Thursday, July 10, 2008

When the universe speaks.

I moved to California hauling a lot of boxes still unopened from at least two previous purges of epic proportions. Sound at all familiar?
When I read these sentences, my somewhat-interested-but-mostly-surfing attention shifted to full-bore. Now, this is something I can relate to all too well. We probably all can. David and I are currently dealing with exactly that issue, having unloaded the storage unit (mostly into the middle of the great room and the garage), all the while telling ourselves and each other that we would honestly-truly-this-time-i-mean-it empty out the garage as well and go through all the stuff that seems to be taking over and get a grip on it all. We mean well. We just don't really have a whole lot of time and frankly, the whole prospect is no small amount intimidating. A lot of the stuff that is hanging about is stuff that we (confession, here) have no idea what to do with but are afraid to throw away. Again, the review seemed to know my deepest secret, and addresed it spot-on: "For me, this is about the opposite of organizing; it means disinterring every sarcophagus of crap in my house and, item by item, evaluating whether it's making my family's life better today. And if some heirloom really is precious to me, can I find a better home for it than a shelf in the back of my garage?" (emphasis added)

Things that we are actually interested in keeping include books, camping and sports equipment, and legal documents (which are actually buried somewhere but should be more centrally located). I think if we focused on just these catagories, we would be able to make a drastic dent in the ScaryBoxesOfStuff. And I know that we all have dumb attachments to things that are simply around forever, including dad's old ball glove, or the pictures from the 80's, neither of which will (if we are lucky) ever see the light of day again.

I'm not saying that I'm going to go buy another book and thereby a) add to the stuff i have while b) delightfully distracting myself from the uncool chore in front of me (reading versus cleaning it all up is not really a hard choice for me). Instead, I'm reading the review and taking the whole of it as a gentle nudge from the Universe that I am on the right path and not to give up.

So far we have gotten most of the stuff out of the great room. Not all of it has a home yet, but perfection is not the goal. As of now, Ethan has two functioning bookcases where he had one, and -- better still -- all of his stuff is up off the floor and has homes where he can more easily manage it all. Yay team. We swapped the too-wide bookcase in the dining nook for the too-narrow one in the great room, and overall I'm pretty pleased with the results. There is a reference shelf, and the other books that are being put up have a sense to their placement, which was pretty much lacking overall.

There are still stacks of books that don't have homes quite yet. There are boxes and furniture in the garage (which we can't park in). There are piles of clothes I haven't seen in two years, let alone worn. The time has come, and we are doing it as a family. I like it.

The goal is to have the public areas functional and the private areas neat by the time school starts for the boys: August 25. While we are in what feels like the very beginning of the summer, the reality is that the first day of school is only forty-five days away. That breaks down to 6.4 days per room (not including the garage, which I would like to park in at some point).

Tonight's Big Chore: going through all those clothes. I'll be surprised if I keep so much as a tenth.