November 2nd, 2011


Clean Up Your Room!

How and where do you start? When I was a kid, I made a big pile in the middle of the room.

Then I swept it all under my bed and pretended I was done.

My father wasn't fooled. He always looked under there and got you for dust bunnies, if not for actual piles of junk.

And if you swept it all into a drawer? Or any part of it? Well, he would pull the drawer out and turn it upside down in the middle of the floor and you had to start over.

Now I've heard that my Dad wasn't all that unusual, especially for his generation. Someone's mother used to make a pile in the hall of everything from her room and she had to sort through it. It taught her how to approach large jobs, such as editing a messy manuscript. "Begin with a single blouse," she suggested when I was stuck on an edit. I don't actually dump anything of Miss E's. I just go in and point "here, and this, and that, and there." Then she picks up "here." But sometimes she just decides she's had enough of the mess in her room and she begins going through her things and I pitch in and help her put it all into bags, trash or donate.

Which is what happened about a year ago. Our living room became the intersecting point between the parallel lines of Weatherdude's plants coming inside for the winter and Miss E's massive fall cleanup in her room. And it wasn't exactly in great shape to begin with, since it already housed various boxes leftover from downsizing the parental units into a retirement community. Boxes that held such treasures as a sewing machine, braiding felts, rug wool for hooking, yarn, and some miscellaneous books, pots, a tea service, and clothing.

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