In 1984, we moved from a 3-bedroom row home in southwest Philadelphia into a 4-bedroom single home in South Jersey, and I thought that there was no way I would ever have enough stuff to fill all the square footage we’d acquired. Apparently, I didn’t know how much crap I would eventually manage to squeeze into my house over 36 years.
My 6’ x 11’ laundry room seemed small even back in 1984, when laundry appliances were nowhere near the size of the new ones now. When I had to replace my washer and dryer, I found that the larger ones wouldn’t fit along the six foot wall where the previous ones had been, requiring me to relocate the plumbing for the washer and the sink. I found that the subfloor under the old washer had essentially disintegrated – I assume from a washer leaking on it – requiring that a portion of the subfloor be replaced before I was able to install a new tile floor. The renovation took a week, and I think I started to develop claustrophobia while I was doing the work!
I had to add lots of wire shelving around the walls in the laundry room, because the Rubbermaid closet I’d previously used to store stuff in there was way too big to fit with the new appliances. I did get a smaller Rubbermaid cabinet that I put in the laundry room, thinking it would be manageable even though it was really too big for the space I had to work with, and I’ve tried unsuccessfully for all these years to declutter the top of it while arranging things inside it. Last week, I decided that the Covid-19 quarantine was the time to finally and for real tackle the mess that was my laundry room.
Since then, I’ve been amazed at the amount of stuff I managed to shoehorn into that 66 square foot space – and mortified by how much of it I should have gotten out of there years ago! I remembered why I kept procrastinating about organizing everything I keep in there, but I was determined that this time, no matter what, I was going to finally finish putting everything I had to keep in there in a designated place to help me keep it organized in the future.
Now it’s almost finished. I have several boxes of assorted cleaners, insect repellants/attractants, bird feeders and other miscellaneous crap that are being relocated down the basement. I’m sure that I could probably give away or toss most of that stuff, but not yet. When I was telling my daughter Anna a few days ago about the facemasks I’m making out of assorted items I have around the house, she actually admitted that my house is a great place to be if there’s an apocalypse! Covid-19 isn’t exactly the end of the world, but it has made me glad that I take after my grandmother, who also didn’t like to throw out things that were still good.
Anna has told her friends that I’m a pre-hoarder, but I disagree. I have no interest in collecting other people’s discards, nor do I see any value in saving trash or other useless, unsanitary items. When my kids were younger, my house was clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy (to quote a cross-stitch I have hanging in my house!), but that was when there were others here to help with the cleaning, yardwork and general upkeep. In the years that I’ve been the only one here in this giant house on more than an acre of ground, I’ve had to focus on some things while ignoring others. My kitchen table becomes a workspace for doing projects, my computer desk, and my place for meals. It means that I’m the only one who can sit here and eat, but that’s okay since I live here alone (except for Libby my cat and Frankie my bird, neither of whom sit at a table to eat!). Maybe now that the laundry room is organized, I’ll be inspired to carry it on through other rooms – if I can find the time, now that spring has sprung and the grass is growing.
I have to get rolling now – the birdcage needs cleaning, and without opposable thumbs, Frankie is of no help – and those boxes from the laundry room aren’t going to take themselves to the basement, so I’m going to see how much more I can accomplish today. At least doing these things helps distract from the craziness going on around me, like how 2 weeks ago I noticed a $500 charge on my Visa debit card from Wayfair that I knew wasn’t mine. Since I caught the first bogus charge, I was able to cancel the card before someone not me was able to completely empty my checking account. You just can’t let your guard down for a minute! Some people, I have found, are assholes.