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The Great Clean Up

To know where you are today, you should really go look at photos from yesterday. Yes, you. Really. Unless, of course, you're sensitive to photos of absolute horror. I should have posted those on Halloween, shouldn't I?

I come from a family of hoarders. We can blame it on The Great Depression, because that's how old my parents are. This doesn't really explain my mother's taste for garbage-picking in Cambridge in the 60's, but well, maybe we should gloss over that? Weatherdude even said he understood how my father ended up with his immense collection of bolts and screws (and also string). Weatherdude took apart a chair to haul it to the landfill and pocketed the screws, thinking "hey, I might need these someday." There's a tendency in some New England families to make do. Weatherdude and I both seem to be from one of those families. I feel guilty when I throw things out or buy new things. OTOH, I'm still using the same stoneware I bought and received as wedding presents over 30 years ago, so yay me.

My mother's boxes of yarn and wool scraps are irreplaceable today, or only replaceable at great expense. She has wool felts in many colors, some of it from clothes, some from paper mills. They don't squeeze the water out with wool felts anymore. And there aren't many paper mills left in New England. The yarns are in many colors, but in scratchy wool. Honestly, I can let go of my own things before I can let go of my mother's half-finished work and raw materials. And with Miss E coming up on her Intro to Weaving seminar, she wants me to keep grandmother's fiber raw materials.

So a new project will be to turn the guest closet into a storage space filled with all the raw materials for fiber art a kid could want. Then she and I will learn how to make our own wool felt and how to braid and hook rugs and maybe knit, too. I already knit, but fitfully. I have little patience for an extended pattern. As in, I can knit a scarf, but I never finished making a sweater for Weatherdude that was supposed to be his pre-wedding personal gift from the bride. (And yes, the half-finished sweater is probably still in the house somewhere.)

So all of the wools and the sewing machine went to the basement for now with the promise that I will tackle the guest closet soon.

Last week, I pushed everything to one side (the plants were outdoors) and began cleaning the floor, tile by tile.

The project had some tough supervisors. Here they are, late on Sunday, hard at work: Benny and Miss E.

We ended up moving all of Miss E's toys from one end to the other.

And this is why. She used to use a table in this window, so it's not much of a change. But now it's officially her corner. (Along with whatever plants show up.)

We decided to use the other end as an exercise area. Weatherdude has a rowing machine, I have a recumbent bike. And we needed a screen to watch things on while biking. But there's also the couch for sitting. Here Weatherdude sets up the spoils from our shopping trip on Sunday:

Anyway. The room in every corner has been cleaned. A few tiles still need washing. Weatherdudes plants can come out of the ex-garage and into the room now. And the bike can be moved out of the foyer. Which will make the room a bit crowded again (where will I put a yoga mat?) but it will get a bit of use again. Weatherdude's plants will go along the floor and on that table.

The cats are already moving back in. That's Grady on the cat tree, which also moved across the room. Not a sewing machine or box of wool in sight, let alone a box of darkroom trays.

Miss E listed things for donating with me. Weatherdude scrubbed tiles. Weatherdude and I hauled a load of trash to the landfill. And Weatherdude found a temporary place in the basement for the fiber that's supposed to go into the special art and fiber supply closet.

Definitely a family project.
Frog Out


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 4th, 2011 04:51 am (UTC)
Wow, Oz! That looks spectacular! And so inviting. Congratulations!
Nov. 4th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
It only look inviting because the instrument-of-torture (i.e. rowing machine) is off in a back corner! I don't know which plants will settle in there for the winter. It usually looks like a conservatory. Right now, it's sterile without the green stuff. This room is what sold me on the house, so it's nice to have it back.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 6th, 2011 12:40 pm (UTC)
Now we need to score a nice rug for Miss E so she's not sitting on cold tile. I might have a candidate.
Nov. 4th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
Very lovely now that's it all cleaned up! It looks great! Airy and bright, with lots of room to do stuff.

Until the plants come back, maybe :-)

And I like the cat tree.

Also, I love all that fiber and yarn and I'm not even into fiber arts. I was reading about Waldorf schools the other day, where they still teach all that and don't use computers, and I was like, oh, wow, I want to work there.
Nov. 6th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
Miss E and I are on the road for a few days, but I hear the plants came back in yesterday.

Waldorf schools are interesting. I read a lot about them when Miss E was a mere toddler. The kids stay with the same teacher for the entire elementary school. And there's a "no tv" policy the parents have to agree to. I could do that, but I couldn't keep her away from computers. Having one has done a lot for her growth and development.
Nov. 4th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
That does look like a lovely room. Good job on all that cleaning. I was appalled by the "before" pics because I don't think I'd be able to handle it, but you did it and not even because you were moving or anything. Kudos!
Nov. 6th, 2011 12:40 pm (UTC)
I couldn't have done it without the entire team helping. That was why it stayed that way for so long. And there was the "deadline" of a hard freeze killing all his plants. He'd never let that happen to them. He'd just bring them inside even though I said "don't you dare." So I knew that if I didn't start the process, I was going to live another winter with a room that looked like that.

Oh and I showed the photos to my dad last night. He was amazed.
Nov. 4th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
We can blame it on The Great Depression, because that's how old my parents are....Weatherdude and I both seem to be from one of those families.

Danger, that. There should be a test, like the blood test you get when you get married. There should be a strong caution when a hoarder marries a hoarder. You've got to have one throw out what the other keeps, otherwise, it can get out of hand. Cleaning out the in-laws house is still going on seven years later, since some of it had to be boxed up because it couldn't be dealt with in situ.

But what you say about depression parents is true. My mother didn't feel like she could throw out any leftovers unless they had been properly bagged and sealed and left in the freezer for over six months. They'd stay there uneaten, slowly getting freezer-burn. Only then could she get let go of the guilt at wasting food. The depression left different marks on every one, but rarely failed to leave some kind of bruise.
Nov. 6th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
It's so true. There should be a law against hoarders marrying hoarders. Or bibliophiles marrying bibliophiles. Give the gene pool a chance to be mixed up rather than reinforced.

But how much of it was circumstantial for them and how much was innate?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )