Revitalization & A Big-Ass Dump Trailer

Marie Kondo, author of
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

How much does the stuff we own really matter?

Looking about my crowded home office, sitting in the gliding chair my husband gave me for Christmas last year, next to a book shelf full of to-read books, office supplies, and mementos, I know there are things that could go, but most of it I use often or love the memories tied to them.

Our basement, on the other hand, holds boxes of mystery items that were packed up at some point before we moved into this house…six years ago. Yikes. There’s also a worn-out, old rocker down there that my husband insists he still loves, though it has been in disuse for those same six years.

Some things need to go is my point.

We’re working on a project that has us cleaning out a house we purchased earlier this year. The people who once lived there have been out of the house for at least a year and a half, and the house and garage were just filled with stuff: clothes, dishes, toys, furniture, dishes, clothes, tools, books, clothes, and dishes. (Ahem. There were a lot of clothes and dishes.)

Also housed in the garage were seven washers and dryers. SEVEN.
The refrigerator in the kitchen had been closed for that same year-and-a-half.
Opening it was a huge mistake.

A great deal of the clothing items in the garage were on the floor and had gotten wet at some point and were molding, and therefore thrown into the dumpster for disposal. The clothes inside the house were boxed up, and eleven (I think) loads of laundry later, were clean, dry, folded, and donated to the local homeless shelter.

The dishes and kitchen items that weren’t broken have been cleaned up and are being sorted and donated.

There were loads of cleaning supplies in the house, which don’t seem to have been utilized at any point.

We’re making progress on the mess, largely thanks to my parents, who’ve come out the last two weekends to help tackle it.

Four dump trailers of rubbish have been hauled off. We’re working on filling the fifth.

I don’t know the circumstances that led these individuals to walk away from this situation. I don’t understand the variables that might lead people to live with the dirt and the grease and the mold and the mess. What leads people to spill something and just choose to leave it? What day-to-day circumstances make cleaning the bathroom impossible? Drawing on the walls? Putting the dishes away dirty?

There are times in life when we should walk away. There are problems and people that do not deserve our time and effort. There are toxic relationships and abusive situations and tragedies and emergencies.

I don’t know why the mess grew to such epic levels or why they walked away.
But I do know that with latex gloves and masks, disinfectant, perseverance, a lot of hard work, and a big ass dump trailer, the mess can be cleaned up.

I know with more hard work–some ours and some of skilled help–revitalization will come. The house will be refreshed and renewed and a new family will be able to make it a home.

I know that in my own house, there are messes that need attention, and I need to see them and address them before they become something unmanageable. Revitalization is needed in many areas of this life of mine.
This current project is BIG and has a lot of our focus.
But I choose now to not allow the other projects to become common to the point of invisibility.

Maybe some of the sorting decisions in my own home will be difficult, and I’ll have to give in and find out what that Marie Kondo business is all about, but I know absolutely that I do not want to leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

I also know that if I get in a situation where cleaning up my own mess becomes too big for me, there are people in my tribe who will come alongside me to help me see it through.

May we all have such a tribe.
May we all be able to see the spill and have the will to clean it up.
May our messes be manageable.
May life Spark Joy.

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