Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning

“Come spring
You can find me rolling in fields
That are exploding in
Holy battles

Of scents, of sounds—everything is
A brilliant colored nova on a stem.”
- Hafiz

Spring cleaning is at least spring something, right? Now I don’t want to say anything bad about hoarders, but… Oops, just did. So I might as well.

It’s not like I’ve been denial about the hoarders I live with. But this seriously surpassed my worst-case scenarios by several orders of magnitude. Ok, there is no reason for a reasonable person to keep empty househould appliance boxes. But empty blisterpaks trump empty blender boxes, my friend. Thankfully, I have a friend with a pickup truck and some strong helpers. She even brought me boxes!

A lifetime of greeting cards filling two big filing boxes. Three generations of photographs filling approx 6 big filing cartons, but spread out into rubber-banded bundles stuffed absolutely everywhere. And a carton of tin film canisters for movie film, plus cameras, splicing supplies and snippets of film. Another carton of obsolete cameras. Some of the kitchen household products like corn starch are suitable to grace an “Antique” (sic) store kitchen filled with obsolete kitchen crap. Several decorative oil lamps in addition to an appalling number of even more appalling ceramic figurines about which the less said the better. (I've said too much).

Tech Support Guy: Some of the cameras are worth a lot.
Weeping Sore: Not to me. The 78 rpm records? The LPs?
TSG: (Crickets)

There was a DAV Auxiliary rulebook from 1934. But the logic of keeping this must have been the update from 1959. Drawer after drawer of junk drawers. Anybody a Firesign Theater fan? Remember the game show where the contestant, handed her prize, complained loudly "Why this is a bag of shit?" The announcer said, "But it's GOOD shit" which the shit in these drawers is not.

New rule: no household may have any more than one single junk drawer, preferably in the kitchen. Corollary: no saving broken crayons, unused yellowing address books, calendars for 1983, broken screw drivers. And for god’s sake – no empty packages for household products that were then stored separately and never used. That’s not three rules by the way, it’s a compound Junk Drawer Rule worthy of this situation.

To date Tech Support Guy has mailed 8 big cartons of primo crap to family members, like a small sample of the lifetime’s worth of mothers day cards and including the photos I’d put into albums years ago until I realized the Stygian nature of this effort. There are five large cartons on the closet shelf of loose photographs in no particular order for TSG to review. Fat chance: medical science has conclusively proven hoarding is an inheritable disorder. I've left several notes among my cartons of my own crap apologizing to my descendants.

But it's not all old stuff. Some stuff is from my lifetime. To date I’ve emptied over a dozen large garbage cans of ordinary crap – dragging the laden cans down the hill and the empty ones back up. We have 5 garbage cans and only three lids, but that’s another story). And it’s been raining. And you don’t want to get on of those red tags stuck to an overloaded can full of water soaked greeting cards so all your neighbors can see you don’t have an experienced gardener to take care of these chores. (Then there’s the recycle bin full of empty wine bottles: yet another story.)

The frickin’ ray of sunshine to brighten my life is having an up-to-date reference if I step on a tetnus-infected needle amid the clutter. Yeah. 1933. That, and knowing that ALL of the drawers are now empty. The boxes are almost all packed up. The pickup comes tomorrow for the rest of the boxes and much of the furniture. And this just in: my marmalade not only gelled, it kicks ass!

So, in case I was in denial about the hoarders before, I have been rolling around in a dusty closet amid overstuffed boxes about to explode, and I have seen the light from brilliant colored novas in packing boxes. Close enough, Hafiz?


Martha in Michigan said...

I am so happy for you! Maybe I will even be inspired to start trashing the closets full of 1980s science fair projects -- I don't think they're coming back for them!

colleen said...

Oh, this was exemplar! Need to show it to my mother.