You know that near-empty room in my house…middle daughter’s bedroom after she moved out last week? Yeah, that one.
It’s not empty any more. The other day I embarked on a mission to clean that room, and I’m a little ashamed to admit that a fully clothed bed and a refinished antique dresser now occupy that previously empty space.
Hubby visited the basement and emerged with an extra bed that we just “happened” to have stored down there. We moved the dresser over from another smaller bedroom that…wait for it….had too much furniture in it.
If you’re reading this blog, you know by now this is Mama’s “Empty” Nest. Well, mama’s nest apparently may be empty of people but unequivocally is not empty of people’s stuff!
Too much stuff!
You may have heard of a honky-tonk music singer-songwriter named Delbert McClinton. Ten years ago or so, he released an album with a catchy little tune called “Too Much Stuff” on it. Some of the song lyrics go like this:
“Well, it’s way too much.
You’re never gonna get enough.
You can pile it high
but you’ll never be satisfied.”
“Yeah, too much stuff. Too much stuff.
Too much stuff. Too much stuff.
You never get enough ’cause there’s just too much stuff.
You know you can hurt yourself, fooling with too much stuff.
Yeah, it’ll tear you down, fooling with all that stuff.”
No kidding! Delbert, did you sneak into my house when I wasn’t looking? Now honestly, I truly do not want more stuff. So I’m not trying to satisfy my inner child or something by acquiring more stuff to pile high like the song says. On the contrary, I’m trying to eliminate most of this stuff!
And the fact that I can furnish an empty bedroom in less than a day from stuff already in my house just doesn’t make me whistle a happy tune, no matter how catchy it is. Sorry, Delbert. Having three different choices of comforters to dress up that bed should have been my first clue that “Houston, we’ve got a problem here.”
So let’s take inventory. Oldest daughter “moved out” a few years ago. So why is some of her stuff, including formal dresses and little boxes full of who knows what, still taking up residence in the smallest bedroom closet? And why is there a moving box labeled “Daughter #1’s stuff” hogging floor space? And shall we discuss her abandonment of that 7 foot long couch, small dinette table with two chairs, and other assorted odds and ends in my basement? Of course, we can’t find a good home for this lost and wayward furniture yet because son may need this stuff when he finally moves into a place of his own (more on that later).
Too much stuff!
As you know, middle daughter moved out recently. Of course, she left behind her childhood memorabilia, scrapbooks, pig collection, and reading books on the bookshelf. But wait, that’s not all! When I slid open her closet door, a few hanging clothes waved hello to me, along with fancy shoes from some high school prom or something or other, a pair of ratty old slippers, and more formal dresses.
If I combined all the beautifully beaded and bespangled prom and bridesmaid dresses hanging forgotten and forlornly in those two bedroom closets, I could have my own formal dress consignment shop! On top of that, middle daughter’s closet shelves are still loaded and guess what’s lurking in my basement? More of her belongings including college textbooks, microwave, and I can’t even speculate what else.
Too much stuff!
More inventory. How shall I describe son’s bedroom? For the most part, it looks like he still lives in there…somewhere. Okay, I must be fair, right now he resides in temporary housing until he finds a place of his own over there in that state next door, so technically he has only moved some of his clothes and personal items out of our house. That’s why his room is still full AND there are boxes and bins and storage containers and exercise and sports equipment and chairs and tools all belonging to son in the basement.
Too much stuff!
The problem as I see it is this middle age scenario in which hubby and I are held captive. When you arrive at this magical age, the kids are moving out, but they only pack up what they want to take with them. The rest of the junk – “Oh no, you can’t throw THAT away!” — gets to hunker down at home and keep Mom and Dad company!
We’re like the cheese squeezed in the middle of the sandwich. The bread on one side of the sandwich represents the kids and all their belongings. [Yes indeed, we spent a lot of “bread” on all that stuff too!] The bread on the other side represents the items you “inherit” from your parents when they pass away. “Well, someone has to keep those things! Oh yes, we can certainly use this thingamajig and that whatchamacallit.” So you wind up squeezed into a house – on matter how big it is — with everyone else’s stuff.
Too much stuff.
The daunting part is I’ve already been de-cluttering our house, donating items to charities and garage sales, cramming the trash bins full. For two-thirds of our marriage, hubby and I moved around the country every few years.
When you move a lot, you tend to purge your household and shed unwanted, unneeded items easier. You know the old saying, “A rolling stone gathers no moss?” Well, my saying used to be, “A moving mama gathers no stuff!” But not any more!
We’ve resided here the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere during our marriage. That’s 12 years of acquiring, accumulating, storing, inheriting, preserving, organizing, categorizing too much stuff! And by the way, I haven’t even addressed hubby’s stuff yet. Oh boy, that one’s going to be tricky!
Watch out all you stuff lurking in my basement, hiding in closets, lounging in the garage, burrowing in boxes. Mama’s gearing up for the three E’s: expulsion, elimination, and eradication. Too Much Stuff, you are forewarned; I’m throwing down the gauntlet. Only one will reign triumphant and that’s gonna be me!