Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. ~Phyllis Diller~
Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance? ~Phyllis Diller~
I like to think I keep a pretty clean house. I have real issues with having dirty dishes or dirty floors around me so those I might even over clean. But for a few weeks now I haven't been cleaning UP the house. I have been cleaning OUT the house. Believe me there is a huge difference. And in My case I haven't cleaned out the house since I moved here so It was way passed time.
In a little less than a Month I will have been living here for sixteen years. I moved here a single Mom with three kids and a spare. George was My oldest son's best friend and needed a place to live and he chose us. We allowed him to stay. Dave joined us two years after that along with David and Jennifer. We all enjoyed life here and almost never ruined anything. The kids took great care of their toys and we found out that you can pack a lot of stuff into small closets. Dresser drawers hold almost more stuff than you can imagine too. Boxes built from scrap lumber can be stacked to hold even more great old stuff. Un-used suitcases under the bed.. Wow.. Lets fill those with every one's baby clothes and even Anthony's first Cowboy boots. Emily's first patent leather shoes have a shelf of their own. Cooper's sheriffs uniform made from "Aunt Ruby's" real one couldn't be gotten rid of. He might want that for his own son one day.
David and Jennifer's first report cards after we married and All the school papers they brought home that year fill a desk drawer. Reports they worked so hard on and booklets they made for school fill another. Tiny teeth paid for with quarters and dimes fill a prince Albert tobacco can. They were hidden behind those tiny shoes of Emily's. Cigars from I guess every birth in the family have a cigar box all of their own to stay hidden inside. Some say Girl, Some say Boy! The box was Daddy's I have to keep that. I bet you are beginning to understand why I needed to clean OUT the house.
Cleaning OUT means carefully opening boxes and drawers that haven't been disturbed in a while. It means digging through old papers and photo's and baskets and files. It means looking over old car titles.. A couple who's matching car has long since been junked... and divorce papers... Both his and mine and we could maybe need those one day so back they go.. together this time though in one file marked old documents. I did whittle those files all down to one. So much room in that drawer now I was able to move some other things into it.. It's hard really to let some things be shredded when you have held on to them so long.. But those things will make great mulch and after all. I'm Cleaning OUT the house!
Beginning in My own room and Bathroom I cleaned cabinets and dressers and closets and shelves. I looked at everything in old jewelry boxes and tin cans and baskets. I emptied the suitcases from under the beds. Any clothes that I hadn't worn in the last 6 months went to the "outta here" pile. I tried to get rid of about half of what was on every shelf. About a third of the way through I got to thinking that somebody somewhere might could use some of my old junk.. I sent for boxes.. I was now cleaning out the house and planning for a yard sale... Now I had three things going on.. Cleaning out the house.. bagging all the pure trash and washing and dusting anything that might be worth a quarter. I had linens and blankets we never use any more. I had ear rings and bracelets and candles too. I swept the dirt from every crack and crevice and dusted with lemon scented polish. I spent well over a week in mine and Dave's two personal rooms.
Moving on to the Kitchen and dining rooms I have finally declared myself to be half done. It has not been an easy task. I have way to much stuff. I have way to many collections. Tea sets and shot glasses and dolls. Lots and lots and lots of dolls. Bottles and antique Coffee pots and books. Many, many Books! But I have surprised myself. I have thought over a few things; debating with myself; but in the end I really have got rid of a lot of things that were just taking up space here.
I have boxes and Boxes of stuff to sell and bags and bags of trash. I have lots more room on the shelves and even an empty drawer or two in a dresser here and there. I still have baby clothes and cigars and a couple of pairs of tiny shoes. They get to stay this time.. They have their own space for now. Trophy's and drawings have a new space as well. All those "pre-us" photo's have been divided and one day will be dispersed between the five children. Each of them have stuff here that I don't have the heart to throw away. I really hope that one day I can pass some of this clutter on to them. And hopefully I will then smile and think of all the years I held it in trust for them only to see it tossed away the very first time they Clean Out their House!!
Material things can be important because of who they belonged to or what they represent but in the end they are just things. My loving memories of our lives here will always be with me even if I threw away everything. I will enjoy the new look of a little less stuff. And if I know me..... I'll find some new stuff to save. Mason's school work already hangs on my fridge and he has toys and games here too. I love to make doll clothes for Maya so that requires thread and crochet hooks and new dolls that match the ones she has.. I think I saved a drawer each for their stuff.
I have three rooms to go. I have declared this to be a no cleaning week. I am looking the remaining rooms over each day. I am deciding what I can live with out. I am imagining being done. I am seeing things in a new light. I can imagine them sitting on the table outside with a quarter price tag and not shudder. I am on a roll now.. I AM Cleaning OUT the house!
Live simply when you can. Remember that things are never More important than the memories they represent .. Have a great Day!