Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cleaning as a Preemptive Strike..(Humor) or how NOT to add hoarder to list of accomplishments

May 5, 2010

Cleaning as a Preemptive Strike

Lest I become a specially invited guest on TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” one of my progeny has informed me that I’ve become a wee bit of a pack rat and that I need to clean things out and fast. Actually, her level of frustration was such that, belying what we thought was an inability to take charge of cleaning matters, she launched into the project that was cleaning up/out her mother’s bathroom. This after she attempted to find a Q-tip in my bathroom and instead discovering all manner of “anything but,” which, in no particular order, tallies up to the following, non-all-inclusive list, which reads like an off season “Twelve Days of Christmas” litany:

1 lighted mirror that last “got lit” when I did (as an aside, that would be years ago).

2 soap dishes with 1 usable soap, 1 cute soap, and 1 sliver (memory) of soap.

3 baskets filled with old make-up, some of which is obsolete.

4 deoderants, none of which lived up to assurances as to their ability related to keeping one dry while one is doing anything other than applying the aforementioned deodorant while breathing. I am now convinced “natural” is synonymous with “will leave you in your natural state.”

5 nail polishes that resembled a rainbow oil slick of color when, in point of fact, they were once one, non-tacky color.

6 nail files that done should have been filed in the round trash can some years ago.

7 combs of varying tooth distances, none of which have ever been used, my “heirloom” vent brush being my favorite hair tool of choice.

8 old Q-tips that may have once held some very important DNA samples, but at this juncture are just plain gross.

9 moisturizer samples to which I acquiesced to taking just to get out of the freaking store.

10 eyeshadows that seemed to be my shade when viewed in the store’s attractive florescent lighting, but when I got home in my equally attractive energy-saving, low wattage lighting the mirror didn’t lie, even if lighting everywhere has honesty issues.

11 containers of all sizes, shapes and purposes, the main one being to organize all of the above. We fired all of them. (Okay, don’t tell my daughter, but I did scavenge one cute container with a Hawaiian girl on it.)

12 X 3 lipsticks that looked fabulous on the Revlon models (See “10 eyeshadows.”)

I noted what these things were as I took out 4 bags of garbage, which was the least I could do, given my daughter devoted an entire day and precious “between texting” moments to the endeavor that was getting Mom to let go of her accumulated, though lacking in value, treasures. After all, the kid was cleaning out cabinets containing products that ceased being produced some time around the year she achieved toddlerdom, pulling herself up by those very same cabinets.

This, in turn, motivated me to turn my attention to my closet – that most hallowed, Smithsonian-like enclosure, preserving every fashion and, thus, decade I have experienced in my short walk down life’s continuum. (I’m now noticing that when I refer to 30-year-olds I can’t help myself from prefacing any age under 42 with, “that young person who is about…”)

From there I managed to cull 3 bags of clothes, shoes, and belts which my husband promptly placed in the trunk and I equally promptly donated the next day, lest I grow faint of heart. I must admit to you, I experienced a last-minute, terrier-like digging session at which time I attempted to excavate a faded, black, memory-evoking shirt. You will be happy to know that I failed in my attempt because I had no less than three nice people from the thrift shop come toward me, asking me if I needed help, which curtailed further pawing activities on my part. I have a feeling they’ve seen my kind before – the pre-hoarder, teetering on the edge of her new classification, so it’s best to assist someone like me with a “this will only hurt for a minute,” rip the band-aid off approach and take the bags from me right away.

I do feel better though and I’m noticing so much, like the fact that my bathroom counter is pristine and white and that my black and white, tiled accent table can be used for its original purpose. It is actually quite lovely, in addition to being a bit functional and there is no need to waste its offerings on serving as the base for my Jenga-building of products from past and present.

And the best part? This cleaning up and getting rid of decluttering is cathartic and so very symbolic. I’ve noticed more now that I have less and I consider that progress.

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