Friday, September 19, 2014

The insatiable desire for order from chaos

Insatiable, yes, that’s the word. I have been infused with the insatiable need to purge my house—every corner, every closet, everything. If you know me, you know that I have become more streamlined over the years. I no longer yearn for heavily decorated knickknacks lining every shelf in a whimsical fashion. I want spare. I want clean. I want minimal. When I was newly married, I was out buying all sorts of things from thrift stores that we needed. Garage sales, clearance racks—if it was on sale and we needed it my house enveloped it. I think envelop is the right word because when I go through things now, I don’t remember buying half the stuff I find. I’ve purged a lot over the years at our garage sales and by selling online, so my home is nothing like it was then. But, something has taken over me and it wants to clean it, all of it.

I’m thinking it has something to do with the empty house. For nearly 24 years there were children running amok in the home so we always were careful what we had sitting around. Now that they’re gone, I think Missy’s sense of style and spatial reasoning is coming back. I’ve got projects in my head that are popping out. I’ve already cleaned the kitchen cupboards and thrown everything out of the pantry. Folks, you do not want to know what was in the back of that thing. I have cranberry-dark chocolate trail mix that I now nibble on, and black corn tortilla chips that we dip in hot salsa. It is filled with things that our palates crave, and everything is arranged with clean lines and non-sticky surfaces. I cleaned out my coffee nook and threw away a myriad of containers. It is now spare and pleasurable. My bedside stands and shelf have been cleared of books I don’t need, as have my library shelves. I have a laundry basket full of books that I need to take somewhere to sell or trade, and I have my eye on more as my shelves groan a little less heavily now. I am planning on clearing all the shelves of my library and painting the insides a bright color, then arranging my books in an artful way. 

I’ve already cleaned out some of the boy’s stuff in his room he no longer needs and posted it online. The girl had her pile ready to go as she kept her room fairly spotless. I have a few things left from our eldest, but it’s bits and pieces of her life that no longer have meaning to her—except for the fuzzy pants she keeps here to wear when she comes home for Christmas. Those are neatly folded on her closet shelf. Three heaping closets, made when we created the dormers upstairs after the fire, have somehow become dens of iniquity and they are next on my radar. My fingers are itching to sort through the rubble and see what I find to sell or get rid of. This new phase of actually wanting to sift and sort is a tantalizing surprise to me. It was never something I enjoyed doing, but now I feel it’s just the shifting of the years and the wanting for things to be in order. It’s putting your life into a semblance of things that are within your control and tangible to your touch. With each piece I am gaining peace and making my world spare and clean so I can go out and do more with my life. I can’t feel as if the home is in tatters as I’m making a new way in a child-less world. I press onward, garbage bag in one hand and steely mentality in the other. With each item thrown away or sold my heart gets a bit lighter.

You can find this and my other columns on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter.