Sunday, June 9, 2013

If God Doesn't Make No Junk, How Come My House Was Full of It?

I've heard it said that to make room for new in your life, you must get rid of the old. Well, if that's true, I've got a whole lot of new coming my way.

Remember that show Clean Sweep, where the crew would completely clean out 2 rooms of a home, redesign, redecorate, and re-enter only those items absolutely necessary to the space? Well, imagine doing that to 14 rooms plus a garage and an attic. And all the stuff has to re-enter half as many, smaller rooms. Sound impossible? Well, it nearly was. In fact, the process is currently ongoing, so I'll let you know if it can actually be done.

I always wondered why the homeowners in the Clean Sweep episodes cried at the finished product. Now I know why. Downsizing is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Imagine looking at every little tiny thing in your dwelling and making a decision as to whether or not it is important enough to make the cut. Every postage stamp, kid art, wine glass, candle, blanket, and even pet must be considered. The bottom line is that I've made more decisions in the last 2 months than I have in the rest of my living years put together. I can only hope I made the right ones. In the end, the overwhelming conclusion is that I have too much stuff. We all have too much stuff. And when the place you put the stuff in is too big, you have stuff you don't even know you have. For example:

The fact that we could never find a pair of scissors for any of those Sunday night projects that the kids had 3 weeks to do, but put it off until the night before resulted in the purchase of 8 pairs of scissors that would one-by-one disappear into the 7 junk drawers located throughout our 5 bedrooms and 3 baths.

The fact that we could also never find sharpies, pencils, colored pencils, and pens during those panicked moments resulted in 2 shoe boxes FULL of writing utensils moved to the new place. We should never be at a loss for pens again. No junk drawers here.

Not sure how this one happened, but I think it has something to do with the excessively tall kitchen cabinets in the old place and my 5'3" frame. Three unopened bags of flour made the move. Now I know I like to bake, but three? Geesh! Before I started packing, I didn't know I had even one!

And finally--two laundry baskets full of socks--and not the fancy schmancy $15 socks that all the 14yr old boys are wearing now. We're talking men's tube socks from the ex-husband who left like 5 years ago, socks with holes, socks with no elastic, funky mismatched socks, and a few matching, decent running socks thrown in. Really? Who in the world needs all those socks? By the way, just so you know I'm not a complete crazy hoarder, the socks did not make the cut!

As telling as the emptying of the junk drawers and pantry is, I don't think that's why the Clean Sweep homeowners cried. I think it was the letting go of the emotional burden that brought on the tears. Hanging on to the possibility of finding that matching sock and the knowledge of the existence of scissors you can't seem to get your hands on is emotionally burdensome. It's like hanging on to the possibility that your past heartaches were only in your imagination. Sweeping clean a house that holds the memories of a lifetime, choosing the ones that make the cut, that you will carry with you into the future, purges not only junk drawers in the home, but also in the heart. And it makes room for something new.


  1. I wish you knew how much I relate to this. Letting go of our "family" home after the divorce was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But at the same time, it was cleansing! Thanks for sharing an experience that is so familiar to me!

  2. Kisa, So glad you could relate to it. Thank you for letting me know. It's good to know we're all in this together!

  3. Been there, done that. We moved 4 times in 2 years after the divorce, never having enough time to purge the things no longer needed. I still have things stored in the machine shed at the farm. Books and photos, especially...if they aren't damaged by now. Have I moved on? Mostly, but things from 'past lives' still manage to intrude at the oddest moments. It DOES get better though. MUCH better. :)