I've never claimed to be a writer, but it's nice to have a place to put my thoughts down once in a while.


The Great Purge of 2009

I've been able to take advantage of being out of work to help get some much needed housework done.

To get an idea of the scope of work that needs to be done, I need to describe the house I live in. It is a two story, five bedroom, 3 full bath house. On the first floor we have our kitchen, a sitting room, a living room, a breakfast room, foyer, a full bathroom, a large bedroom and the master bedroom with full bath. There is a covered front porch the length of the house and on the back, a covered balcony (or lanai if we were in Hawaii), leading out to the deck, both the length of the house. The basement has a walk out patio the length of the house, which is covered by the upstairs balcony and deck. Inside there are three big bedrooms, two with walk in closets. A full bath, utility room, living room, and the original kitchen that has a sink, oven and dishwasher that do not work. We do have a small fridge and a microwave down there but rarely use it. The living room and kitchen are open. Then there's the staircase with a closet underneath.

A little background, my parents built the house when I was just a toddler. They started with the underground walk-out basement and we lived in it until I was in college. They had started to build the first floor, but for whatever reasons, never finished. Then when I was in college, they were able to finish the first floor. Hence, all the bedrooms and kitchens.

Not to mention the storage space. Both kitchens have plenty of cabinet space. The utility room is stocked with cabinets. We have 4 large bookcases (one each in the master and one of the downstairs bedrooms, and two in the downstairs hallway. Upstairs there is a broom closet and a coat closet. We have a China cabinet, a large piece of furniture called a Jackson Press, dressers, shelves, a long low bench with three large drawers, you get the idea.

In the years since, each room has evolved from its original purpose to whatever we needed it to be at the time. With all the family having such busy schedules, a touch of procrastination, the entire family being a bunch of pack rats, and storing some of my sister & her husbands stuff while they're out of the country, just about every room is jammed with boxes, totes and piles of stuff. The guys from Clean House would run screaming in terror. {Amended: I'm not sure about this statement anymore. I've seen some episodes that blew my mind}

I won't give you nightmares with stories of spiders, mildew, etc. Suffice it to say, our house needed help in the most urgent way. Plus, my youngest sister and her husband are returning from a two year mission assignment next month with their five month old. They're visiting for a few weeks before heading off to France for who knows how long. She has allergies really bad, so we wanted their visit to be enjoyable and memorable, not miserable.

So, The Great Purge of 2009 began a few weeks ago. We started in the basement going through boxes. We were purging left and right. This to the dump, keep this, sell this. We spent a week and a half in the basement. Then we had a 3 day yard sale. I think with all the stuff we had out, we could open our own flea market. I'm so proud of us! For a family of people who say, "I could use that someday" or "I love that, I can't get rid of that, " I think we did a fantastic job of letting things go. And the stuff that did not sell went to charity.

I've got to tell you about the end of our yard sale. We knew they were forecasting for thunderstorms but thought they were for later in the day. We were keeping an eye on the Weather Channel. So around 1:00 we started putting boxes under all the tables (By the way, there were two 8' tables, 15 six foot tables, two round patio tables, two kitchen tables, a four foot table, two clothes racks and two kid size tables. And every thing was still crowded and we put some things out on a couple of tarps. Good thing we have a huge yard!) About 1:30, 2:00 it started to spit a few drops so we started putting clothes in the boxes. We got all the folded clothes in boxes but the hanging stuff was still out when it really started to come down. There were four of us: me, my sister, my dad and my mom. My dad and sister disappeared right before it started pouring. So I grabbed one of the racks of clothes that was supposed to roll. It rolled alright. It rolled me to the ground. The clothes shifted and made the thing twist. I tried to catch them and wound up shoeless and on the ground. Stupid rack. About that time, my dad and sister came running out of the house to continue helping. I was grabbing armloads of hanging clothes and running them to the porch and just flinging them down and running back out. I wound up having a full fledged asthma attack. I had to stop to get my breath. It's been a long time since I had one that bad. I hope it's longer before another one. While I was trying to calm down, I looked out in the yard and saw my handicapped mother, sopping wet, slinging boxes of books under tables to try to save them. Then plopping as much as she could onto her tricked out walker and pushing it to the porch. When I finally got my breath, I got back out there. By that time the rain had slacked off and what we didn't get boxed before it hit was soaked so we could slow down. Our porch runs the length of the house. It was covered with all the boxes and clothes that we just threw up there. We pretty much left it there until Monday, then got out there and resorted and organized to get what we could salvage ready to go to charity. The next yard sale we have is going to be inside somewhere. I have to admit though, the rain felt good after three days of heat and sun.

So after the yard sale it was back to the house. During all the purging, we gathered all my mom's craft supplies into one the upstairs front bedroom (my youngest sister's, the one coming home). Keep in mind, mom has been doing some sort of craft pretty much all her life (sewing, painting, floral arrangements, woodcrafts, etc,). And she's been the crafts teacher for Vacation Bible School for as long as I can remember. Add her time in Girls Scouts and years of Sunday School teaching and, well, let's just say she could conceivably open her own crafts store. It was all in totes and boxes and plastic drawers, and shoe boxes and shopping bags. We spent three days going through it and organizing, condensing and yes, purging. We also went through everything in the bedroom. Everything is now in totes, organized and some of it is even inventoried. We're going to store it all in the downstairs hallway while The Great Purge of 2009 continues.

We're slowly making progress. We're done going through everything in the basement. We had to rip up the carpet in one of the bedrooms and the living room. We pulled up the linoleum in the hallway and a lot of the tiles in kitchen. Dad sealed those floors to prevent moisture (and the resulting mold and mildew). When things slow down, we're going to tile the living room, kitchen, utility room, and bathroom. I think new carpet is going into the bedroom. The other two bedrooms got their renovations a few years ago so they are okay. Dad has also replace some of the lighting and is going to repair some of the walls that had moisture leaking into them. Once we're done upstairs we're going to come back downstairs and go through the utility room and clean the kitchen so we can actually use it.

There is still a lot to be done. So much that we made a schedule. Some things have to be done so we can proceed with other things. We've got a week and a half to get the major stuff done. Then we can relax and enjoy our time with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.

I didn't think to take pictures of everything before we started. I wish I had if for no other reason than to remind us of what can happen if we continue living the way we did. I am definitely taking pictures once everything is completed. I've got to tell you, this has been long, hard, tough, sometimes disgusting work. But very satisfying.

I realize this post has turned into a novel. I really should write more often to prevent this. I would say that I will try to post more often. And I would have good intentions. I don't want to make promises that I can't keep though. So if you've stuck with me through all this, I thank you for reading my ramblings. I'll post the after pictures when we're done so you're faithfulness will be rewarded.

I'm off to bed now so I can get up tomorrow and continue with the Great Purge of 2009. Wish me luck!


Anonymous said...

Hey stranger, remember me, Mitzi. I knew I'd find you if I looked hard enough. Send me an email, I'd love to catch up. mitzisal@yahoo.com

Hope to hear from you soon