When I moved into this house, nearly 18 months ago now, I didn’t have time to do it right. So many urgent things had to be done — and I’m talking bleach-the-mold-off-the-walls urgent, rip-entire-walls-out urgent, tear-off-rotted-rooms urgent — that many niceties got neglected. Boxes went unpacked. Stuff got stuffed … wherever.
Besides, after having lived small for 10 years (between Cabin Sweet Cabin and that crumbling fifth-wheel in the desert), I had just spent the previous three years in house with an attic, a basement, and a garage. This house … not so much.
Then there was the teeny, tiny problem of closets. This place had not a single one. Not. One. Closet.
Basically I’ve been living in the front half of the house (which has been in a constant state of “project”) while the unrestored back half holds
junk vital preparedness supplies, seasonal gear, shop tools, construction materials, art supplies, and spare pieces of furniture.
I built a couple closets and some shelves in what used to be the enclosed porch and was delighted to be able to move things into them. Then the roof collapsed and most of that, plus the furniture, had to pulled right back out.
I know I’ll look back on all this in 10 years and think of it all as a grand, glorious old-house adventure (which special fondness for all the help I’ve been given). But this year I’ve had many days when, if I was a crier, I’d be crying.
One solution would be to get rid of a lot of stuff — which I’ve been doing. But mostly the problem isn’t too much stuff (although of course all halfway decent preppers have more than average stuff); it’s temporarily too little house. That problem will continue until I can finish those back rooms and the foundation under them. Another solution would be to rent a storage unit (and I think about it, believe me), but between the expense and the grim prospect of moving all that
crap valuable but cumbersome stuff again … I can’t face it. Maybe eventually. Not now.
But for now I do try, once in a while, to bring temporary order to the temporary chaos. That’s one of the things I’m doing while hermitting.
And it occurred to me today that what needs doing, physically, with the chaos of the house is just like what needs doing, mentally (emotionally, spiritually, you name it) with the chaos of life.
The brain/heart/mind/spirit gets all cluttered and disorganized from the endless commitments of daily life. Boxes go unopened to the point where you don’t know whether what’s in them is valuable, useless, formerly valuable and now useless, or what. Perhaps the boxes hold precious memories. Perhaps they hold “whatever was I thinking when I acquired that???” mathoms. You can’t find the things you really need while you’re practically tripping over things you don’t. Sticky spider webs and dust bunnies form behind neglected intellectual/emotional objects.
Life! It needs a good cleaning and reorganizing! But when you first start, it’s OMG, what do I do with all that stuff? All those underutilized talents, all those neglected dreams, all those old anxieties and dreads, all those memories both beloved and bittersweet. At first there may be a lot of just shuffling items from one “room” to another, not sure what needs keeping and what doesn’t, not sure where the keepers will eventually find their place — and never sure how to get rid of those special “things” you cling to even though they’ve long outlived any useful purpose. And oh, the prospect of digging through those most darkly stashed boxes of the mind. There may even be a brown recluse or a black widow lurking in those unexplored spaces.
Sooooo much easier just to watch another four episodes of Once Upon a Time. But do that and the clutter thickens …