One way to approach the spring cleaning challenge.
Spring is inevitable. Despite fluctuating temperatures, the signs are all around – budding trees, greening grass, that light that seems to bring everything into sharper focus, including the cobwebs on our shutters and the streaks of dirt on the windows. Looking out on our wrap-around porch with some anticipation, I couldn’t help but notice that the porch pillars were a strange shade of gray rather than beige. Yep, it’s spring, when thoughts turn to …dirt and clutter.
Some people love the invigorating process of reclaiming their space and cleaning the dickens out of it as the months grow sweet and warm. I have to admit that I’m not one of them. It’s not that I wouldn’t love a home that is only filled with essentials, perfectly ordered. The reality is a little different. On the surface, our home looks passably neat, but woe to the person that has the temerity to open a drawer or closet (if they can successfully accomplish even that feat). My hidden areas are jumbles of chaotic contents that defy organization. Occasionally, I labor over an area and reap the benefits for a few weeks before the inevitable clutter creep.
Maybe I need to think bigger; what happens in my drawers plays out in epic proportions in our basement. Years of military moves, packing, and storing excess has exploded, as we were forced to take delivery of multiple lots that were the result of sequential shedding as we moved from a rental home to a small base house, then to language school for a year and finally to Turkey. I have to say I was thrilled with being down to a quarter of our stuff while we were overseas, but seriously depressed when the process reversed itself
In all of this, I do have one bright memory in my long thankless battle with clutter, the week I actually rented a dumpster. When we left our rental home to move to a small house on base, we traded in a two car garage for a one car carport. The problem was that our two car garage didn’t house a single automobile, but was filled to the gills with the stuff that didn’t fit into our rather large home. It was so bad that I admonished my husband and children for even opening the garage door, not willing to expose our excess to the neighbors. Unfortunately, much of it wasn’t even charity worthy, but nicely qualified as trash. I had seen dumpsters at offices and construction areas, why not? Finding the cost reasonable enough, I had our trash company deliver a small dumpster to our driveway one spring morning. It seemed huge; there was no way we would fill it. The first object sacrificed to its cavernous hull was a broken sun umbrella; it landed with a loud echoing thud. The next offerings were tentative; a little here and a little there. I began to warm to the process. Pretty soon, the contents of our garage were transferring rapidly to the blue metal container. With every deposit, I could feel myself growing lighter. By the time the three days were up, I had filled it to the brim and was still trying to fit more into every nook and cranny. On schedule, the company took it and the contents we had eagerly contributed away. It was a beautiful spring day. I could hear the birds singing.