Skip to main content

View Diary: Painfully Cleaning out Stuff (130 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I could have written this post (9+ / 0-)

    My husband and I weren't married as long as the two of you were, but he also thought of "cleaning" as hiding stuff away rather than sorting it out.

    I've often wondered how the urge to hoard things get started -- his mother carries it to the extreme, and from what I was told over the years it began after his father died, and he and his mother clung to things because they no longer had their father and husband around.

    When he died, I took a month off work. A great deal of that time was spent going through the basement, his home office/playroom, and his side of our large closet. Papers were recycled -- so much paper that I filled two large recycling wheeled dumpsters every week for several weeks. Binders and notebooks from work -- many in new or like-new condition -- were donated to the childrens' school. Clothing went to local charities. Some things, never used, were returned to stores. Some of his crafting items for glass beadmaking were sold to those who would enjoy them. I ended up selling enough books and craft items to cover 2 months of mortgage payments.

    Once, when he was still alive, and we were arguing about the ever-present clutter in the house, he said that he felt as though giving in to my requests for order would mean that the house wouldn't reflect any of who he was. I've found, however, that he is still present here, and that I can feature and enjoy many of his things without the mental fatigue that came upon me when faced with an avalanche of stuff.

    I didn't have to buy dental floss for over a year. I have enough folders, graph paper, and page protectors for the children and I to use forever. I sorted through his tools, and even after selling and donating what I don't need, there is enough that when the children are old enough to establish their own households, they can take some of their father's tools instead of buying new ones.

    There was also a pleasure in going through his things -- on his long business trips, apparently he liked to amuse himself by reading trashy romance novels. Why he thought I wouldn't want to know that about him I can't say, but it did give me occasion for laughing through my tears.

    It does take time to sort through everything. Giving yourself a break from it every now and then can help. I found that I could only tackle the garage a few times a year, and then when I went back to it, I found things I'd considered keeping and knew it wasn't necessary. Four years since his death, the garage is now organized.

    I'm sorry for your loss, and this comment was a bit rambling. But I do understand the mingled regret and relief that comes with making what was a shared home fit you when you're now on your own. You've got a wonderful attitude -- just throwing things away would be wasteful, and it's a good way to honor your husband's memory by getting the things you don't need into the hands of those who will value them.

    •  It certainly sounds so similar. I have certainly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, foresterbob

      areas I haven't even started yet. I don't really know much about tools, and not only do we have his tools, but the tools that came from his father's house, and they were considerable. I did try to at least put them in one (or two or three) places when he was still alive, and we put all the rusty ones in a bag. I was able to freecycle those because they were good tools, and I'm glad someone can clean and use them.

      Speaking of dental floss and dental tape, I found a couple desk drawers full, so yes, we won't ever have to buy any either.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site