Recently I wrote about going to a memorial service for a dearly loved and highly regarded journalist (The Measure of a Man…). One thing I did not mention in my post is that his family put a bunch of his books on display in the dining room and encouraged people to take one home as a remembrance of him. Today I ran into another couple who had been at the same event. The husband, who knew the deceased very well having worked with him for many years at Newsday, stated that he would have been very pleased to know that his family had chosen to disperse some of his books in this manner.
That got me thinking. On Wednesdays I have lunch with my daughter. I was telling her this story when I suddenly got an idea. “Hey!” I said to her. “Suppose when either Dad or I are gone you just open the doors to the basement and tell our friends they can have anything they want! That would certainly cut down on your having to sort through all that stuff.” We laughed together at the thought.
Later, I mentioned to her that the Lupus Foundation had called asking for donations of household goods and clothing items. We have donated at other times, but we are a bottomless resource for them. Again, we agreed we should just invite the Lupus Foundation in to take whatever they need.
Not long ago the members of my family were joking about cleaning out the basement, when my son, an aspiring filmmaker said, “We could make our own horror movie down there. It would take an hour of the movie just to get through the basement to the door of Dad’s shop. The final half hour could take place in the shop.” This had us bent over in stitches. I suggested renaming the “shop” the Little Shop of Horrors. Or perhaps, I suggested, we could just put this wonderful sign I bought to hang in my classroom that says “Welcome to Paradise” over the shop door!
Obviously, our situation has been the occasion for a lot of family humor as well as a lot of discomfort. I am happy to report that since I wrote my post about our world of clutter, we have been trying to spend a couple of hours a week poring over our treasures in the basement. I have been lugging cherished books to the library for donation; my daughter has been sorting out her wardrobe into piles such as “the tie-dye years”…and giving away what she clearly will never wear again; and my husband has been industriously sawing old pieces of molding and leftover wood to place out at the curb for pickup. The “tower” I described in the earlier post (Clutter…A Family Affair) is no longer there. We are all beginning to feel we are making a difference.
While taking a walk with my husband recently I said, “So what if we have a 5-year plan? Two years to clean out everything we no longer need or want; two years to get the house ready to sell and another year to move?” For the first time in years, this actually seemed possible!