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As I promised, I would post another piece on how this is going. We were concentrating on books, alas we needed to empty a closet and make room for my grandmother’s dishes. And it helped that we had to change a fire sprinkler and had to move a table we use to paint miniatures. So…cabinets I could barely reach were suddenly within reach.

I spent two days going over those and mostly took the contents to Goodwill. As I wrote before, I know the whole industry has issues. However, we need to be cognizant of the stuff we keep out of the trash stream. So now the cups, plates and tea set that were my grandmother’s are safely in their own cabinet.

When we put the table back…we accidentally placed it further away from those cabinets. This is good. Because now I can reach the rest of the cabinets that need clearing. Which brings me next to this.

I have a pretty bad gluten allergy. Celiacs, gluten allergy it’s the same exact treatment. This means avoiding bread, cakes and other sweet treats full of gluten. So, yes, we could make this gluten-free at home. I even have the baking book as well. However, we have found good purveyors of the stuff at the local farmer’s market. And to be honest, since my tooth infection, I have lost my taste for sweet stuff. So really, no need.

I have not baked, except bread for my husband, in years. So we decided that somebody else who bakes can use that stuff. My mom bought it for us when we came to the United States, but she did bake, extremely well in fact. She was also from a generation when women were expected to do that, often. So, of course, we needed to have the tools, not that we mostly ever did. So they have gathered dust for decades. It’s time…

And as we went through another closet we needed to make space to move stuff we were keeping, we found some old boxes at the end of it full of stuff we have not seen in decades. So what needed to be shredded, has, and what can be given away will. The rest, some are recycled, what can’t, off to the trash. It’s actually easy and strangely satisfying.

Before I mostly started I took photos on the advice of the experts. I have been taking photos as the process moves on. I can definitively see progress, and it’s easier when I see the mess that was. I highly recommend you do the same as you start to tackle a similar project. We rarely realize just how cluttered things are, until we start comparing photos. And let us be honest, our phones have decent cameras that we can use to record this. It is not like you need to go take the photos to be developed, and get more clutter!

I will create a folder in my cloud photos and transfer all of this in sequential order. Why? You guessed it, helps to see progress, but also helps to set a future standard. In time I may even go, ok, time to share with the world.

I also have set an hour a day, at least, to do this. If I do not keep it in the schedule, it will never be done. So an hour a day, sometimes more is what it is. Yesterday my husband and I spent a few hours getting some of this done. In the evening we sat down and watched a movie on the tv. That was nice.

We all tell ourselves stories that justify our collective messes. One of them is that modern society produces too much crap. This is partially true. However, having ten bottles to use for water is our choice. Sometimes it is simply we forgot we had them, which happens to be my reality. Sometimes people who are well-meaning give them to us. Partially true as well. At times companies give these things away. They are cheap promotional products. Two of our gym bottles stem from this. We are keeping those since they are used at the gym.

It is our responsibility to wean things out. So we are. We chose to keep a few of the bottles. There are a couple of collapsible ones I got and I will start using them more often for daily life. I like the collapsible part, where they can just go into the backpack after they are empty. And I need to remember to take my coffee cups to the coffee shop. I keep forgetting and lord knows I own a few. In fact, too many, so you guessed it…many of those mugs are going.

The reward to us is that we are finally seeing some sense of order emerging from the deep disorder. That is satisfying in its own way. It is also nice to decide what things to keep, treasures for sure, while we throw out a lot of trash, or as my dad used to say, shmattes.

Now as we do this, there are a couple of things that will need to happen. The tablecloth I put on the table NEEDS a wash. It is the table I use to put things before I pack them in bags to take to Goodwill. Those things, whether they are shirts, old baking goods, glasses we no longer care for, or books, ARE DUSTY. So the white tablecloth is starting to look gray. That’s ok. Take the stuff we want off it and wash it. Needs to be done, or dust will become dust bunnies.

Incidentally, it is surprising how fast those bunnies form and reproduce. They are everywhere. So off they go with the dusting. This also means that the dusting cloths are getting a workout. And the furniture is getting deep cleaning.

There is something else. Dust collects. And we all tend to go nose blind. The stuffy smell that many homes have is also coming from these dust bunnies. As they get removed, my sneezing is going, and the house has a different smell. And I am doing something that I used not to do. Open the damn window for at least fifteen minutes as well.

Of course, in between all this, I need to put in the vacuuming and all that. Why? Well, as we move stuff around, dust…

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