June 4, 2014 by Jean
After weeks and months spent sorting through all the “stuff” of my Gettysburg life and letting go of most of it, I arrived in Maine to a house that seemed impossibly cluttered and messy. Since I was already in “de-cluttering” mode, I decided to just keep going, transferring my efforts from one house to the next.
As I did in Gettysburg, my plan is to focus on one room at a time, getting it organized and cleaned. I decided to begin in the bedroom because I urgently needed space to unpack the clothes I had moved from Gettysburg. Once again, I am dividing items into four categories: keep, donate, recycle, and trash. I tend to buy (or make) high quality clothes and keep them for a long time, so my closets are full of clothing items that are decades old. Clothes that I haven’t worn (or fit into) for years? Time for them to go! So far, I’ve been through two small chests of drawers and one closet and have begun work on the second closet. Any clothing items that were too worn out to be donated went into a bag for textile recycling. I had several pairs of very nice wool trousers that I hadn’t worn in several years because the lining was ripped and sagging; I carefully cut out the lining, put it in the textile recycling, and put the now-unlined trousers into a bag for donating. After a couple of days of this effort, I was able to make a run to Goodwill with donations and textile recycling. I expect to finish going through the second closet and a dresser today. Once those are done, I will thoroughly clean the room and feel as though one space is organized.
My goal is to finish one room each week. I hope to finish organizing the bedroom today and then move on to the bathroom, which should be quick work. Next week, I will move on to the study. As was true in my Gettysburg townhouse, the study will be a challenge because it is a small room that tends to collect piles of paper and other “stuff” that I can’t figure out what to do with. But it is also a critical room to get in order; this is the room I will need to move into when the construction on my house takes over my living room and bedroom in a few weeks. Once the study is done, I can move on to the kitchen, then the mudroom (another mess magnet!), the living room, and finally the basement.
I am finding that getting the house organized competes with other chores and goals. There are, for example, all the usual early summer garden chores, like getting all the flower beds weeded and mulched and planting annuals. Then there are all the tasks that come with a change of residence, including final utility bills from Pennsylvania, changes to automobile and house insurance, and changing my driver’s license and voter registration to Maine. Then there are major items long planned for this summer: getting the finances organized for my house addition, shopping for a new car and getting a new woodstove installed. Trying to deal with all of these things simultaneously can be overwhelming, and I also want to have some time to relax and enjoy my new life! So I’ve decided that I need to spend at least 2-3 hours a day making progress on any one of these chores (and if I work on two, I can consider that a bonus!). Some choices are obvious – work in the garden on sunny days and work on indoor de-cluttering when it rains. Other priorities will be set by deadlines or the availability of help.
Oh, yes, and I am also making sure that I include time in each day for just relaxing, reading, and savoring the new freedom of retirement.