Dispersal Dramas 3

The thing about living in a sparsely populated county full of hard-working folks is that every church in the county runs a thrift store but many more people want to get rid of stuff than want to buy stuff.

And a lot of folks want to get rid of big, battered, broken, torn, stained stuff; stuff that should go to the dump.  But it costs to use the dump.  And folks here don’t have extra income or time.

Over a year ago the local Salvation Army drop off center closed up shop.  It wasn’t a store, just a place to take stuff.  But they wouldn’t take big, battered, broken, torn, stained, stuff that should be taken to the dump.  (But it costs to use the dump.)  So folks would quietly dump that broken, stained stuff in the dead of night by the closed gates of the Salvation Army drop off center.

The Salvation Army got tired of losing money paying the fees to trash it all.  So they closed up the drop off center and that was the end of the only donation center with out-of-county connections to sell the stuff.

Within a week of the Salvation Army drop off center closing, every thrift shop in the county was overflowing but with no new customers.  They wouldn’t take another stick or stitch.

Anyway. To cap off clearing the Giant Bookshelf, my husband and I also cleared closets of all that stuff we didn’t like or didn’t need anymore.  Two, thirty-gallon trash bags full of professional quality clothing from two young folks’ long-ago careers.  I tried twice to give it to the biggest of the area thrift shops.  But even now, a year after the Salvation Army closed, they simply wouldn’t take my contributions.

What to do….

Twice a week I work over on the big city side of the valley.  Yup.  I found a sweet big thrift store that draws clientele from three urban centers.  Our two bags of stuff disappeared…


Day Eight. Finished clearing the lower level

Attention please.  I’ve cleared the bed.  I’ve emptied the giant bookshelf.  The carpet is visible from east to west.

Friends came over today and fell in love with half the stuff in my Rummage Sale pile.  It went home with them.

The boxes full of my husband’s jumbled trash and memories are hidden in storage….

The theory and sometimes the practice is that my husband can approach one box at a time without overwhelm.

If he doesn’t have to look at all the chaos at once, he says he will pull one box from storage every week or so to sort it and throw out most of the contents.

Here is the first box he’s pulled.  And he’s sorting that new stash of National Geographic magazines to collate with the old one.

Meanwhile I have living space to spread out my bigger projects.

Day Five on the Lower Level: The Guest Bed Emerges

It’s Total Eclipse Day.
We watched on television.
Then we went to see Dunkirk.
Then it was time to find some closure.

Just simple, repetitive, box-breaking
Over and over and over
Battling all stray notions that some of those boxes will be JUST PERFECT someday for something
Because they certainly will not.

There they are.

HELLO Long Buried Bed!

Tomorrow we return to actual decluttering as we head to the recycling center to discard the boxes and to the dump with a load of trash from the garage and back deck…  (And there are still some shelves to clear.)

Clearing the Lower Level — Day Four

Overflowing boxes no longer fill my lower level living space!  I’ve condensed, repacked, and hauled them all up onto the storage platform.

The carpet bears the imprint of their long slumber.

At the far end of the room the guest bed lies buried beneath the empties.  Tomorrow I will stow or discard these.

There is still much stuffed into shelves I need to take down and store.  But now I truly believe I will have this job finished before another week ends.

And guess what!

I found the drill bits my husband mislaid three months ago!  Right there!  Jumbled into a box close to the top of a pile…

Clearing the Lower Level — Day Three

Today’s featured image displays FLOOR SPACE!  A clear path from the back to the front of the room with room to move around in.  That’s huge!

Today was “shoving big things around” day with the net result that yesterday’s hard work of “clearing things” is now evident.

In the background left of this picture, is a tall shelf that had been smack in the middle of the room, its base buried in boxes.  I cleared it off.  My husband moved it to the back wall where it now houses two boxes of stuff intended for specific recipients.  Not Clutter.  The bed in the righthand background is covered in actually empty boxes.  They will either be filled or whisked to storage or recycling.  Not Clutter.

Notice the bare wood atop the stair step shelf in the left foreground!  And in the right foreground is my work table, pictured more clearly in the featured image. Not Clutter.

Here is an example of how to clear carpet space in the main room quickly.
Get all of the precious ancient computer bits which MUST be reviewed and evaluated SOMEDAY up off the floor and onto the storage platform.  Then get the broken chairs that somebody ought to repair SoMeDaY out of the line of traffic until “someday” arrives.

Today’s first box contained the dregs of an historic bathroom cupboard.  I dumped five half empty bottles of cologne.  My hands still smell amazing.  I’ll be showering with Old Spice to round out the bouquet!

Clearing the living space on the lower level…

Here’s the deal.
I’m not allowed to decide anything about the disposition of a single morsel of my husband’s precious stuff.  Nope.  I may not presume to discern the relative value between (a) gold (plated banjo tuner) and an unopened advertisement for a life insurance policy.
I’m Not Allowed to Decide About Anything.


As you can see in the featured image, this array of treasure is currently in jumbled heaps tumbling from an array of bags and boxes all over the finished room on our lower level.

AND What I AM allowed to do is:


  • I may wrestle the escaping stuff into containers without sorting the stuff into categories!
  • I may fasten the boxes shut; but I don’t have to label them because it would be impossible anyway…
  • I may stack the boxes on the platform of the adjoining storage area; my only concern being to fit them together in stable stacks.

This is actually pretty easy and a nice light weight training exercise.

How’m I doing?

Resolutions — We’ll see.

I have two weeks of almost clear vacation time to work on projects.

A few years ago, over a period of several months, I emptied our lowest level of a shoulder high wall of clutter, the residue of my husband’s deceased first wife’s private and professional endeavors.  I had it cleared, except for a few things belonging to other people, down to the carpet.  This post’s “featured image” is a document of that accomplishment.

My husband decreed that he wanted that space for his projects and promptly filled it up again with a mountain of overflowing bags and boxes of the unsorted archives of three of his ongoing (and dormant) endeavors.

Almost equally promptly he decided he didn’t like to work in that space — bad lighting, bad acoustics….  ???

“Well,” I said to myself, “I have projects and activities which would work quite well down there!”

So I have secured permission (ALWAYS secure Permission — even if it’s only token permission) to sort, pack up and label his archives — as long as I don’t actually discard anything!!!!! — and move it into the storage area.  (Clearing out that storage area was my second huge accomplishment. We did some of that clearing together.)

And now you can guess of the most physical of my vacation goals.

Stay tuned for reports.