Monday, September 14, 2015

Light 2015: "The Hard Stuff"

It's possible that I've lost track a bit of what my original Light resolution (revolution?) has been about this year. I wanted to keep the word in the forefront of my mind, to remind myself what I'm trying to achieve here. (Hint: Being scattered is not as fun as you'd think it would be. I only look like I'd be organized.)

But hey, life is what you make it, and so are words.

Since my grandfather passed away in June, my family has been dealing with some hard stuff. Well, sadness and all that, but also trying to dismantle a house that has 65 years worth of accumulation inside.

Example: These meal rations (for emergencies,
I guess) that had been stored in a bedroom closet
since 1983. Yeah, these went in the trash.

Add to that the fact my grandparents are Depression babies and never threw anything away, and you can sort of start to see the mass and scope of the thing.

Side note: my grandmother is doing really well, you guys, in her apartment at the local assisted living complex. She's busy with exercise class, lunch dates, friends who pop by and the endless card games -- sometimes, she's the teacher. Not that she's happy. Just that she's busy and it's keeping her mind occupied with something other than the fact that the partner she's had for 73 years is missing.

But she's decided it's time to sell the house, and that's causing a bit of a scramble. Eric and the girls and I spent Saturday helping get ready for a garage sale, a sort of last ditch effort to clean out what hasn't already been claimed by family, taken to the Goodwill, or just dumped.

There's not a lot of options. I think about that every single time I go to the store now: If I buy this, how will I get rid of it?

Anyway, all this cleaning (and, to be honest, this weekend was the first time I'd even helped; that chore has fallen to my mother and The Aunts, and to some of my cousins. Those guys all deserve a huge medal) and thinking and ... just the physical and emotional toll of it all, you know what I mean? ... has made me want to go through my house again.

That was kind of a long introduction to get to the point, but I suppose if you're reading a blog called Pointless Ramble, that's kind of on you. ;)

Basically my mantra this month is Just One Thing. Each day, I try to get to one area of the house and separate the wheat from the chaff: The abundance of hats, gloves and coats in the coat closet (that was actually a pretty focused cleanup), my bathroom drawers (how does a minimalist acquire so many sample sizes?), or just the random places in the house where things accumulate because we don't know what to do with them (read: the laundry room, a cupboard in the bedroom, the extra closet in Abby's room, my reading retreat).

Sometimes it's more about cleaning than cleaning out, but you know what? It keeps me off my ass when I get home from work (exhausted ... why is sitting at a computer all day so tiring?!) and it also keeps me off the internets (a pleasant, if not pointless, time suck). And if my house is lighter and roomier because of it, then so be it.

I love light and roomy!

So that's what I've been up to, even though my mother is pretty sure I don't have anything left to get rid of.  I heard a couple of times on Saturday that I'm "smart" for being a minimalist, but I think it's more that minimalism is smart. We pay for stuff so much longer than just that initial store transaction (or however it is you acquire it). Sometimes, 65 years later. That's a huge burden. And one hell of a motivator.

P.S. I'm purposely sticking to my own areas or to communal areas because I'm a believer in leading by example, not by tyranny. Because you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it clean its room.

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