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Cleaning house
2006-08-21 - 4:05 p.m.

Last Wednesday, I walked into the pantry and just...snapped. I couldn't stand the mess in there any more.

I grew up in a "keep everything" household, which pretty much means I became a "keep everything" kind of girl. When Kirk and I got married, I discovered that he is a closet "keep everything" guy--nothing on the surface, packed to the gills underneath. All of that means we had a LOT of stuff, especially when you add in all the stuff we got as wedding gifts.

Three years ago (God--it really is almost that long) we packed up all our stuff and brought it here. Then we packed up all my mom's stuff and brought it here, too. His stuff, my stuff, our wedding stuff, and her stuff, all jammed into one house. Then there's Will's stuff--and it's amazing how much stuff babies accumulate, and how fast, and how little of it you get rid of because if there's another baby somewhere down the line you'll just need it all again.

Needless to say, our house is pretty full.

Wednesday, I just decided I couldn't stand it any more. So, as Flylady would say, I started my own Super Fling Boogie. Three giant 50-something gallon trashbags full of stuff to throw away. A giant pile of donation stuff. And a pantry that I can actually function in and find things.

It started a trend. The next day I tackled the dining room closet. By the time I was finished, it was completely orderly and had room for the vacuum, a long-term goal of mine I wasn't sure I'd ever realize.

Friday, I hit the desk. Another trash bag full of stuff gone. I can actuall see the surface. There isn't a thing on here that doesn' belong, and everything that IS here has a home.

Today, I pulled out the big guns and hit the part of the house we call the "upstairs basement," a catch-all hallway of a space just off the kitchen that we couldn't even walk through. Will was thrilled, because emptying it meant I found toys of his that he hasn't seen in *months*. As soon as I finish this, I'm off to put back the few things that are staying in there. All the tools went to the basement. All the painting supplies went on one shelf. Again, it all has a place. And five--yes FIVE--more 50-something-gallon trash bags out to the curb.

I also pulled out some stuff that wasn't trash material, but which we'll never use, and posted it on Freecycle. By tomorrow afternoon, those nine folding metal chairs and the spare Electrolux vacuum parts left behind by the house's previous owners will be gone, too.

Although my neighbors probably thought I was insane, I couldn't resist. I brought the scale out to the street and weighed my trash. No joke, I have almost 500 pounds of trash going away.

Five. Hundred. Pounds.

I don't know where the urge came from, and I don't know how long it will stay, but for the moment no clutter is safe.

Off to throw some more crap away.

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