• entries
  • comments
  • views

Let the Clean out begin



Pre-stroke, Bruce and I did some major renovations on our home. It was a one bedroom, one closet, Cape sitting on a beautiful acre of land. And to top it off, one row of foundation concrete block was left off - probably quick post-war construction, so we could not take the roof off, as many of our neighbors did, and go up. We went off the side with four bedrooms, another bath, closets - making the house into a split.


In 2008, we resided everything, added a new front landing. But the reason I am mentioning this is that within 4 years we had access to two dumpsters. I insisted that Contractor get the largest dumpster and told Mr. Bruce he was filling them. One actually went overweight. That is how much "stuff" we had in this house. Personally giving me a dumpster every year for my birthday would be a wonderful gift. LOL. But to the chase: I worked mainly in the basement, Bruce in the attic - nothing of mine was up there. Bruce insisted that all his "cartons" were dealt with. Well not so - LOL.


After the stroke, I worked here in the main house, since the addition was not accessible for Bruce. His office was a mess and dear niece Melissa did most of that. As Bruce recovered, I was able to bring up stuff from his office for him to go through and finally everything cleared out. Then Carl came to help with the AC and my first trip to the attic in years - unbelieveable!


So to the current. Bruce is now alone several hours four days a week. I do one welfare check about 8:30 am and he has his "chores" already done: Estim, breakfast dishes, teeth. So to keep him off the TV, been bringing down boxes and having him go through them. The small ones I can carry and whenever someone comes to visit, often moves the larger ones. I will break those down into manageable cartons as time goes on.


Carl and I did a walk through last week. Poor Carl, thinks he is moving two AC units and ends up being here for an hour doing all sorts of things for me. There are fourteen boxes still in the attic! Gotta love him! So this week, down they come. He can get through about three small cartons in his four hours. But in all fairness, some of these were family trinkets, Bruce's lesson plans, notes for his writing. When we get to just books, it will go faster. And I have to give Bruce a huge pat on the back - he only kept back two books. Erma was here today and Bruce read all morning-Cormac McCarthy. With Erma here, I did not bring anything down for Bruce. She does not need any more clutter to deal with - LOL.


We went to Odd Lots couple of weeks ago and picked up 4 - 30 gallon containers. Melissa set up a couple of shelves for "Uncle Bruce's stuff." So am adding to that. In time, will bring all of that up and have him fill his container. I am working on the other three with my stuff, photos, mementos. All to go in the closet and it will be easy for someone else to decide what to do with it. I have a lot of stuff from my parents that Mary Beth is not ready to take - so that box will be marked for her. Rest of it - who cares? Mary says someone might, so she is excited we are doing this.


Bruce was the handyman in our circle. He has several tool boxes, but often found it more convenient to load what he needed into plastic or paper bags. But of course, when he got home, just dropped the bag. I think I finally have all the bags in the garage. In the Spring, I will set up the big folding table we have and Mister will get through all those bags. Carl has offered to help here. Right now, in the basement I have several Depends (LOL) boxes: electrical, plumbing, misc. Best I can do. I will have Godson Dan come and tell me what can be donated and what needs to go. I work in the basement a lot because the laundry is done down there and mainly it is just organization. If I have one roll of Teflon tape, I have 10 but no electrical tape - that I have yet to find. LOL.


Most of our stuff is donate. So I load up the truck and Bruce is just so happy to see it going to a good cause. We purchased 10 of those inexpensive plastic chairs many years ago when all the roommates were coming and their families. Those will go to a group home next street over. And whatever we get done before Winter closes us down is a positive. For the stuck inside days, there are the attic boxes - LOL.


The amazing thing is Bruce is loving this. Sue, you were so right in advising that it might be best to give Bruce some sort of control over his "precious." I tabled the big stuff - in the main living area to get him acclimated to that going as well. I encourage the use of the Bose, so that he will be as comfortable as can be with the stereo leaving. Now if I could only retrain best friend Bob to use it, that would be a huge help - LOL.


For those of you who are concerned, I did a complete clean out of my office several months ago. I piled everything in the living room before loading it into the truck. Bruce was able to see everything and then went with me to recycling. Every drawer is empty and the bookshelf. I am not the pack rat Bruce is, but it was important for him to see that my stuff was leaving as well. Our lives have always been Bruce and Debbie. But there are parts that are just Bruce and just Debbie. We are two different people and that is what makes our relationship work. And we each had our own area as well as the Bruce/Debbie area.


Week was a bear. Flu shots, my Physical, some yard work. But we keep on truckin! Debbie


Recommended Comments

Debbie, this is just such positive stuff, decluttering and donating is like reclaiming your space. It is also a bonding experience and a boost in self-esteem for Bruce as you honour his decision-making. I wish Ray and I could have done some of this together but to Ray each thing we threw out or gave away was a personal loss, so that is why there is so much for me to go through.


I have started cleaning up the yard after the wind storm, there is a lot of debris but I will get it out of the way a bit at a time. Then it is back to the inside spring clean again.

Link to comment

Ray has been amazingly easy about getting rid of all his "stuff". Even the Corvette and his giant Lionel layout. I can't think of anything I've asked him about that he's said no. I sometimes wonder what the psychological aspect is. He used to be a hoarder; every kind of tool and accessory, 100 different stereo set ups, car parts and all the usual guy toys. I guess it's that since he can't really use them anymore, he figures out of sight, out of mind. Who needs the reminder of what was? I'm the one that knows we have to keep some of it, for repairs and yard work at least.


I have sold so much of his on eBay; it's something for me to do, keeps me very busy at times. The garage sale too. Then the periodic trips to the thrift shop to donate stuff that just isn't selling. I know we'll have to move eventually, at least if God is willing, and I will NOT be renting a giant tractor trailer with four workers like we did when we moved here. I'm hoping I can just rent a little U Haul and do it myself! It takes time, luckily we have plenty of that right now.

Link to comment

great post -- after two moves - i have more than one would like... but 4 kids who might want something as well... most of the big stuff is non sentimental and could be auctioned off.. the smaller items are the family things --- but their isent much i wouldnt just give away if someone else liked it or needed it...

Link to comment

Way to go Bruce and Debbie on the clean out and recycling. We went through Larry's "work stuff", books and manuals of all kinds. We threw out or recycled. Larry still wanted to keep a plastic container of some chemical engineering stuff (I cannot explain it). lol He said he might need it sometime for a demonstration. I kept it knowing this would never happen.


It is a good feeling to clear out the old stuff. Out with the old and in with the new. That Boze sounds good.





Link to comment

One of these days I too, and my wife maybe will try to encounter the same type of moving experience in our house. Her daughter says we live like hoarders with stuff in every corner of every room and extra space there is to see.


But what can I do with it now in my condition and one good hand??? See we combined what we had in the motor home, her house and mine when we got married and bought this home together.


I already had boxes of things left from three previous marriages and lots of military stuff I had no place or person to leave it with which I would one day need!!


The day we moved from my apt. to this house I moved stuff from a storage room too and it didn't go back in a storage building but this home mostly on the patio area and a small shed crammed full.


Debbie, the good thing is now you all got it done or nearly for sure within days of finishing never to have anything to move again.


Now hold any flooding of the basement for years to come!!!!

Link to comment



This is such great news on so many levels! I'm happy for both you and Bruce for this great accomplishment.

Link to comment

Debbie, a wonderful post. It was great to see that Bruce was a part of the cleaning up. It does feel good when you give away.

I dont like to keep anything, I dont want to get like my Mom, who is a hoarder! My parents house is big, but there is boxes everywhere, she said she is saving it for us andthe grandkids! Oh dear!



Link to comment

And that is really it. My Mom died when she was living with me. But my brother moved her from Florida and she lived with them for three years, so all the big stuff was there. My SIL had the big 4, as we call ourselves, LOL - for dinner and said "clean it out." So most came up here.


When Bruce stroked, I had to get the house ready for him to come home. My parent's stuff went into a Depends box, with Mary Beth's name on it. She is still not ready to take over the "oldest sister" responsibilities. Anything of true value left the house, as we were having strangers in.


My family stuff will go into one of the containers. Mary Beth insists that the nieces and nephews will love to go through this and really I have all the family photos at this point. They do need the time to got through and have someone explain who everyone is. My personal stuff may be fun for Mary Beth and Brittany, but most can just be tossed.


Bruce's side there is no family. There are several furniture pieces that need to go to his friend Skip. Bruce's parents and Skip's worked the farm together. Skip and his sister Diane are more like Bruce's brother and sister. All this is marked for my Executor. They are family pieces and need to be kept in the family. But then there are the Roommates and their families. Anything of value has already been given. Bruce had a beautiful suede fringed leather jacket that our Brigid loved. She is getting married this year and we had it cleaned and given to her mother. Patti will decide best time to give it to her. Artwork that his Roommate painted - has to be returned to Steve and the charcoal of the family farm needs to go to Skip.


Yes I do understand Mary Beth's point. It is always fun to sit down and remember. Laugh, cry and share stories. So I will honor that. But 3 sets of Harvard Literary Classics and Norton's Anthologies is just too much. Never mind the three collections of Dante! LOL

Link to comment

I have been working on the boxes here too. Since the house sold, it had just sat here, waiting for me to feel strong enough to start on it. I have been working the last 2 weeks, and don't know if I'll ever get done.


It's great that Bruce is able to think his way thru the stuff and sort it. A lot of our stuff is house keeping stuff. I used to like to change all wall hangings and knick knacks for the different seasons, and many different versions of blue & white plates, etc. I'm not even working on our hobbie stuff, just the 'overage' to see if it fits or is overage here. Time will tell.

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.