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A clean(er) start

Posted Jan 06 2013 8:47am

The sound of one broom sweeping

Been cleaning my basement and garage since the holidays. Got a good start, a few days before New Years, and now the work continues. It’s hard to believe how much stuff has accumulated — some of it for no apparent reason. It’s also hard to believe how easy it is to make a little bit of stuff look like a lot – just because it’s not organized very well.

I’ve been working my way through the basement, most of all. The garage has a bunch of stuff that needs to go away, and I don’t have money for a junk person right now – that will have to wait for Spring. For the basement, there’s a lot I can do – I just need to be smarter about it, and see where everything fits. It’s dirty and dusty and needs to be cleaned out – dirty work, for sure. But the end result is space to work and move and repair and invent (I’m back at working on some shop projects again, which is really great – very therapeutic).

And who knows – by the time the month is up, I might even have those shelves up — I bought the brackets and wood about 10 years ago, and I was meaning to put up the shelves. But a couple of years went by… and then I fell… and everything fell apart. Now I’m back in the swing of things, collecting my tools and organizing everything and discovering stuff I bought back when, but completely forgot about. Now I can do something with them.

This feels really good. I’m getting parts of my life back, bit by bit. Getting organized. Getting collected. Making more room.

Room to breathe.

It’s funny, how clutter just sucks the life out of me. It’s not like I’m a neat freak or anything, but having to figure out where things are and where I put things and what goes where… it’s a real time sink. It’s a drain. It’s hard enough, sometimes, just dealing with things in an ideal situation, but when I add the work of looking through stuff, trying to find things I’ve misplaced, trying to remember where such-and-such is… it just takes a lot of energy and attention that I could be using for other things.

But this is how it’s become for me. Something happened to me after my fall in 2004, where all of a sudden, nothing really made much sense to me. And I couldn’t figure out how to organize stuff. I would just put things down and walk away… hope for the best…. or just forget about it. Literally. I have found Christmas presents from prior years that I completely forgot I’d received. And some of them would have come in handy, during that window in time when I’d forgotten about them.  Other things, I have — somewhere — and I know they’re there… but I have no idea where they are… which is a bummer, because I could really use them.

Oh, well… I will get there. I don’t know what it is about this year — maybe the whole “world is gonna end” business gave me the sense that I/we got a second chance, and now I want to make the most of it — but I really want to put things in order this year. I’m starting off strong, too — getting things together that have been languishing in disarray for far too long. And making space for myself to move and work and think.

Eventually I will have to work on the rest of the house, as well. It’s not awful, but it’s not the way I want it to be. My study is in disarray. My downstairs living space is full of piles of paper and various items that have nowhere official to “live”. It’s not dirty, but it’s cluttered in places, and I want to do something about that. There is a lot to be done, and what I wouldn’t give for a month (or two) off to just clean and organize. But for now, I’ll make do with what I have.

Speaking of which, it’s time to finish my coffee and head downstairs – to get my life back.


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