites me in the ass, the true strength of my OCD-like tendencies surface and I start sorting, organizing, tossing, cleaning, labelling, recycling, and fixing like a madwoman. Seriously, it took me five hours just to clean out my desk this weekend. I literally went through every pen and scrap of paper, every paperclip and thumbtack, and tossed away anything that I didn’t need, didn’t want or that didn’t work.
This is just how I roll. Everything that I deem too important to throw out or give away – but not necessary to keep at an arm’s reach - gets neatly stored in plastic crates (how fortunate that Canadian Tire just put them on sale!) and a generalized list of contents gets taped securely to the side before it goes into storage.
This is a three-story, four-bedroom, two-storage room, multiple-storage closet house with an unattached garage. There are four permanent residents (not including the cat and dog) and an endless stream of visitors; my sister and her family are always leaving things behind either because they don’t have room for it their fifth wheel (their house is in B.C. and they live in a house-on-wheels while in this province) or because it’s handier to leave things here since they spend so much damn time at my house. This drives me a little nutty, but whatcha gonna do? My point is that the spring purge around here is not a simple task that can be accomplished over a couple of days. I put in about five hours on Saturday and another fourteen yesterday, and so far all I’ve managed to get through is my desk (looks fantastic for the record), my bedroom (everything but Zed’s closet) and the cupboards in my kitchen and pantry. Since I was also working on the set up of my new computer and babysitting my sisters three kids most of yesterday, I think I made pretty good time, but I’m still a hell of a long way from finished.
Zed has known me as both a packrat and as a minimalist, and while he admits to preferring the latter (by far), he always looks just a little uncomfortable while I’m in purge mode. He does his best to make himself as small as he can (which is no easy feat for a guy that’s 6’2, 220 pounds) and stay out my way. I’m not sure what makes him more nervous; that I might throw away something he’ll later need, that I mumble to myself so frequently while in purge mode, or that he and/or the kids/dog/cat might accidentally end up out on the curb with the recycling. Or maybe he’s just nervous about what jobs I might stick on him, “Hunny, could you just…” He’s already put together two new bookshelves for me, taken a trip to the transition house up the way, fixed the hinges on my wardrobe and – oh so kindly – done a handful of other little chores for me, even though Sunday was his only day of rest♥. Regardless, he’ll be happy as a pig in shite when I’m done and; ever the predictable little bunny that he is; he’ll reward my hard work with a new houseplant (that I’ll probably accidentally kill sometime between this and next spring) and a night out. That’s just how he roles.
Because I have such a big job still ahead of me – and knowing that I won’t be able to rest properly until it’s finished – my time allowance for other obsessions is going to be limited for awhile. Later this afternoon I’ll sit down and break up that big piece I recently promised/threatened, and I’ll start posting two or three parts of that a day as well as (likely) some older poetry pieces; even though I don’t really like posting old stuff. I’ll share with you what I write (if/when I actually find time to write) and I’ll do my very best to keep up with your blogs whenever I find myself with a few minutes to spare.
If you should find yourself in need of my attentions (for whatever reason) just shoot me off an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP. In the meantime, remember that I love you all and have a GREAT day!