Casa de Crazy is huge. I don't know if I have ever written about the dimensions of this house, the denizens being my usual blog fodder. I lovingly - and sometimes not so lovingly - call it a giant cracker box; the house doesn't have a lot of character in its architecture, being a product of the times it was built in, when houses were large, utility bills were lower, and entire neighborhoods were built in a matter of months using a handful of floor plans and whatever paint was on sale by the tankerful.
Strictly speaking, this is a five bedroom, three bath, split foyer house. We had the back deck enclosed and a room built beneath it that extended the bedroom downstairs into a two room suite. We can't call it two bedrooms because there's no closet in the addition, but a suite? You betcha! Right now, that pair of rooms is kind of a catch-all for everything we don't want upstairs, and that's driving me nuts because the original bedroom was/is the library and my boos are a cluster fuck, to put it mildly, with boxes everywhere and no way to walk into or through it without dodging...umm...crap.
The second bedroom down there is my craft room and we'll just scream "HOLY CARP WHAT A MESS" and leave it at that. The closet in that room is our preps closet, and it's the neatest part of that space. There's a bathroom down there, and the laundry closet, plus the door to the two car garage that we cannot, right now, park even one car in.
Up stairs we have kitchen, dining area (it's not a room since it's open to the living room), living room, a hall bathroom, the kids' rooms, and the master bedroom with its own bathroom and a small but very serviceable walk-in closet.
This huge house is stuffed to the gills, crammed with crap, packed beyond reason with knick-knacks and doodads and things that might be useful later, and it's killing me.
The dust hurts my lungs. I am constantly barking my shins or stubbing my toes or wheezing or coughing or wrenching my back avoiding things. My spirit is stifled. My mind is numb. I do not clean, do not even attempt to clean, anything but the kitchen and upstairs bathrooms, because it's overwhelming to me.
The time I lived here with T was a time of collecting, hoarding, pack-ratting. I was the only one doing any housekeeping, but not the only one making the mess, and I rebelled, often not cleaning anything for months because I was in a snit.
When Someone moved in, he brought very little with him because he had very little...which, as it turned out, was a good thing because there was no room for him to put anything, As it is, he's only just recent;y gotten two whole shelves and half the hanging space in the closet because I finally sorted through and got rid of a whole mess of my old t-shirts.
It is still overwhelming to me, to even consider cleaning this whole house. I need to purge a lot. Years of accumulation, mindless accumulation, hoard-type accumulation has to go. I can't afford to be sentimental about things, or I will never get rid of anything and one day you will read about how they found my dead body crushed under the weight of boxes of unidentifiable crap labelled "Stuff That May Be Useful Some Day" or "Thing People I Love Gave Me".
Since I can't deal with thinking globally in this house, I am doing it by inches.
A shelf here. A counter there. A drawer or cupboard somewhere else.
Saturday I tackled the master closet floor and the linen shelf that goes around the top of it. I folded all the sheets and tucked each sheet set into one of its pillow cases. Got rid of a few things. Tossed a bunch of old pairs of shoes that I haven't worn in more than a decade, and even some moccasins that I was keeping for sentimental reasons (I had them in boarding school). Swept the floor. Tidied up my ridiculous slippers and got all the duffle bags combined into one bag which will go downstairs so its out of the way and neatly stowed in a closet.
Sunday I took out all of the clothing I had hanging in the closet and tried it on or assessed whether I really wanted to keep it. Gone, now, is the blue outfit I wore when I receiver the Worker of the Year award back in the '90's from the SCCA. Gone the black dress I wore to the Festival of Trees preview party. Gone several dresses and skirts, shirts, and many pairs of jeans - I tried on almost thirty pairs - and button down shirts. I also cleaned off the tops of the two small bookshelves, culling the stuffed animal herds, dusting, relocating a few things from my too-cluttered night stand, putting other things away.
Today I cleaned off my wooden chest, putting things away that I'd haphazardly stacked on it in a rush, tossing other things, sweeping the floor around it, tidying.
Tonight or tomorrow, perhaps I will manage to clean off my night stand.
An inch at a time.
I hope that by the end of next year, I will know the lightness that comes with having less because I want to have less, and the lightness of having a body not wracked with pain or plagued by discomfort because I have wrenched, broken, sprained, banged, or stubbed a body part on another box, bag, or pile of crap that I didn't have a place for.
Inch by inch...