Sunday, February 21, 2010

CleanQuest 2010: Return to the Basement

Two years ago, I took a week of vacation to do some serious cleaning in the house, a practice I mean to repeat annually as long as it doesn't do permanent damage to Mike's love for me. But this year's cleaning sabbatical was preempted by my mom's knee replacement surgery: I needed to spend that week helping to keep her spirits up and doing what I could to speed her recovery.

I thought there would be no cleaning this year, as things are too busy at work to take off much more time right now. But then Wednesday night, we heard a scary sound of electricity arcing and a loud "zap." The circuit that carries our dishwasher and refrigerator had fried. I began to realize that things were about to get very bad in our basement.

Access to the circuit box was impeded by a large shelving structure made up of long boards held up by two ladders (something like this, but less neat). I knew I needed to get it out of the way so workers could fix the circuit. With the ladders down, this is what our basement looks like.

Please don't put us on Hoarders.

I'm going to make it better, and this blog will help. I'm not a compulsive hoarder; I keep things because they mean something to me, remind me of pieces of my life and identity that I can't bear to toss away and forget. I think my best strategy for getting the basement under control is to blog about the things I find. If I take a picture and tell the story, the enchantments that tie these things to my life will be lifted. Rather than throwing away pieces of myself, I will celebrate and preserve them here...before tossing them in the dumpster.

It will be solipsistic, I'm sure, but you know, the blog is called "A Glimpse at Don." I think I'll enjoy it. Hopefully you won't find it intolerable.


Michael said...

What Yarmando failed to say is that I *am* a compulsive hoarder, though I have gotten a little better over the years--my mom wouldn't believe that, since she still has a basement and a bedroom full of my junk (mostly books and vinyl albums).

Rosemary said...

Anyone who's made an annual tradition of culling collections couldn't possibly be eligible for a show like "Hoarders."

Actually, Don, your comment about how writing about these objects before tossing them reminds me of a long-standing tradition in *my* family growing up, which was to take photos of stuff before you got rid of it, usually large objects like cars, pieces of furniture, instruments, etc. So I very much understand your need to document something's existence before releasing it!

Good luck to you both with this year's de-cluttering...and the electrical repairs. Hope both are far less extensive and time-consuming than feared.