Monday, April 7, 2008

Declutterization - Part Two

On March 30th I wrote Part One - to get to it, do a search on my blog home page and it will show up. That blog ended: "Now, what do we do about it?"

Enter Mary Poppins - or should I call her Mary All-gone? (There's got to be something better than that...)

I will never get rid of the stuff. I have neither the time, the energy, or the ability to sort through it all and let it go. But it will be "all gone" with Mary.

Her job description: come into our home and spend however much time is necessary to go through every closet, shelf, drawer and display cabinet and make it all go away. She will use garage sales, e-bay, consignment shops, Salvation Army and her own wits to "place" everything. In exchange, she will receive half the profit. My estimate is that it will take two weeks of working long days to make it all go away.

The concept is this: When we renovated the camp, everything went out in order to have it gutted and re-built. It's a very small place with one tiny closet, so what comes back in is very noticeable. We therefore don't bring much back inside - disposables like food, yes, a few bits of furniture, but very few decorations. It's mostly windows anyway.

I want my home to be like that. The chairs I saved from my mother's home that are in the garage and in the basement - gone! The 3 foot long pictures my birthmother had that no one in the family wants - gone! All those coats my mother wore - gone! The books (except for my first editions) that I will never read again - gone!

"What if she makes a mistake?" my husband asks. Unless she puts him out or one of the animals, I don't see how she can make a mistake. What I am keeping will be listed: my grandmother's toboggan, the doll house I had when I was a little girl, the unpublished novels, the quilt that was stitched by my son's great-grandmother, etc.

This Mary All-gone is real. She is contracted to come to our home on April 26th for a week and then return in May some time. The people we've told about this have all said, "When can you come to MY house?"

My Mary is an old friend, doing this because she has some time and this is a good way to combine work with a visit. I know others for whom a job like this could be a real career, and I know that our generation could keep them busy!

What I also know is this - no matter what happens I will be thrilled and proud and feel so light and airy. I love my stuff, but as Earth Day approaches I see no reason for new stuff to be created in factories all over the world when old stuff could suffice. Someone will love my mother's size 14 black cashmere coat, someone else will read her Dickens and my Faulkner, the chairs will grace someone else's foyer.

When I explained to Alex what we were planning, he gave me a great quote from Chuck Palahniuk: "Don't let the things you own start owning you." Amen!