I have been known, on occasion, to bemoan, to anyone who will listen, the state of my house and the utter overwhelmedness that I feel when I think about trying to get it under control. We are hoarders, all five of us. We accrete clutter about us by some sort of organic and unregulated process and we are none of us good at fighting back against the tide of stuff that comes into the house and fails to find a proper home. There’s years worth of it lurking in drawers and cupboards, in boxes in the garage and around the edges of rooms. I am paralysed by it and don’t know where to start.
Today a very wonderful friend of mine who had been recently subjected to one of my despairing rants came to my place on a mission. Sally arrived just after 9:30am (and given that it’s school holidays I thought we were doing quite well to be all up and clothed by then), she came armed with boxes, demanded garbage bags and a cleaning bucket, and took charge.
Tom’s bedroom was the project for the day. Behind these cupboard doors was an avalanche waiting to happen. Sally did mention a non unreasonable fear of having everything fall on her head as we began pulling things down from the top shelf. Unfortunately I can’t show you the potential avalanche because we completely failed to take “before” photos.
The after photo looks pretty good though. That top shelf was full to the brim and there certainly wasn’t any carpet visible in the bottom of the cupboard before we began. Or much by way of clothes hanging up – they were all piled on the top of the basket drawers.
We stopped briefly for lunch and then came back to tackle the rest of the room. The desk that had previously been buried to the level of the first shelf is now useable. The bookshelves are tidy – and dusted! The drawers, which had all been chock full of randomised stuff, are organised, and in some cases empty. The floor no longer harbours traps for the unwary parent coming into a darkened room for goodnight kisses and the much neglected fishtank is actually accessible enough to make proper cleaning possible.
Over about six hours of solid work we removed from this room 3 big boxes of stuff to donate to the school fair second-hand stall and 3 and a half big garbage bags full of stuff to throw away. Sally told Tom that she would be coming to do spot-checks on his room and that he’d be fined $5 if it wasn’t tidy. When Tom got changed into his pjs tonight he was very careful to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, telling Adam that he had to or Sally would fine him, I reckon that threat might work for at least a week or two! He seems quite pleased with the results of the day’s work.
What Sally did for me today wasn’t only to provide physical help and a kick in the butt to deal with Tom’s bedroom, she’s also made me feel like I really can get through the rest of the house as well. It turns out I’m not incapable of making decisions about what to throw out and what to keep and I can put the hours in that are needed to make serious progress, even if I did fall asleep on the lounge during New Inventors earlier this evening. Mind you, I’m pretty damn sure those hours only flew by because of the fabulous company! I am humbled and grateful to have a friend such as Sally and I hope that I can be as good a friend to her and to others.
David is now very, very scared – his room is next on the hit list.
Sally even mopped my kitchen floor before she left. Now that really is above and beyond the call of friendship.