We are all in the same boat of desperately craving social in-person activities. Even something as simple as having a few people over for a party has become a sadly distant memory and yearned-for future event. Yet I don’t know about you all, but lately I’ve looked around my house and thought “it’s a good thing no one else is here to see that.”
I’m back to working from home 4 out of 5 days a week, so our dining table is once again serving as my office space. Nothing says elegance like a big monitor and a stack ‘o papers. My husband has been doing some handyman work, for us and for others, and there are regularly odd projects spread out in the living room (especially since the dining room table is N/A). Right now there’s a big recently constructed utility closet on wheels next to my sofa, waiting to be delivered to it’s real owner, and his tool bag next to his easy chair. You get the idea – our home is not exactly visitor-ready.
To add to the “don’t look now” theme, I have decided to hop on the popular trend and spend the winter tackling Project: Getting Rid Of Stuff (appropriately: GROS). Clear the clutter, do away with the piles of stuff we no longer need or use. I’m sick of looking at it all, tired of crowded closets that could be used more efficiently, and find myself occasionally gazing longingly at magazine articles showing clean minimalist homes. (P.S., that will never be me, Minimalist is NOT in my genetic makeup). Now I realize that given my, and my husband’s, tendencies toward collecting that teeter on the edge of hoarding, one big cleanout will not last. This is an activity that should happen at least every 5-10 years. But hey, we have to start somewhere, right?
Now before you get super impressed, I have thus far only managed to clean out two drawers, one cupboard and half a closet. At this rate, I’ll still be purging when the daffodils are sprouting in my garden. Which in reality is my deadline, because once my gardens are calling, all indoor projects get back-burnered.
In these first few steps I’ve already started asking myself “what were you thinking?” Like do I really think I need about 20 stained and ratty dishtowels? Am I ever going to use partially-burned and not particularly lovely scented votives? Why did I feel the need to hold on to the breast-feeding instructions from the hospital for almost 21 years? I can see there will be great mysteries uncovered, many of which I may never admit to. There will be treasures, of course, which will serve as speed bumps in the process. Baby pictures and videos, correspondence from those no longer with us, mementos from past generations – all deserve a pause and a reliving of memories. But then the decision must be made as to what to keep, and what really can be let go. I was thrilled when I came across an origami mobile made by my brother, now passed, for his then-baby nephew. That of course I will keep, as something my son can remember his Uncle by. But his baby blankets? Donate.
Even though I’ve just begun the process, I can easily see the mess will get far worse before it gets better. Right now our guest room (I decided to start from the top of the house and work down) looks like the closet exploded. Which, in a way, it has. Even walking into the room is slightly hazardous. Piles that only make sense to me are precariously leaning against each other, awaiting other items still to come off the shelves to join them in their journeys to either donation, sale, or dump. Lucky for us we have no overnight guests expected any time soon, so no one will see the mess.
The one area that will probably take the most abuse before things get better is our basement. Last on the list for the clean out, yet the area most in-need, it has already become the holding pen in the GROS process. Items awaiting new storage arrangements and other things waiting for a trip to either Goodwill or the dump, are all collecting in an already small space.
Speaking of the basement and things that should not be seen…. Like many of you, I have not been able to go to my gym in almost a year. Which means my boredom level for my home basement workouts is at an all-time low. It has gotten to the point where I am randomly selecting free workouts on YouTube to try. Over the past week or so, I’ve been choosing dance workouts. There I am, watching these 20-something fitness and dance pro’s in their designer crop T’s and leggings, moving in ways I couldn’t do even in my 20’s, while I’m clad in my typical 50-something home workout wear of yoga pants, old Tshirt and discount Avia’s, bumbling my way through their routines. Add in now the afore-mentioned recently added obstacles, and I could quite likely trip on an old toaster, tumble over a Costco pack of paper towels, or grapevine into my stationery bike. Again feeling thankful there is no hidden camera recording my activities nor my surroundings.
Perhaps I’m going about it all wrong. Maybe I should make use of the accumulating mess while it lasts and incorporate it into my workouts in a new form of circuit work. Lunge over the slow cooker, squat over the pack of toilet paper, do pushups off the old set of drawers, and lift the clothing donation box. I could call it GROS Fit. I could start a new trend.
But still…it’s a really good thing no one will see it.