Thursday, June 28, 2018

Intervention

warning: no pretty pictures!

He was standing knee-deep in boxes, linens, Christmas ornaments, and books. Always the books. “Mom, do you feel that you’ve allowed your home to become, hmmm, errrr, over-full?” 



Now I recognize the opening line of an intervention when I hear one no matter how tactful the messenger. I began to respond by explaining that hardly any of it was my stuff....that I haven’t been feeling that well...that I feel overwhelmed...that I’d like to open a window and pitch it all on the lawn. 

(I attempted to wash the fence last week...yikes!)

He walked into my sewing room and I rushed to say, “Not so bad, right? Probably better than your workspace in your barn to which he replied, ‘touché.’”




The standard joke in my family is that I am holding onto some great-grandmother or other’s bun. Yes, it’s not seven feet from where I now sit writing this post. It is carefully wrapped in tissue paper...I’d like to send it up the elevator... Are you following along here? I may be in trouble. 




 As another case in point, I showed my son a drawing that his great-great grandfather had done of a young starlett sometime back in the 1940s. You should have seen his face. He may have even taken a step back. I am saving it, but I don’t know why... I penciled in a message on the back some months ago. 















So today I am recommitting myself to decluttering. I was able to declutter John’s barn and property by tackling the next thing. (Let’s not discuss how much of it is here in bags waiting to be sorted.) The first thing that I worked on at John’s was the stairs...a double flight. I cleared them so I could safely walk up and down without fear of tripping.  I think that will be where I begin here — the stairs.


I know that I must pace myself or burn out completely. Why I already have my dishes done and the Mancala beads washed so something has been accomplished.

Can dishes be "done" if they are still in the drainer? Am I holding onto too many sponges?





Have you ever found yourself in a nightmare like this? Can this wee haven be saved?

37 comments:

  1. Have you considered taking photos of things like that drawing, and making photo books of them? Take photos of things that have emotional meaning to you, and put them in those great books you can make online and make one for each persons stuff.

    You’ll breath easier without all the stuff, but you’ll have the memories at your fingertips!

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    1. Deanna, this is a fantastic idea!!! I did this with many newspaper clippings and old photos, and made a book (via Shutterfly) about my dad's life. Over time and free offers, made one for each of his great-grandkids.
      Now I need to go on and do this with some of the other stuff (which I wouldn't have thought to do without this reminder).

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  2. Vee, I understand keeping ancestral items. We have boxes of things in our basement that fit this category. When we are gone someone may or may not want them. We're leaving that up to them. But they are stored away from daily sight. You probably have worn yourself out from cleaning out the barn. I like your idea of starting with the stairs then moving to another area. ♥

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  3. You have been through so much - I would certainly take my time with this project. I recently got rid of most of our large/heavy furniture. Some of it is right next door with a young family! I saved a few sentimental items but was brutal in making decisions to make life easier on me. Sending a hug.

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  4. little by little ..
    have grace for yourself ..
    step softly ..
    make wee areas pleasing and it'll all come together.

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  5. Oh dear Vee, I love what Sherry responded....HAVE GRACE FOR YOURSELF. It will all come sooner or later come together. I have such a hard time parting with STUFF! Things that are dear to my heart I will not part with but I have done lots of "getting rid of and letting go" if that makes sense. Praying for you today Vee. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  6. YES, Vee!! I totally understand and am kind of in that spot right now. I don't have as much of my family's things, but people do sort of tend to think of me as a repository for stuff they don't want to keep themselves (me and my mom, that is). I'm trying to do some de-cluttering today, and when I saw your blog post just had to respond. It's hard to enjoy our special things when we're so covered up with clutter. Lately, this is one reason it's hard for me to write a nice blog post.

    It think these nice ladies who've replied to you have some wonderful ideas and advice!! You have been through so much in the last year or more, don't be so hard on yourself. I like the idea of taking photographs instead of feeling like you have to keep everything.

    Prayers and hugs for you,

    Denise at Forest Manor

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  7. Pace yourself...that's all I have to say on the matter. And work on it 'when you are in the mood'. I usually get in the mood when something finally starts bothering me. And I find it helpful to put it in my car or the trash as soon as I've decided it must go. If I look at it again another day....I change my mind. It's hard! I know! Hugs and hugs!

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  8. I'll echo what others have already said here, and add to not beat yourself up over this. Also, remember the other lines of the Old Saxon poem - Do the next thing, Do it with prayer, Do it reliantly, casting all care, Do it with reverence, Tracing His hand, who placed it before you, with earnest command,...Do the next thing.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Lorrie

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  9. Let me echo what some of the others are saying...I love that grace statement...let those keepsakes speak to you as you go through them and savor the memories. Like you, I also have this monumental task ahead of me. What I want to take with me to TN (whether I should or not) will all be packed in boxes and neatly (hopefully) stacked in the garage. I am a terrible procrastinator...just go back and read a post or two that I have written. You'd think by now, I should have it all done. Not. Even. Close. Take it as it comes, my dear...and I do like Deana's idea about the photo books! All in good time...hugs & prayers.

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  10. Oh yes Vee..
    We are kindred spirits for sure. I keep asking myself How does one eat an elephant? one bite at a time... and then I do just one thing. No matter how small, just one thing and I often put on a record like Nat King Cole and spend a few minutes doing something.
    Have you ever heard of Flylady? google her and see what you think. One time my daughter suggested Flylady to me because I was a crying confused mess at the mess of my life.
    I still go back to things I learned. Like now.. I have way too much stuff.
    Hugs and love,
    Mona

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    Replies
    1. Ah, yes, Flylady is how I get most things done. I have my routines, but they are only working on the lower floor not the second floor nor the basement nor the garage...so much! Overwhelmed!

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  11. Set a timer for 15 minutes everyday. Spend that 15 minutes tackling a small area. Work in the same room every day for 15 minutes until that room is done. Then start the next room. Just 15 minutes a day. xo

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  12. I have an evil mess lurking in my basement. I have a very creepy basement in a very old house and almost everything down there needs to go in the trash. My husband and I keep saying we need to get a dumpster and fill it. Then I went and broke my arm, so there's that. I'm better at weeding out things in the rest of the house and keep the door to the basement shut. I worry about an electrian or a plumber needing to go down there for repairs! Ha!

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  13. I wish you success. That's on my agenda. Mark's last day at work is tomorrow and we need to get this house decluttered so we can move at some point. You will feel so much better getting it done. However I understand about holding on to things from the past that belonged to family members.

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  14. This is one problem I don't have. I am not a saver. Maybe because we've moved so many times that I just couldn't bring everything with me and just learned not to save things.
    Penny, a few comments up, sounds like she has some very good advice for you. : )

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  15. My goodness dear Vee, I feel for you. After all that you have been through with losing John and then dealing with his belongings, it must be rather overwhelming for you. I understand what "he" is saying, but I also understand that with years comes a reality that might not be understood when we were younger. I echo the advice of the previous commenters to be easy on yourself and pace yourself.
    Since I am currently dealing with the contents of the last 20 years of life in this house plus some of my parent's things, I have been surprised at how much I have been able to let go. When I first met with my realtor she shared that she had lost everything but the clothes on her back in a fire. She told me that after she was able to get over the initial shock it was a bit of a relief to not have to deal with all of those sentimental items anymore. At first I couldn't quite relate, but now I am beginning to see her point.
    Good luck to you as you move through this process and also big Hugs!!

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  16. Oh, Vee...cleaning out Bill's things is about to make me ill....again...
    I gathered up a lot of his clothes to donate to the hurricane victims...but there's so much more. I just have to do it with one of the grands...or with Stacy...seems I just can't do it alone. The family tells me to go slow...it doesn't all have to be done right now...but I am ready to get it all removed..given to those that need coats, hats, boots....you and I will get it done...just in our sweet time. xoxo

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  17. Oh man - I totally understand your dilemma!!! I have been trying so hard to declutter over here. Did you know that farmers never throw anything out ...? What needs to happen is a dumpster parked in the drive for a few months (it ain't going to happen unless he goes on a long fishing trip or something). I started with my closet and did like Lavender Dreamer and stashed it in my car till I could take it to the Thrift Store. Another thing that gets me motivated is when I invite guests for dinner or for the weekend! BTW - I like your sewing room - creations are happening there. Take your sweet time and just start somewhere, anywhere and take lots of tea breaks in-between. Huge hugs.

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  18. You know you are not alone, dear Vee! Oh, my...Not alone.
    And the little by little is not only the best, but the only way to accomplish this.
    But while you are doing your little bit, do not let yourself be overwhelmed. If we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have to begin by learning to love ourselves and that includes cultivating peace and not being overwhelmed. Easier said than done, but we have every unfolding moment of the rest of our lives to work on that Peace. And we are not alone.

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  19. I can identify with funding it hard to part with sentimental things, and have been trying to pare down some. We all know we can’t take it with us...but there is a certain pleasure and ‘connectedness’ in those family treasures. There are some good suggestions here. Take it one bite at a time and don’t stress about it. BTW...I just completed a Shutterfly photo book for our eldest son of his early life (a collection of photos and memorabilia. Now so can part with all his old things I have been saving. On to son#2! But not so quick...I need a break! Take care, Vee.

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  20. We recently had to put my husbands mother in a nursing facility, long story, Vee and quite honestly, I'm just tired...we spent the day yesterday cleaning and rearranging her house...another long story...but yes, friend, yes.

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  21. YES, YES and let me throw in another YES! My house, esp my craft room started moving from that room to the hall. I have tried to pack a lot of it up to move to the shed yet the bins still sit there. Moving them to the shed requires moving them down the stairs and that is just an issue for me in itself! I just have to get the right mind set I think. I have however gotten boxes in the living room marked Goodwill, Sale, Other....and I am trying to fill them up. Good luck.

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  22. Oh Vee I think soo many of us can identify. I still have ALL of mom's things sitting out in her bedroom and bath and it's been five years already! I guess I just don't know "what" to do with it. And it's pretty and nice and so I just leave it. But it needs to be done. And I can't even let my mind go to the sewing storage items I have. I'd say 2/3 of it or even more should just be donated somewhere I guess I'll never use it. And yet I just keep bagging things up (the chests and other places I did store things in are long filled) and putting them in the closet. I MUST address this too. But!! There are several good ideas and suggestions here. The book is a wonderful idea. I also liked the 15 minute a day plan. Surely we could do that? I also think a "helper" is what I'd look in to. Maybe a grandchild or niece or someone? Meanwhile as many have said...there is no rush! Little by little it will get done. Enjoy your week-end!

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  23. Vee, I know the pain of this. My mother lived over 60 years in her Brooklyn home and she was a "saver" and sentimental to say the least. When she passed my husband and I were the ones who had to clear out her home. I found all my siblings and my grammer school notebooks, almost every Christmas card she ever received, and the mass cards from my father's funeral 42 years before, etc, etc, etc. I sorted and sorted and then made 3 poiles--keep, think about and discard. The "keeps" were heirlooms-- jewelry, family photos, family bible, a few pieces of china. The "think abouts" were basically things I sorted and donated to various charities. One charity came and took all the furniture and mattresses and books and clothes! For the discards I hired two men who happened to come by to ask if I had metal to dispose of as they were metal recyclers. They were the angels God sent me who I paid to clear out her basement (our baby crib was still there!), garage (two old washing machines were in there!) and backyard (lots of rusted lawn furniture and plastic lawn chairs) -- tons of stuff! They had a van and drove it all to a junkyard, making many trips. That process made me realize I can not to ever be attached to things. When we moved west i was relentless in clearing out stuff from my own home, and now I am trying hard not to restock...lol! Take it a little at a time and follow the suggestions everyone gave you. You will feel so much freer when it is all dione!

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  24. Not looking forward to going through our attic's contents once our house sells and is in contract. Yikes. I have this recurring thought though, if my house burned down I could still be content not having all these things. At least it would be out of my hands and I wouldn't have to make all those decisions. So thinking that way maybe I'll have more courage to just get rid of more of the stuff. Hope that makes sense. I'll also heed Pat's suggestions on the pile method... Hope you have a great weekend, Vee!

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  25. It can be difficult and overwhelming to sort through a loved ones things. Take your time, and work on a little at a time so it's not so overwhelming and don't be afraid to ask for help. It will get done :-) Good to see a post from you.... I'm getting back to blogging as well. After losing my mom so suddenly last year it's been a struggle and the end of July will be a year. Impossible to think that I've lived without her that long... Hope you have a good weekend. Take care

    Blessings,
    Jill

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  26. And you think you have nothing to write about. There is treasure here to write about for years to come. I have found it very hard to declutter the family treasures as well. I have too many closets so mine are quite full. I have trying for the last few years to sort it all out and get rid of it. I want you to blog all of it and show us the process. I saw a YouTube video a while back on a study they did of our clutter. It is one of the most interesting things I have ever seen.
    You are right though. Choose a spot to start and you will probably need to take what you decide to get rid of out the door and to donation immediately to keep from putting it back:)

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  27. And here you are! I've skimmed over the last few months and once a month catch up seems doable. I would have to start a new blog if I wanted to carry on, the old one would require a designer to fix and that costs money. Maybe one day....I do find it enjoyable to read up on your happenings and must say that even though I've purged the basement, it sure needs a lot more stuff donated. lol

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  28. I can relate...somewhat :) I have an attic to tackle with stuff collected from both my mother and mother-in-law. Too much stuff! I need to start going through it all little by little. My excuse right now is it's too hot of there to work :)

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  29. I can sure understand the burden you feel there. And I can't add to the wonderful advice you've been given by your blog friends. I can take that advice myself. But I find if I do even one little thing a day, I feel like I am making progress and it gives me a boost. I try to get rid of or deal with at least one thing a day.

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  30. Oh Vee, so so been there done that - doing that - with my basement.

    BABY steps, my friend.

    One bag of stuff tossed or donated a day. Pace yourself and allow yourself to say "thank you" to all these things, but they've served their purpose and now must go.....and you will feel lighter, freer and better each bag or box.

    I swear to you, this is truth.

    But you will stop if you do too much or look at the big picture. Remember, baby steps. Genius starting with your steps.

    Depression, grief - it manifests in cluttering ways. Hang in there. Prayers being sent up for you right now. Hugs and friendship forever. ♥

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  31. Too bad we don't live closer together. We could form a therapy group of two and discuss our decluttering woes. There are days I stand and stare at my books, not knowing where to begin. I can see I'm going to have to post about this too. I'll let you know if I follow through. Lol

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  32. As you know, I am in a very similar situation, and a good bit of it is OTHER PEOPLE'S STUFF. Not only my parents' stuff was in their home, but things that belonged to my sister, my brother, my great-aunt, both of my grandmothers, and maybe even more. My dad had a business before he and my mother were married, and years later they started a business together, so there are loads of documents that must be shredded. (We took bags and boxes of documents to one of those AARP shred-a-thons.)

    Even though I have made many, many trips to the dump and thrift stores and book drops, and given many sentimental items to grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I still have tons (probably literally) to get rid of. I do appreciate all of the suggestions given here and will be taking some of this advice myself!

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  33. Hi Vee..read reply under podso's comment.

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  34. well, never mind, it didn't post...

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  35. All I can say is that clearing out a house that housed “memoirs” of two parents, four grandparents and a brother was the most hideous thing that was ever done to my husband and me. Clearing all the stuff out in the hottest part of summer, and needing to re-live memories and the loss of those seven people broke us both physically and mentally. If family lives nearby and can clear casually...fine. But if family doesn’t live in town there’s a different kind of pressure.

    One friend puts stuff on her kitchen table and sends picture to her family with the question: Do you want any of this? If the answer is no, out it goes. If yes, she ships it to them immediately. At least that way someday everyone will know they do not want anything in the house and everything can be sold or donated immediately.

    We learned you can not just ask a charity to come get stuff. It must be boxed or bagged. And not everything will be taken. 1-800-junk costs money. A dumpster gets fill up fast too.

    Oh I wish so could whisk you back in time to spend three days with us back then. The frustration and physical hardship was enormous. How and why did they save EVERYTHING for us? I still get angry at being stuck with that miserable task while my own dad was actively dying...

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