Have you ever wished that you could just start over? You know, perhaps with little to nothing in regards to housewares or stuff? Just like a blank slate kind of deal where you move into your house and you don’t have anything to put in it yet.
You know, when you first move out of your parent’s place and you have literally nothing but the clothes on your ass and the shit your folks didn’t want that was once cluttering up their basement, in the hopes that perhaps you might leave their abode. Things like holey sheets and towels from the 1970s boasting brown and yellow foliage, or how about the old pots and pans you banged on with the exact same wooden spoons when you were a very tiny human. You know what I mean, you have absolutely nothing, not even a can opener.
Ah, the good old days, where you knew you had nothing when you went to have your very first breakfast in your very first place and you didn’t even have the basics, like a bloody toaster. Oh yes, I remember these days well! Attempting to toast bread that you speared with an old, bent fork, straight outta the 1800s from your mom (who got it from her mom, who got it from her mother), held over the electric coil burner of your very first stove and ended up with burnt bread that you managed to torch to charcoal which set off the smoke detectors (it used to take a lot more smoke to set off the old ones, not like the kind we have today). Ah yes, that kind of empty.
Longing for empty spaces
Yeah, I’ve been reminiscing about all that emptiness as of late and sort of wishing I could go back in time. I think what it all boils down to is that there are 4 nearly grown humans that reside within these 4 walls and everyone expects one person (that’s me) to maintain the house and tame the hoard. The problem with that is, the maid (me again) wants to just throw everything into a pile in the backyard (let’s be honest and say there may be multiple piles) and burn it all…now that’d get the fire department to my door in a hurry. The other issue at hand here is, I don’t particularly enjoy living in a throwaway society…so much so that I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong era.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue donating and tossing much of what I have, but I feel so guilty sometimes when I do. It’s not like I’m hanging on to a ton of stuff and hoarding it either, it’s just that when I actually see what we’re getting rid of, it blows my mind how much shit we’ve accumulated, especially since Clem and I had the girls. Where the hell did all of this come from?
I swear, there has to be some kind of shit hauling elves visiting my home in the middle of the night, gotta be. I have no other explanation for this and can only assume that we have an infestation of some kind. Do I need to seal off some holes somewhere or something? Hmmm, holes…as in gaps…perhaps we’re trying to fill a gap of some kind, with all this stuff?
I used to be driven
A few years after having Caelan, Clem and I tried to have a third child but we were unsuccessful. I’d decided to keep all of the baby stuff, toys and all, in the hopes of using it again for another little human we so desperately wanted, but as you can imagine, with 2 other children who also had a lot of stuff our house became a little over full (at 1,400 sq. ft., it doesn’t take much). If memory serves me right, we stopped trying when Caelan was halfway through kindergarten, and that’s when I finally unloaded all of our baby gear and purged our house. It felt good and the house was somewhat manageable…despite the insane amount of toys our kids had.
I found that every month or so after that, I’d go through the kid’s clothes and get rid of the raggedy or ill-fitting items and give my brother what Caelan had outgrown for his eldest daughter at the time. I’d save Lola’s clothes for Caelan where I could but was always purging as needed, especially the clothes. Man, was I ever ambitious!
Once Caelan had cancer, I didn’t have the time nor the energy to purge again, until after she finished treatment and I literally ripped everything apart and restructured the kids’ rooms. Since then, I have purged much of my craft stuff when and where I could and any kitchen stuff I no longer use, but the kids haven’t done a thorough purge in a while. Actually, not true, I did Caelan’s room a few months ago but you’d never know it by looking at it. I’ve taken most of the shit from Lola’s room and placed it in the basement but she still hasn’t gone through anything…try exercising around that pile and survive…I dare ya!
Ugh, I gotta gitter done
So, I guess that it’s all up to me now and really, I just don’t feel like I have the energy to do it. The problem with that is, Clem and I want to sell our existing home and in order to do that, we need to get our house into show shape. And what does show shape mean exactly? Well, people want to see a spotless minimalist’s home when they walk through your door, regardless of what’s going on in your life.
You can tell me that people don’t, but I know better. I experienced this many years ago when we tried to sell our previous home when the girls were very young, and people commented on the toys we had and expected the house to look like a bloody palace, sans children. It was a nightmare…a 6-month nightmare in fact, of having to constantly clean so that people could walk into my house to use the bathroom for a piss and to throw their Mickey D’s garbage into my trash can…true story.
How do I know this? Well, when you get a call to be out of the house for a showing in less than 30 minutes around 9 p.m. and you yank your kids out of the house in their pajamas and park down the street so you can get back in at your earliest convenience, you know that when they emerge after 5 minutes they weren’t really interested in your house to begin with. That, and the Mickey D’s bags that were hauled in but not out (they were thrown into our garbage can) and the fresh hand towels that you’d neatly set out were wet from someone washing their hands (the toilet lid would also be left up after I’d put them all down)…at least they washed their hands I guess, but still, were the telltale signs that they weren’t truly interested in buying our home.
I’m just saying, it happens
Yes, these were realtors and their clients sometimes, who needed a piss stop on their journey. I’d tell you more about the things I’d discovered, like the time a realtor held an open house at our home and I found my underwear drawer thoroughly picked through, but I’d probably have you convinced to never sell your home. Not everyone was like this, but there were some sketchy folks in the mix.
Boy, I’m starting to talk myself out of selling. Anyway, all nightmares aside, my current task at hand is to remove the clutter and make it appear like our house isn’t a fully functioning home and I don’t have any idea where to start. Clem said he’d help but really it’s the girls that need to be involved. I can already say that there will be an issue because Caelan has difficulty getting rid of things, especially when someone purchased something for her during her cancer journey…wish me luck.
Last week, our realtor called and asked if we had any photos of our house and I said we had none worth showing because we had things on the counters or whatever. It spurred me to consider just tidying each room and removing most of the things in it, just to have some show-worthy photos but after taking 3 hours just to get to that stage in my bedroom, I knew that this was going to be a huge job for just me. After I took the photos, I thought damn, I wanna live there, but after I put everything back, I wondered why it couldn’t be a bit neater all the time.
We have all kinds of stuff
Do we really need all of this stuff? I can honestly say that we don’t. Just because the kids made it or we feel inclined to keep it so as not to offend someone but never use it, why? Why are we doing this to ourselves?
We’re drowning in stuff. I know, I quilt and I make shit, but everything I have, has a place and I use it, but much of the stuff that’s been sitting in the basement, untouched from the kids’ rooms from a few weeks ago, why keep it? They haven’t gone down to retrieve any of it and refuse to go through it, so why do I need to store it?
Same with all of the extra old pillows. I have nowhere to put company, so why keep the pillows? I know that we’re hoping to have a place that has an extra room potentially for this, but right now, I don’t. Not only that, these pillows are old and fucked flat…who wants to sleep on a firm pancake?
Minimalists, what’s that? Contestants on Naked and Afraid?
I admit, the first time I’d heard the term minimalist, I instantly thought of near-naked people living in the bush, wearing nothing but fig leaves and palm fronds (which would obviously be insane in this climate and I don’t think we have either of these types of exotic foliage within our forested areas) and eating nothing but twigs and leaves…you thought I was gonna say berries…didn’t you (they’re probably poisonous here…just FYI)? Yeah, I’ve admitted before and I will again, I ain’t that sophisticated. What? I just thought it pertained to minimalist clothing…you have to admit, it could be taken that way…couldn’t it?
Honestly, the thought of minimalism scared the shit out of me because I actually thought about situations much like what we’ve just gone through with this pandemic and not having sufficient food to survive at least a week or 2 without access to a store. We always have a hoard of shit paper and I honestly couldn’t believe that people bought turd papers once a week and only once a week. Yeah, Clem enjoys stockpiling certain items and ass napkins are definitely one of those…good job Clem!
Anyway, my brother DJ and his wife Rae are minimalists, and I kind of think they’re on to something…maybe not to the extremes they go sometimes, but you know maybe halfway there. They throw everything away. And I mean everything. Even you, if you sit in their house long enough…yeah, no joke!
Motivation, motivation, motivation
It was so bad at first, Clem and I didn’t want to buy them or their kids anything. We knew it’d all hit the trash the instant it hit the door and didn’t want to waste time or money on things that were just going to be tossed the moment they were unwrapped. Yes, it’s exactly how you think it is. Imagine sitting in the living room on Christmas morn, and you watch them unwrap each gift and ooh and ahh over it for a few seconds, and then they just toss it into a huge box destined for donation. Yup, bare minimalists I’d say.
I used to laugh and poke fun at my brother, but perhaps I need to take a page from his book, especially right now. At the very least, this house would be a helluva lot easier to maintain. Way, way easier to maintain, no doubt, but can a chronic hobbyist really become a minimalist? I guess I’ll find out.
It’s pretty clear what needs to be done. I just need a little motivation to get going. Maybe I should hit the grocery store and pick up some hotdogs and marshmallows to ignite some excitement in regards to a certain bonfire that I should plan for…who doesn’t enjoy a good fire? I know I do. Better yet, I’ll put some beer on ice and cue up the fire department on speed dial…hmmm, I’m sort of feeling a little inspired now…I just hope everyone in the neighborhood has fire insurance…