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