I blogged about “to declutter or not to declutter, that is the question.” I came to the conclusion that I must declutter. I threw out NINE bags of books that were OLD, worn, torn and just out-of-date. I could not tell. It did not make a difference. I still do not have any extra shelf space.
I had the gardener trim and deadhead the perennials in the front yard. The garden does not look any less full. I am on a diet. I still cannot shed a pound. I donated all the clothes in my closet that I have not worn in the last two years. I still do not have any extra hangers, nor do I have any extra hanging space. So, what have I accomplished? In addition, I have gone back to old hobbies – writing and drawing. Now I have piles of projects—some I am finishing off, like my book, others that are I am in the middle of, like two children’s book I am working on, some I am collecting as ideas. In addition, I became interested in ancestry.com. I met a second cousin I never knew existed and now I have two folders — one for my paternal ancestors and one for my maternal ones. My husband, who is a history guy, saw my collection of photos and articles and he became interested. Now we are making a folder for his ancestors. My grandson is in kindergarten and he has already created lots of drawings and a few samples of writing that my daughter simply must keep but has no space, and so we are now collecting his work. My granddaughter, who is two, has the “What am I chopped liver?” attitude, so we are now collecting her work.
My plan was to retire and SIMPLIFY.
Is life complicated or is it just me?
I made the mistake of going without my cleaning lady. I came home with a top of the line Lindenhaus vacuum. It was very powerful and you did not need to switch to clean floors and carpet. It has two types of brushes and it looked simple to use. True, it was big and a little clunky but you did not have to switch heads. I called my cleaning lady to show her what I thought was the next best thing to a robotic vacuum. Her face sank. She was clearly unhappy. She told me she wanted a Miele. I went back to the store and the fabulous owner exchanged the brand new Lindenhaus model for the tried and true Miele. My cleaning lady THANKED ME and was so happy. It was priceless, really. “Who cleans?” she said: “Me or you?”
I left NYC years ago to raise my daughter in the suburbs. I thought a backyard and some more space would be better than the chaotic rush- rush of the city. My adult daughter has settled in the city, chose to live in a 2 bedroom coop with two kids – a boy and a girl, and is sending my grandson to one of the most crowded public school in NYC. There are over 1,100 students in the elementary school. She has managed to find a community of friends, near a playground and park, and is staying put. And all these years, I held out in the suburbs hoping she would settle near us but secretly longing to be back in the city myself. I want to be able to walk to a Starbucks, hop a train, and go to Broadway. And yet, here I am, stuck in the burbs because I cannot afford the city. My daughter is stuck in the city because she cannot afford a decent home in the suburbs. Can anyone explain this?
Kick, Scream, Laugh, Cry, Stretch & Kvetch WITH ME! Book will be available on Amazon and Kindle in 4-5 weeks!
The thing that got me started thinking about my “stuff” was a conversation I had with a complete stranger while we were standing on line at the Marriott in Birmingham, AL. I was there visiting my step children. Out of the blue, the woman in front of me on the line for breakfast omelets started telling me that she was in Birmingham to clean out her mother’s estate. She could not believe how much stuff she had to go through. She said she wished that her mother had given her a manual full of stories because she could not fathom the reason behind the items. What did they mean to her mother? To her they were just junk. She could not make heads or tails out of the clutter and she did not have the time to go through all of it. She had to get back to Texas to work.
When we got home, I looked around my tiny beach cottage home. I saw all the paintings that no one will be able to store even if they wanted to. I saw my furniture through the eyes of my daughter and step children. I have Ethan Allen traditional pieces alongside garage sale chic. Every item has a story. But who had time to tell the story and who had time to listen?
And besides, the adult kids all want West Elm. They aren’t interest in our stuff.