It sounds like your friend's situation is sucking you into that swamp of sadness, somewhat. Be of good cheer! Have a cuppa from the teas you have sorted and rediscovered in your cupboard. Look out at some growing plants in your garden. Refresh your spirit.
Your friend's situation is not YOUR situation. You have your own home and life to look after. Her experience has alarmed you and worried you. BUT you are being supportive to her as best you can - and it is good to have insights, wherever they come - eg about the 'enabler' idea - I am aware of enabling MYSELF all the time (am supposed to be doing something quite different now, not reading and posting here) - if we were all all aware, all of the time, we'd all be the Dalai Lama!
Keep posting, step back from that sticky swamp, regards, Lizzie
Went over to help my friend for several hours today. The shock of everything has finally caught up with them, poor thing, so it took quite a bit of effort on my part to be as upbeat and helpful as possible. And there were spiders, spiders, spiders skittering everywhere in the kitchen -- black widows. Erg! That said, significant progress has been made. My friend is working so desperately hard. There are rooms in the home that are so cleared out of stuff that I scarcely recognize them, even after all these years. It's like a different place altogether.
When I got home, I decided I was tired of cleaning indoors and worked on clearing my garden of all the broken pots and planters. This took an additional two hours, and then I surprised myself by making (and cleaning up) a full taco dinner with home-made guacamole.
Now I'm off for a good bath and hopefully a full night's rest.
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos." -- Stephen Sondheim
Still plugging away. I'm torn between coming here and discussing progress versus using that time to MAKE progress.
The downstairs is now looking quite presentable, and the upstairs nearly so. Between Mr. Artax and myself, it has taken a month of hard work to clear everything out, with nearly no time for leisure -- even on the weekends. There are still a few pockets of resistance, but I would no longer cringe if someone poked their head in the door. I'm also happy to report that I've been able to maintain the areas that are now clean/organized -- so far. I've just started up the index card system* from the book, Sidetracked Home Executives by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, and it seems to be a great way to augment the system I've already been using the past few weeks; namely the "Morning Routine" checklist I mentioned earlier in this thread.
That said, the basement, the garage, all the closets and my studio still contain much larger caches of stuff. Mostly emotional/sentimental/I've-no-idea-where-this-goes stuff. I'm guessing it will take longer to get through all of these items...
My friend is making a lot of progress, as well. I've been able to come over at least once a week, and to provide some financial assistance. That said, it's so overwhelming. They told me last night that they've been finding boxes that their long-deceased grandmother had stashed away. In other words, this behavior goes way back. It does in my family, as well, but at least I'm not living in the same house for several generations. It just doesn't seem fair.
Well, off to start my routine. After I'm finished, I'm looking forward to sampling the new tea I got yesterday (I actually RAN OUT of a box! This rarely happened before I rid the cabinet of all the old, dusty, tasteless teas.)
Thanks Bizzy -- Sometime it feels like progress; other times it feels like I've been decluttering/cleaning forever (even though it's only been weeks).
Still going strong, despite having to pull an all-nighter for a work deadline this week.
We're going to actually steam-clean the carpet in four rooms tomorrow. It's funny, but the areas that were perpetually covered by bags and boxes of stuff are not in that bad of a shape, but the "high-traffic" routes are a vastly different story. Hard to believe it was all brand new just a decade ago...
We spent a good part of yesterday cleaning out the dreaded garage.
It's funny, but I thought it would take days, if not weeks to make it functional again. Truth is, I was recalling all the times my parents had tackled their garages (we moved a lot) and each time it was a drawn-out disaster drama.
All in all, our own mess was cleared in just a few hours of concentrated, intense effort.
Before the Great Garage Clean Out of 2012, we were still able to keep the cars in it, but just barely. It was a real challenge to get in and out, as there was nearly no room for a pathway to the door. You had to squeeeeze past the two cars and delicately hop and side-step to get in. Worst of all, it was getting to the point where I didn't want to use the garage for the cars any more. I mean, I grew up with garages being storage spaces, so why should my home be any different?
Because I want a better life, that's why.
So we backed the cars out, got some trash bags, a super-big recycling bin, brooms/dustpans and a shop-vac and went at it.
A good part of it was trash, as well as hundreds of garden pots, random tools and scrap wood. Needless to say, there was a lot of evidence that the local spider and mouse population had set up shop, as it was a warm, undisturbed sort of place with plenty of places to stay over the winter.
We set up several categories for things on the driveway: trash, recycling, car, large tools, small tools, painting/staining, and garden/houseplants. We worked as a team, moving clockwise from the entrance. I would sort and move the lighter items, Mr. Artax would sort his items and move the heavier items, and then as I moved on he would suck up the debris left behind with the shop-vac. We both wore face masks, gloves and ear plugs, so it made for some rather comical conversations.
"Wha'd ya say??"
"I ASKED IF YOU KNEW WHAT THIS GOES TO?"
"You whisked Effie's new whumpus hose through?"
A few neighbors waved as they walked past, saying what a nice day it was.
"It's a good day for spring cleaning!" I'd reply -- probably a bit too loudly.
At the end of it, we were filthy and tired, but the garage is no longer the junky, leaf and sawdust strewn place it was just 24 hours ago.
Post by phoenixcat on Apr 15, 2012 10:18:57 GMT -5
Woo - hoo! Last year, my mom and I had to do that at her house after my father passed away. The garage was his domain and a magnet of everything "that could be useful one day". It took a lot longer than a day but "oh what a feeling" when it was done.
I'm guessing that you keep going there to look at it! ;D
Congrats - it is amazing how much lighter you feel when you accomplish one dreaded area especially if it wasn't as painful as you thought!
Take Care PC
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans - John Lennon
If man could be crossed with a cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat. - Mark Twain
“The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” - Elise Boulding
Thanks, Phoenixcat -- You're right on the money. Every time I go out there, I'm still in disbelief.
Getting geared up for working on the basement again.
A few weeks ago I grouped most of the items into like piles and labelled them with large paper signs I then affixed with tape to some wire hoops from the garden.
There are currently 17 categories:
Boxes Styrofoam/peanuts/bubble wrap Jars/containers Pantry Camping/First Aid Books Computers Gardening Holiday decor/wrapping paper Pets Exercise/sporting equipment Toys/Games Beds (there are two beds; a futon and a waterbed) Linens Business supplies Cleaning supplies (ah, the irony!) Donation
The last category has gradually gotten smaller, as I've been dropping off things every few days at a local charity. As I go through the other piles, I will undoubtedly transfer some more items to this pile to be donated.
I'm secretly hoping that I'll be able to go through these items as quickly as the garage went, but at the same time I know that it will most likely not be finished in one weekend. Partly because there's so much more stuff, but also partly because a lot of it belongs to Mr. Artax, and like me he can be oddly reluctant to let go of things. In his case, it's books, electronics, and boxes.
He has this idea that we should save every box that comes with an important item (usually electronic or appliance related) in the off chance that we will use the boxes when and if we ever need to move. The likelihood of us moving anytime in the next ten or even five years is quite low; so this need to store so many boxes WITH their styrofoam inserts might not be in our best interest, as they have now become a cardboard condominium complex for spiders.
That said, I've saved so many "useful" jars and plastic containers and gardening supplies that I, too, will be challenged to let most of them go this weekend.
We'll see how it goes...
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos." -- Stephen Sondheim
What, didn't you iron it??? LOL I can remember as a kid being allowed to iron the Christmas wrapping paper, we had some favorite bits we used from year to year, gradually they got smaller as they wore out.
I remember the fancy Japanese wrapping paper which was very cheap - costs a fortune to buy an A4 size piece now, for scrapbooking etc. We are talking 50 years ago.
Personally I recently SHREDDED my tissue paper collection, and put the shreds (which looked very pretty) into a bag to use for packing parcels. So there's no hope for some of us, haha
Perhaps you could re-frame your experience as a two hour PLAY with pretty coloured paper.
I knew the basement was going to be a challenge, and I was right.
You know you're struggling with hoarding tendencies when you spend TWO SOLID HOURS sorting, uncrumpling and carefully re-folding various colors and patterns of tissue paper.
Used tissue paper.
The kind that comes with gift bags.
That's all I have to say about the situation.
Until I read the Squalor Survivors site, I didn't know there was anything unusual about doing that.
You're not on your Lone Ranger, not by a long shot. And maybe that sentence was so Australian-ese that it won't make sense to you It just means - ohhhhhh yeahhhh..... tissue paper and wrapping paper..... I hear ya
I think that recovery doesn't mean that you'll never get caught up in folding the tissue paper. I think it means that you stop it - when you're ready - then you move forward. One step at a time
Last Edit: Apr 23, 2012 5:29:25 GMT -5 by Sunshine
*~*~* It's gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiney day. *~*~*
Lizzie -- It was a tradition in my family to re-use wrappings and bows, as well. We didn't iron our paper, though. (Thanks for giving me the idea...haha)
Sunshine -- "Not on your Lone Ranger" is a new one to me. I like it.
So much still to do in the basement, but one can tell at glance that we made some significant progress over the weekend.
The most difficult area emotionally, I think, was the surplus of toys and games I've bought for children of friends and family, so that when they (hypothetically) visit they'd have something to play with. A good reason, of course, but when I'm brutally honest with myself I know these toys also represent something deeper -- the desperate hope that one day, by some miracle, Mr. Artax and I will have children of our own -- and this is a place of sadness I've been trying to fill with things.
Yep. This de-squaloring is a rough mental business...