Tag Archives: cleaning house

De-junking #amwriting

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I bought a house and gradually filled it with furniture. We weren’t rich, but we got the most durable pieces we could afford.

Alas, the recliners were the first to fall victim to old age, with my husband’s obnoxiously big (but incredibly comfy) chair failing first. Not sure what to do with it as it was the size of a dinosaur, the broken corpse sat in a corner for four years serving as an “overflow coat-rack” when we had a lot of company.

The nice recliner with the fabric I liked so much, and which was purchased for me, became “the captain’s chair.” I had written Huw the Bard, Tower of Bones, and Forbidden Road in that chair, but it was still in perfect condition.

I didn’t mind sitting on the sofa, but I never was able to get too comfy with my laptop there. For the most part, I found myself hanging out my office, playing RPGs and writing rather than watching TV.

However, that chair too went the way of all things, falling apart and looking worse than Martin Crane’s hideous recliner on the old TV show, “Frasier.”

In the process of shopping for new chairs, we decided to go with a smaller dining room table, as the two of us don’t need a nine foot long dining room table. When we have large family gatherings, we have the Costco folding table that I use for book signing events and several card tables.

When we got rid of the broken chairs, we also trashed several other large pieces that had begun to show their age, not unlike their owners:

  • The wobbly sofa table on which we proudly displayed our dead houseplants.
  • The backless cabinet that held my dried-up art supplies.
  • The broken bar stool that we dropped our empty shopping bags on instead of putting them away.

After all the broken furniture was gone, I looked around in shock, faced with the glaring evidence of my crummy housekeeping habits.

Grandma went on a cleaning rampage.

So, the house is a bit empty today, but cleaner. It looks rather like it did the day we moved in. I had forgotten how big the place is but seeing it half empty reminded us of why we loved this house in the first place.

New furniture is coming to my house on Tuesday. This time we have modern Scandinavian-style lounge-chairs, with separate footstools. These won’t fail the way the recliners did. The new round dining table will seat four comfortably, and six if they like each other.

And that brings me to the strangest side note to all of this: In the midst of getting rid of the unwanted debris collected over fifteen years, I wrote two full chapters in my first draft, totaling around 6,000 new words. These are good chapters that broke through one of the worst sticking points in plotting that book. What I wrote yesterday advances the story and take it to the midpoint crisis.

Cleaning house seems to have cleared my mind.

Maybe I should clean my house more often.

Nah, probably not gonna happen.

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Fluff and Nonsense

storagecontainersI have parties for the same reason I have editors. Having a party forces me to get rid of the ‘fluff and nonsense’ that we acquire as part of modern living.

Consider the plastic container. I think of them the way I do the word ‘that’ — in other words, they have their place, but too many is just too many! Despite my best efforts they enter the house in insidious ways.

They arrive wrapped around butter (or vegan margarine,) I pick up a few to use to send leftovers home with loved ones, but more always arrive than are used–and the ones in the cupboard are never the size I need.

Then there are the glass jars–I go on binges of saving them because I don’t like plastic. But they are never the right size, and the lids get lost, and my favorite one always is full.

But lets talk about coffee cups.

coffee cupsHow the heck many does a household with two old people need? And where do these things keep coming from? But they’re like adjectives–I have far more in cupboard than are ever really needed. Some of these go with the two sets of dishes we need for when we have the family over, and this one was a gift, and this one fits perfectly in my minivan’s cup-holder….

At least maybe I can get rid of the chipped ones. But this is the one Mama liked….

Sigh.

But at least I can declutter the spare room where my grand-kids can play. Now that is an editing job worthy of a medal–the room has become my overflow room for stuff that won’t fit in the Room of Shame. The Room of Shame is my office, but it is also a warehouse for ‘mathoms’ (bear with me–I am a Tolkien freak)  Mathom is a word invented by Tolkien, constructed from an obsolete Old English word máðm “treasure, precious thing.”

Oh dear. My whole house is a warehouse for mathoms.

VasesVases–who needs twenty vases? And why am I driven to buy vases when I have more than funeral home could ever need? (Again like a favorite word–how many times  can I repeat this word before folks realize I have no imagination?) But they’re so pretty, sitting on this closet shelf where no one ever sees them….

Big family winter party=grandma cleaning house.

Grandma cleaning house is a boon to the recycling community–a van full of fluff and nonsense will go to be recycled back into the community. And on Sunday, the house will look so good, until the party starts. After the family begins to arrive, all bets are off as to how long it will take to clean up afterward.

 

 

 

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