Tuesday, January 25, 2011

“For Every Minute Spent in Organizing, an Hour is Earned

Have you ever faced a garage full, and I mean FULL, of your own “stuff” -stacked way over your head? It’s quite a feeling, and not a good one! I had our garage in Minot filled halfway up the walls in rows with all the belongings of a family of five, and from fifty something years of living. I was overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed! I will never forget that feeling!

One of the saddest things to have ever happened to our family was when Sydney was stalked and chased around Minot by some jealous, crazy girls. You really don’t want to get me started about girl bullying because that could be the longest blog you ever read! I will write about it sometime but I get really emotional still and have to be in the right place to even go there mentally. I am an advocate for bullying laws, they are finally coming up with some in North Dakota. After about a year of harassment up in ND, we were coming here to Phoenix for Jennie’s wedding, and my sister Marcy said, “why don’t you stay with us, and let her finish here”. She is so much happier here where there are a lot of pretty, popular, successful girls, rather than the few low life girls are jealous of.  That’s how I came to live in Phoenix.

 We were going to sell the Minot house, so Kerry hauled everything from that house out to the house at the farm. I didn’t want him to throw anything just pack it up. Mom’s house was full upstairs and down when he got done!

When I’d go up to ND for visits, I would go to the farm and the house looked like a hoarders house on TV. Just paths where you could walk. I felt horrible the house was like that, Mom was always a neat housekeeper. Part of the beginning of my depression was the “what the heck are we doing, staying or going, selling or keeping"? After we decided we’d be staying and Kerry couldn’t transfer here without losing his seniority there...that was really a mind bender as to what to do.

Mom’s house bulged like that for a few years. Laying in my new bed alone here in Phoenix, I was scared at first. I later got so depressed and numb after people started telling me where I belonged and acting disapproving about my being here, that I didn’t feel anything! In between listening to sirens or helicopters looking for criminals at night(which was totally foreign to me, and wondering if the new friends Sydney was with were good kids, I’d worry about the material things I knew I had there in Mom‘s house. I wondered if the house had been, or would be broken into, and someone would take my precious “stuff”.

It wasn’t the big things I worried about… but the sentimental things like all of Sydneys’ dance trophies, Brendons’ Kiss memorabilia, Shelbeys’ sound system, my collection of Hallmark ornaments I have collected with the kids for years. I didn’t know if I was staying here or how long so I only hauled down here what I really needed and would fit in one trailer load.

Finally in 2010, Shelbey and her teacher friend Cheryl, said they’d fly up and help us clean out Mom’s house. They did thank God because Kerry and I alone, could not have gotten all that done without them. They had to go back to Phoenix and I was going to have a garage sale and get rid most of the stuff, I knew that. It was a huge relief to finally be rid of the guilt of crapping up Mom’s house with my stuff ( even though its our house now, its still Mom’s house!) Mom passed away a few years earlier and hadn’t lived out there since 1994 but I don’t know its just home to everyone and I didn’t like feeling like I’d messed it all up. So Kerry, Shelbey, Cheryl and I rented a 26’ Budget truck and hauled two full loads of stuff back to Minot. Kerry grudgingly participated, because he’d hauled it there, now only to haul it back, and he hates parting with anything. We had to stack it half way up the walls and way over our heads to get all that in the garage!

In the house in Minot, the garage sits lower than the main floor, so when you step out onto the step in the garage, you overlook it. The first couple days that all that stuff was in the garage, I did the new car thing all day! You know when you get a new car, you open the garage door just to look at it several times a day? Or when you redo a room, you stick your head in there several times a day just to look at it. I did that, except this was not a happy thought but a “ oh my gosh, how am I going to clean this up now”! I was having surgery in a couple weeks to fix my bladder so it should have been done yesterday, before I couldn't lift anything after the surgery. I have allergies to dust and mold so every time I got out in it I coughed and coughed! Coughing and bladder don’t belong in the same sentence by the way.

Making myself sound even worse after the last blog, besides being lazy, I am not an organizer. You know how some people can compartmentalize things mentally, and physically be organized and actually think its fun? Not me, I stand there overwhelmed, and anxious because I don’t know where to start and coughing from the musty smell!
Kathy came down and she brought her pitchfork….no I’m kidding about that, but she helped me start and helped me finish. Thank God for her help! Things hadn’t changed much since we were kids, she’d call me and say lets work out there in your garage today and I’d say well ok…if you drag me out there…ha, ha.

For days we worked out there and started having the sales in the driveway. Kathy handled all the people out front, while I kept going through all the buried treasure. Kerry would come out every so often, check how much money we’d made and take a couple of his things off the sale. I guess he’s having his own, or something, not sure. Every day there was a little less in the garage. What didn’t sell we donated at the end of the day every day.

The point of todays blog is to ask you when I ask myself, how much stuff do I need to be happy? At some point it actually takes away from your happiness. I have just a few things that I really hang on to and value now. I gave my kids all their papers and report cards and things I saved for them over the years. These days with digital cameras we can take a picture of some special something and get rid of the actual thing. The picture takes a lot less space!

I love Peter Walshs’ advise - “if something is really special then give it a place of honor in your house and enjoy it”. I have a shadow box on my wall, filled with my grandmas crocheting, her wire rim glasses and letters she wrote me in the 70’s asking me to get bread that week when I came to Palermo from Minot. Bread was 5 for a $1.00 at the bread outlet store! My Mom and Dads wedding picture with the old curved glass I have hung( and stick tacked to the wall), by the door. Mom is wearing her double stranded wedding pearls. The ones I took apart and added crystals to, for all of us girls in the family last year. I have my Nanas family dolls I’ve collected for years displayed in my bedroom. And I have my Hallmark ornaments I take out at Christmas. I do have Sydney’s dance trophies taking up space in the garage down here. I wanted those for her from Mom’s house so bad. To me it represented the life we were forced to leave, which was horribly sad at the time but she is so much happier here. Karma always comes back on people, because I wish I could share these girls’ lives today with you but I’m trying to be bigger than that.

I learned a lot about myself when I saw all that stuff in the garage and had to get rid of it all. Most of it I’d forgotten about untill I saw it. I watched my Mom go from living on a farm for forty years and having a yard full of stuff, downsize to an apartment full of stuff, downsize to a nursing home room full of stuff.

We don’t need all the stuff we have. I don’t shop like I used to, and when I do I ask myself do I really want or need this? If I get something new I get rid of the old right away. I’m still working on myself to be more organized. I literally have to say out loud to myself when I pick something up, “a home for everything and everything in it’s home, a home for everything and everything in its home, a home for eve….” . Its not a natural thing for me. I prefer to throw everything around, live freely, make a mess and then clean it up when I can put on some rockin’ music and clean. Problem with that is I have been caught with a mess more than I want to be so…to be my best self I need to work at this a little because it does cause me stress which isn’t living your best life.
I am adding some fun websites and blogs about organization on the end of this …I hope you enjoy them! Enjoy your day above all else, life goes by fast! ~
Organizing websites:
Organizing blogs:


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