Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The big cleanup

Back in June, I started another decluttering challenge. I made some good progress, but then got sidetracked. Excuses, excuses, I hear you saying. But I have a doozy of an excuse. For the past two months, I've been helping a relative clean out her garage. Ever watched "Hoarders?" This could have been an episode. (Actually, I've never seen the show since we don't have cable, but I've heard enough to think that the garage qualifies.)

The first goal was to clean a path to the back so that we could remove a moldy rug. As the weeks (yes, weeks), went on, the goal was expanded to include throwing out enough stuff so that she could park her new car in the garage. So for weeks now, sometimes a few weekends in a row, sometimes skipping a week or two, we (Mr. Fxt-it and I) would show up at her house with our gloves, masks, rakes, scrapper, and heavy duty garbage bags. Yep, it was bad.

It was (and is) traumatic for all of us. She couldn't bear to throw anything away. I had to sneak stuff into garbage bags and tie them shut to discourage her from looking inside. Every weekend, we'd fill three garbage cans, the big ones (95 gallons) that you roll out to the curb for the trucks to pick up. We'd fill her recycle can and garbage can, and then fill the back of our car with more garbage bags to bring home enough to fill our garbage can. Lather, rinse, repeat. We had to stop the latter after a while because the car stank so bad in the short drive home, it was unbearable (a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea).

Every visit, it seemed like two steps forward, one step back. I'd think that we had cleared out a spot, only to find it filled the next visit. Perhaps there was a little landslide, perhaps she did more shopping, perhaps my memory was based in hope rather than reality.

Finally, Mr. Fix-it was able to cut most of the rug out (there is still a bit underneath a four-foot tall pile that we haven't been able to remove) and the car is inside. I'm not sure if and when we'll be back. I'd like to continue to help, as exhausting as it is. I'm pretty sure any open spots in the garage are slowly being filled with stuff. :(

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