Friday, August 8, 2008


Let me begin this post with apologies to Mom, for bringing up her Biz. There's a point to it, and I promise you don't come out as the bad guy.

But here's the thing. Ever since high school, my brother and sisters and I have been trying hard to help her get rid of some of her "junk" that seems to pile up all around her house. We're always telling her to throw stuff out, and asking her to ask herself "Do I love it?" (thanks Oprah).

She's getting really good at it, actually. Or at least, I thought she was, until I went into one of the basement bedrooms to assess the pre-move-in workload I should prepare for, and I found out where EVERYTHING went. And I do mean EVERYTHING. If you're missing a shoe, it might be in here. Is the FBI still looking for Jimmy Hoffa? I'm just saying...

And you've never seen more candle holders in your life, I swear.

"Mo-OM!...." followed by a lot of exasperated sighs. Oh, you bet I laid down the exasperated sigh.

Because, seriously, you don't need this many blankets. The ARMY doesn't need this many blankets. And do you even KNOW what this is? A clay salad bowl with clay salad in it? Really??

So Bub and I start cleaning out some of the drawers and I get a big ol' trash bag and John Wayne-waddle in, thinking I'm about ready to get my Conquer on, and the bag is only half full before I start thinking, "Ugh, this is hard" and "Hey, maybe we DO need this many blankets. You just never know, right?"

Hmmm, is that the taste of empathy? But it's such a bitter addition to the Arrogance Soup I've been mixing up for years!

Oprah's always so concerned for the hoarders of America, and I have to admit that I totally get all "Ewwww junk" when I see the kind of stuff people keep around, but I really don't think people understand how hard it is to clean out years and years and YEARS of collections, memories, gifts, and once-very-useful and loved items.

When you obtain something, you automatically classify it in your brain. The oven mitts you bought at the dollar store go in the Useful, but not Loved brain folder. The oven mitts you're grandma knitted go in the Loved, but not Useful brain folder. Now you have two pairs of oven mitts, both something that someone else might call "junk" but you know better, because you're the one who classified them, and even if you go out and pick out a pair of Loved and Useful oven mitts, it's really hard to go back and redo all the brain stuff, and call the other stuff "junk", even when you KNOW it's junk. it's kind of overwhelming.

So Mom, I think I'm starting to get it. I won't throw anything else away, unless you need me to. If you want, I'll box it up for the time that we need to use that closet, and then I'll put it all back the way you left it. I'm sorry for being judgey. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go hide under one of your blankets for a little while, and have a nice, big bowl of soup. Eat it up, Renee.


mrsmouthy said...

I know--my dad built an entire barn to keep all his extra stuff in! He retired a couple years ago with the plan to spend his ENTIRE RETIREMENT going through it, but I'm pretty sure he's just building more shelves for it. Maybe another barn, too.

Oo, and let me know if your mom doesn't want that clay salad. That sounds AWESOME!!

eric said...

Our mothers are the opposite in this respect. My mom's hobby is throwing stuff away. If you left it on the counter, it would be thrown away. Mail, soda, money, babies. Anything.

Ern said...

Oh, mothers... My mom is getting really good at throwing things out. We had a garage sale last year and actually got rid of some stuff.. and I gave ELEVEN bags of stuff to the Good Will when I came home from Denver... And, I'd like to add that E's mom is really, really, really bad about hoarding. It hasn't really crept into her house, but she has TWO two-car garages filled with stuff, including outfits of E's she plans on dressing our non-existent children in. There's no way I'm putting a 30-plus year old outfit that's been sitting in a humid, florida-ey garage on my nonexistent child. It's a work in progress. At least you can empathize with her mom... but possibly declutter just a tad.