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Teal's Modest Adventures

Life & Events > Boring > Clutter


I have friends whose houses are masterpieces of organization and elegance. Not our house.The cats complicate things because we must drape some of the furniture. And because we have a leather loveseat and sofa, it always looks messy because the drapery material never stays in place and the bottom line is the cats still find exposed parts to scratch.
Anyway, I was in my dressing room and realized that it was full of stuff that I never ever will use. So I started throwing things out. But what I would like to avoid is accumulation. What do you do when something you buy comes with attachments and 14 years later they are still in the drawer? Do you get rid of the stuff right away or hold on to it because “you never know?”

And there are cosmetic products and pain aids that don’t work, and I stop using them but don’t throw them out right away. Is the secret to bite the bullet and be ruthless? And throwing jars of cream out is a pain in the butt because the recycle Nazi here scoops out the contents and rinses the glass container and only then does it go into the recycle bin. I also totally wash out mayonnaise jars and canned corned beef containers and those will cut you if you aren’t careful, so I put them in the dishwasher.

When Ed was an ombudsman, he never did his paperwork unless the supervisor sat with him. He left the ombudsman program when the Republican governor Rick Scott took over and fired the head of the program because he dared to ask for information on the nursing homes in the area. I said, “whatever you do next, don’t choose anything with paperwork.” So he became a guardian and the problem escalated to mammoth proportions because what a guardian does is take care of ALL OF THE MAIL FOR EACH WARD, AND ALL THE FINANCES, AND MAKES ALL MEDICAL AND FINANCIAL DECISIONS. So every surface in the house has guardian paperwork on it and I have to clear the dining area before we can eat and he gets upset if he can’t find things.

That’s my story. Help.

xx, Teal

posted on Aug 21, 2020 1:13 PM ()


because of my advanced age, I am very aware of the fact that my daughter will have to dispose of crap. I just bought a new heavy duty shredder to aid me in the process. I am in the process of donating one car and just got rid of a bunch of clothing and stuff. I have a handyman who promises to be a treasure. donate the stuff that is still useful for someone and put some things on the curb, most people can't resist free stuff. As for Ed, give him a bedroom for an office and then it will all be on him to keep his papers there. My dining room table is sacred. No papers!!! Being ruthless is key.
comment by elderjane on Aug 22, 2020 12:08 AM ()
He has a den that used to be a bedroom. He uses it for computer work (and to listen to music), but he works off the every-day dining table and he works off the formal dining table and he bought a vintage desk from the 19th century that he works off of. There is guardian mail, unopened on the loveseat, and paperwork on a counter that wraps around from the kitchen to the family room, and boxes of paper under another counter and more paper on end tables. (P.S. he also has clothes that no longer fit into the closet -- I have them on bins on the dressers in the bedroom.) There is no solution for this. It's a disease and there is no cure. And there is unopened mail on the love seat. And there is a cart I bought to help me with moving dinner from the kitchen to the dining area and it is filled with his stuff and I can't use it. There are boxes of guardian papers stowed under overhangs and the like. To add the cherry on top of the sundae, he thinks I clutter.
reply by tealstar on Aug 22, 2020 12:34 PM ()
I suspect people whose houses are so organized have moved more frequently or more recently than you have, because as Marta says, that's a fine opportunity to make some decisions about what you can't live without.

There's been times I found a use for some saved-up thing and was glad I had it. Recent case in point: some sewing supplies my mother left came in handy for making homemade COVID masks. And at the time there was an elastic/bias tape shortage, so I was glad I had them.
comment by traveltales on Aug 21, 2020 3:48 PM ()
When I gave up my New York loft, that was a big deal. When Ed and I moved from Queens to Florida, that was a bigger deal.It took weeks of packing. And there was the 6'7"piano. I hired a super piano guy in Florida to get it off their truck because they were clueless. We swore we'd never move again.
reply by tealstar on Aug 21, 2020 8:31 PM ()
Oh, dear, you may have to let him keep the main table and get a little gateleg/dropleaf table you take out for dinner use. People get crazy about their papers and will not brook interference.
comment by drmaus on Aug 21, 2020 3:44 PM ()
OMG, do I sympathize! My frustration with my accumulated stuff peaked when it cam to packing to move to my condo two years ago. I had only one plan. If whatever I unearthed brought me joy, it was packed. If not, I sold it, or donated it, or gave it away, or into the dumpster it went. Packing and moving are nightmares for me anyway, and the amount of clutter can be astounding. But my joy technique did give me much needed perspective.
comment by marta on Aug 21, 2020 2:25 PM ()

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