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Getting rid of…part 2

Last week I wrote about cleaning out my closets, and I suggested that perhaps spring cleaning has moved to winter. Then I noticed that at least as far as my Facebook friends are concerned, spring cleaning is a thing of the past. What’s up here? Did the blue moon give us all cleaning out the nest instincts?

Last weekend we cleaned out our garage. Well, OK, we didn’t really clean it. Not wanting our cats to become coyote bait or bug us by banging on the screen door in the middle of the night, we lock them in the garage with a litter box, food, water, and a comfy blanket to sleep on.

They sleep on top of the cars, poop behind my husband’s motorcycle, and eat the moles they leave under the cars during the daytime. We try to make it into kitty spa, and they turn it into kitty skid row.

So OK, we didn’t clean the garage. I did scoop all accessible fossilized poop and stick it in the garbage, and we swept out the easiest to get dirt and leaves, but mostly what we did was organize and Get Rid Of.

What we got rid of: many, many cardboard boxes we were keeping for… uh…, a large bag of worn-out bath mats that we were keeping for… eh…, a bag of old clothing we were keeping to give to the Goodwill, a box of dishes we kept meaning to sell but ended up giving to our babysitter, a box of 8 place settings of a nice stainless silverware that had been discontinued and I couldn’t add to and kept meaning to sell but gave to our babysitter (starting to think you want to be our babysitter? Forget it — Vanessa is a saint for being able to keep up with Energy Girl for hours at a time).

What we didn’t get rid of: Hubby’s grandmother’s stand mixer, still works, still has lots of memories attached, lots of old sheets that we plan to use for, eh,… many boxes of books that I published years ago and can’t stand to throw away, two pieces of stained glass taken from a red-tagged building in New York City…

You get the idea. So I had the funny task today of calling a neighbor and asking if she would like, I mean, would be able to stand our putting lots of recycling into her bin. I went down the list of neighbors and decided not to call anyone with kids, the painting contractor, anyone who had a party lately… So luckily we have a single woman neighbor who said, Yeah, sure, bring me your garbage!

See, getting rid of even strengthens your bond with your neighbors.

We didn’t get rid of our skid row cats, but they found the process fascinating. Cats love any focused activity, though they personally choose not to do any work in their own lives. They’re great at watching and making rude comments, though.

“Hey, don’t get rid of that old rug! I like to pee on that!”

“What are you doing moving my favorite box that I sit in? Wait! Don’t crush it! How can I look cool sitting in a box that’s too small for me if you crush it?”

“Humans! They have absolutely no sense of what’s important.”

One of my Facebook friends asked if someone could come over and clean out her closets, but really, it’s no fun to clean out someone else’s old junk. How could you know what’s important? Frankly, the stuff we kept wasn’t all worth more than the stuff we gave away. I admitted to Vanessa today that the set of dishes was probably worth a fair amount of money. But ultimately, eBay just seemed like too much work and not at all as satisfying as passing on our old friend’s lovely pottery to someone I know who will love it.

Someday, perhaps, it will end up in her garage, and she can decide whether to keep or get rid of. And perhaps she’ll remember me, and our sorta clean garage, and our rude cats making comments.

“Ack. I wouldn’t even drink outta that bowl. Give it to the babysitter. She has a dog anyway.”

Posted in Parenting, Psychology.


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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Getting rid of, the lime green sequel – Avant Parenting linked to this post on July 18, 2010

    […] came the Summer of Getting Rid Of (which follows the Winter of Getting Rid Of). I called our friendly painter (shameless plug: T. Paul Sek and his wonderful wife Debbie, who do […]



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