Spring “Sob” Cleaning

I’m a pack rat. I have plastic containers full of items—some tiny, some even broken—that I keep for nostalgic reasons. But spring is here and that means I really need to do some cleaning.

I have clothes in my closet I haven’t been able to fit into for decades, but there they are, taking up room on my hangars. Why? Because they’re still good, or the dress belonged to my mother, or it was the dress I wore to my daughter’s wedding. My favorite excuse is, “I used to love that outfit. How can I part with it?” Okay, it’s three sizes too small, but…but…

I feel physical pain when I look at all the geegaws I’ve accumulated over the years. Little plaques with sayings, lapel pins, old pairs of glasses, erasers in funny shapes, embroidered handkerchiefs—all were given to me, or belonged to a family member, or whatever. I have lots of excuses.

I won’t even start on the kitchen where I have two Cuisinards I don’t use, plus a Bullet with a full set of glasses, lots of crystal bowls and silver-plated trays and bowls, badly in need of polish, I will never use again.

Does this sound a bit overwhelming? It does to me. That’s why I’ve never tackled it. But I’ve decided to start by first determining who might want a bag of Amazon gift bags, a bag of unused Christmas greeting cards, and a big cardboard box full of old jewelry, used clothing, and whatever else I force myself to part with. Surely I can donate some of it.

Then there are the books—three eight-foot bookcases full. Those are less of a problem because I just joined my local Friends of the Library and they are always looking for used books. The rare ones are already designated for appropriate historical societies, and my parents’ yearbooks will go to my nieces.

So there you have it. A sad story of a woman who really, really needs to start culling the stuff in the closets. I haven’t psyched myself up yet to part with my treasures, but I’m determined to start. How about cleaning out the gift-wrapping bags—all four of them? Yes? Surely, there’s nothing in there that has a memory attached.

I haven’t even mentioned the tools, bolts, nails, odd pieces of wood, hasps, etc. my husband has in the garage.

But that’s another story.

PS: I write kissing books. You can find me here:

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9 thoughts on “Spring “Sob” Cleaning”

  1. You can donate old glasses to the Lions Club and they recycle them, old pill bottles, sheets, towels, blankets are always needed by local vets for pet meds and bedding. Women’s shelters might be interested in old clothes and kitchen appliances. Contact your local DAR and see what they are collecting. I am always collecting something to be reused and recycled. Don’t forget you have a SIL who loves to polish silverplate and silver. DAR will also take old stamps from cards and letters. Schools will often take old jewelry for craft projects. Remember one woman’s trash is another’s treasure.

  2. Pam, did you ever read Berenstain Bears books to your kids? “The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room” shows the only true solution. I say this because Mama Bear taught me how to show my Advanced Hoarder Kid what to do.

    Although, sad to say, I just checked and that scene doesn’t show up in the “look inside” on Amazon.

    Anyway, Mama Bear has finally had it with her kids’ procrastinating and chaotic mess, so she grabs a box, stomps into the kids’ room glaring, and starts chucking random articles in the box at a mad rate.

    I always felt (and occasionally still feel, tho the kid is 46 and still has every one of her stuffed animals) very motivated by that scene…

    In other words, I hear ya! It’s tough. Happy spring, Pam.

    • My hubs used to do that to the kids when they repeatedly refused to clean their rooms. Seeing the box usually made them spring into action. I think I read the bears books, but it’s been ages ago.

  3. I agree with your cleaning strategy. I’m sure your children wouldn’t want to deal with a mess right? Donate all the books you can, otherwise one of your kids could use them as fire starter.
    Just kidding of course we love you mom.

  4. I rarely comment on these things but I find it a relief to discard/donate/share stuff I’ll never use/read again. Clothes, after Dave died went to an organization that dressed less well off people looking for jobs when they are helped with resumes and how to dress for interviews. There are women’s shelters where they escape their homes with only the clothes on their backs. I always feel relieved to downsize all the stuff I’ve collected and honestly don’t miss all the sentimental stuff except for a few family items that mean something special to me or my kids. Just let that stuff go. Your kids will dread dealing with it after you are gone. I’ve dealt with that stuff when parents pass on and it is a burden to deal with. You will feel good about it after the initial ugh! Love you, Pam!

    • I’m definitely starting to get the picture. A shelter was high on my list. I’ll find one. Nice to hear from you, Helen. I think of you when I turn on my bedside lamp with a unique shade I made during a beach get-together.

  5. I was recently @ Ilse & Roy’s. Thier caregiver gave me a tour to parts of the house I didn’t know existed (5-6,00 sq. feet?). It looks like they just left for the day and will return @ any time. Which is a problem, isn’t it? I truly have sympathy for their kids who have to sort out what is priceless and what is landfill. At least Roy seemed to have left notes on the porcelain.


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