When we moved in 2018 it was a chaotic rush. We found out in September that the house we were living in that we had agreed to buy wasn’t being sold to us for the price we had agreed upon. Instead of getting angry, we got focused & so we switched gears and started househunting. In the end we found the perfect house for us with a closing date of December.
During this time, it became clear that the surgery I had didn’t completely cure my mobility problems. My arms were tingling and my gait was still bad. My neurosurgeon ordered an MRI, discovered everything was fine with the surgical site and referred me back to the neurologist for more tests. Of course, we were packing, we both had stressful full-time jobs and two young children to take care of. It was a miserable time for us. Did I mention our closing date was less than two weeks before Christmas? So we just threw everything into boxes, shoved it into the rental container and when we moved it was just shoved it into the basement. We could deal with it at the new house when we had more time, right?
A month after we moved I received the startling diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease – Primary Lateral Sclerosis. My life came to a sudden halt. Nothing seemed more important than traveling and spending time with my family. We focused on other things.
It’s been three years since we’ve moved though, I have stabilized and may have plateaued. The craziness of tests, doctor’s appointments, and paperwork for disability has passed. I am now medically retired and Mr. Tucker and I have a plan for the future. All’s well that…well, is at least stable.
Despite having a family room down in the basement the stairs are steep and difficult for me to navigate. Recently though, Mr. Tucker put up the second bannister so I could get up-and-down easier from the basement, so it made sense to make the effort to get down there more. As I went down to the workshop I noticed how disorganized it was and he admitted that this room gave him so much anxiety that he just ignored it. So we made a commitment to inventory the freezers & pantry items and go through some of the junk.
Sunday afternoon we grabbed the kids, headed downstairs and did just that.
As with most things, just starting it was half the battle. The floor was just covered in boxes, wrappers and other packaging from purchases and once we got rid of that, it came down to what we wanted to throw away, donate, or keep. We set up some space for gardening supplies, another space for household goods, and we tidied our boxes of baking supplies & gift wrap/bags. Everything now has a place and some items will go off to new homes. Our old party supplies gave us the gift of a multitude of napkins and paper plates from parties past that we will use at future get-togethers (I mean, no one said no to a piece of cake just because it was on a Tinkerbell plate). The mismatched paper napkins I brought upstairs & we can use them now.
In the end, it only took the four of us a couple of hours to tackle the space & I think Mr. Tucker was happy that he wasn’t the only one on the hook to clean it all. Of course, we have a small storage area for seasonal stuff and old baby clothes that I need to rummage through but that won’t take too long, either. It just needs to be started. Once we pull it all out, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.
I think what has saved us is that a> we’ve never been shoppers; and, b> we’ve never been hoarders. While I will admit that I am a notoriously disorganized person in my everyday life, I do tend to get it together a few times a year and clear out swaths of space. Having said that, I am no minimalist and I like a bit of messiness to my space. Mr. Tucker and I started off in a 530sq foot space, landed into a 1200sq foot space for the first 9 years of raising our family. We’ve never owned a lot of stuff and our last home was partially furnished so we had to actually buy a few things. Now our new home is a mid-century bungalow that has 1300sq feet – and a family room, office space, laundry and some storage in the basement. It’s partially finished so I would say it has another 600sq feet of livable space. While the family room is large, there is almost nothing in it. How much space is open? Well the Sprout uses it to roller skate every day, so enough space that she can do that.
Still, if you don’t keep on top of stuff it gets out of hand, especially if it is “out of sight, out of mind.” But I don’t want to be one of those people who dies and leaves their kids 1900sq feet of junk to haul out to the dump. I would rather sell/donate/trash items as we go along. As we are working on organizing our lives it only makes sense to start with the clutter. Better late than never!