Monday, July 15, 2013

I Want A Do-Over!

Ever just want a do-over? Go back and erase something bone-headed you did? I used to think I'd like to go back and not break my wrist into a million pieces resulting in six surgeries, eleven years of chronic pain, and a wrist that is now fused. But I don't think that's a good idea. (And I probably have seen too many time-travel movies...) Maybe who I am would radically change – maybe going through all that adversity has profoundly shaped my personality for good instead of for bad. (I've always thought of it as a bad event.) Maybe I'll pick a simpler do-over.

I think I'd like to move into my house again. Almost 13 years ago we came from a 760 square foot house into this 1700 square foot ranch with a (weirdly) finished basement almost the same size. We unpacked. Well, mostly. I still have my antique Swedish chest that I've never unpacked, which every time I think of it, I wonder what's in there that I haven't missed in 13 years. I suspect nick-nacks. Not that these thoughts ever lead to actual unpacking.

I don't know how it happened (though I have some suspicions) but our house is overflowing with clutter and the basement, well, let's call it semi-inhabitable. Where you can walk. I'd like to move in again and THROW AWAY A LOT OF CRAP and then make a NO CRAP ALLOWED rule. A place for everything and everything in its place.

I'd also like each member of the family to put their own stuff away, instead of piling it up in places it doesn't belong. Any flat surface that I manage to clear off, instantly sucks in clutter again. I've seriously found that if I DON'T clean off a spot, it can't gather MORE clutter because it would be too precariously perched, so it stays in a relatively stable state of stasis.

Here's a typical example. Boy orders game from Amazon. Boy unpacks game. Boy leaves packaging, receipt, knife, and cellophane on kitchen table. Husband does minor fix-it job. Leaves electrical tape, scissors, and two screw drivers on kitchen table. I'm trying to set table for dinner. First I have to put away all that crap, then I can proceed. (But at least I found a pair of scissors! Those seem to just vanish into thin air...) Ask them to put it away you say? The fix-it stuff would end up on what's supposed to be my telephone table: pad of paper, basket of pens and pencils, and my coupon basket. What's there now? An assortment of tools, glues, and car parts.

Yeah, I said car parts. We have, as many of you know, several (OK, five) old cars. They require maintenance. Car parts come in the mail. Repeat scenario from game coming in mail in above paragraph. Put car part on little table in kitchen. “It's not worth putting it in the garage, I'm about to install it!” Yeah, like, um, next week. Meanwhile, it gets to live in my kitchen?? I don't get it.


I'm fighting an uphill battle. We're all pack-rats. There's one person who feebly, at times, tries to un-pack-rat, but it's such a hopeless endeavor that she usually gives up and goes to procrastiknit. Wouldn't you? Or would you ask for a do-over?

~Tina

21 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Isn't is scary how fast we can fill an empty house?
About once a year we go through and unload a ton of useless stuff. It's kind of liberating.

Jenny said...

Are you secretly living in my house?

Our kitchen table is like a sandbar. It's amazing what washes up there every three minutes!

J.L. Murphey said...

LOL A do over button who the retention of why you are doing it over would be a good thing.

D.G. Hudson said...

When we last moved out of a large house which accommodated an inlaw suite, we managed to fill a junk removal truck 3/4 full of things we couldn't use anymore. Much of it (furniture, kids toys, dishes) was recycled as my MIL was in a care home at that time.

Moving into the smaller new place (downsizing as kids moved out)we still had to purge some of the remainder. I called it 'discard frenzy' which happens when you move. With a family or any more than two people, it is amazing what can be accumulated. (not to hoarding extremes, but still. . .)

Remind the family of the chefs' rule: 'mise en place' - everything in its place.

Graciewilde said...

It is very liberating to go through and get rid of stuff - the trick is to avoid gathering more useless stuff.
When our kids were young , we had "the green basket" in our house. If someone left their stuff out - like clothes, art supplies, books, games - anyone could put the items in the green basket. Once in the green basket, the items stayed there until the weekend - and then if they were not retrieved and put away by noon on Saturday, they went to GOodwill or the trash. At least it got them in the habit of putting stuff away!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm putting off sorting out the cupboard under the stairs...

P V Ariel said...

Hi, Tina, Good to see you back to square one. Thank God, you are back with a bang, Keep going. Keep posting the pending ones. Few weeks less attention at home created a big clutter! Don,t worry clutters are part and parcel of our life, give attention to your health Madam. Get well soon, i read it in another post. NO CANCER! Thank God. Our prayers continued Tina, Take Care. :-)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

you read my mind... i am in the doghouse today and today my job is to clean it. sad thing it is not my stuff, so i am just moving it all around.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Time to start chucking. We had to empty one room to convert it to a bedroom for foster kids ten years ago. It was amazing what we got rid of, because it wasn't just the contents of the room, but the rest of the house as we made room for the displaced items we were keeping.

That room is now my office again. And it's the fullest room in the house. I have no idea what happened.

Andrew Leon said...

It wouldn't matter. We threw away so much stuff when we moved and gave away tons more, and flat surfaces still fill up faster than I can blink.

Brian Miller said...

ah it happens so easy...little by little...we just did a big clean and dump...prep for the yard sale...it takes constant diligence....

Lucy said...

I so feel your frustration. I am getting ready to tackle our family room and back room area, ugh. I just don't even want to do it AND YET, I know it is needed because well, it is needed and soon we will be attempting to put the house on the market and well you know the list goes on and on. So,yep, I feel for ya!

Lucy from Lucy's Reality

Alison Sommer said...

What is it about kitchens that makes them such magnets for junk? My husband looks annoyed every time I complain about the clutter on the kitchen island so half the time I clean up what I can and just shove his crap to one side, and this ends up leading to a counter full of just his stuff, which he then avoids even more. *sigh* it's a vicious cycle.

JoJo said...

I don't think men know how to throw anything away. It's in their genes or DNA.

Jo said...

Thank God we are both pretty neat and tidy, I couldn't bear what you talk about. I would take a bin into the kitchen and announce everything was going to be thrown away unless the owner put it in the correct place. Discipline is the word.

Tammy Theriault said...

YES I WOULD!! but realistically i am where i am for a reason...just please shake the 8 ball and let's ask a question!

Maggie Winter said...

I have a similar pair, not sure who is worse hubby or son,bad as each I suspect, and they can never find anything. It's in the DNA for sure. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I might even learn to knit and learn to enjoy those cookery programmes - either way my brain would mush!

I hate mess - my own is awful .. but c'est la vie - at least it's mine.

You are obviously 'better' ie up and about and fighting .. or thinking about it perhaps - easier to back off .. knit and 'relax' ..??

Cheers Hilary

Carol Kilgore said...

One of us is a pack rat. Clutter makes the other one of us crazy. Pack Rat leaves a trail of receipts and little pieces of paper everywhere. And the infamous Amazon wrappings. Pack Rat is currently involved in a project that has turned our wonderful patio into a workshop. He's happier than a pig in...well, you know. I want my patio back. After all, there's a patio party in the future :)

criticalcrass said...

oh, i would drive you bonkers. my car? things go in it, but they rarely go out. mucking it out means depositing all of the trash into a plastic bag and relegating the rest to the trunk. washing it means mucking it out and then relegating the things in the trunk to my room. and once they're in my room? HAH. they stay. until i get the overwhelming urge to clean my room (like twice a year at best).

Silvia Villalobos said...

Very frustrating indeed. I still have unpacked boxes from eight years ago. I know what you mean.
As to going back in time ... I think we have to experience some adversity in order to grow and be in a better place. But, yeah, sometimes it feel like too much. Better days are ahead!