My house started to feel so heavy. Maybe it had something to do with the inches of snow and ice weighing on the roof, but just walking into the place that was supposed to feel safe and warm felt exhausting. It was as if the moment I stepped in the door, I was a magnet for all that needed to be done...ever. There was no priority seating, nothing took a number, everything just flung itself at me at once, including the not so adorable dust bunnies that clung on to my ankles for dear life. (They can be heavier than you'd think.) I would be out in the arctic breeze thinking about all of the fantastic things I could accomplish upon my return home, but my couch was plotting against me and swallowed me whole if I dared to walk too close. Sometimes I could temporarily keep the upholstery at bay if I wielded the vacuum cleaner wand.
The thoughts about all of the changes coming this year with our son graduating and our daughter hurling herself even farther into teendom were rather oppressive. Mostly though, it was the stuff...so much stuff. It just felt so heavy, as if I had to actually carry the contents of this place on my back when I was here. "There goes mom with that Santa super-sized bag of tchochkes (I have to google the spelling of that word every time I try to use it.) slung over her shoulder. That might be her only exercise today, so let's not interfere or help her with it." My go to junk drawer projects had already been dealt with, so I was in a sort of panic looking for the next place to organize in order to restore order. No project to small, but all projects too big!
I started to pick battles with the wrong opponents, first by attempting to wage a war on our home office. You wouldn't think finding a new desk and bookcases would prove to be so difficult, and maybe it isn't if you don't care if they actually fit in the space you have available. I had to let that project go because it was making me far more miserable than the status of the office as it was. I decluttered and moved on with my life. As my daughter tells people though "The whole family felt her pain during that time." (I think it was a week.) Or there was the time when I almost repainted my bedroom that is already a color I like. I just thought maybe it needed a sprucing up, when in reality, the room was just another massive declutterfication subject. Luckily, I noticed just in time that it was the master bathroom color I despised. The fresh coat of paint initially filled me with glee, until it highlighted another issue. We had a baker's rack in our bathroom because that is where it fit fourteen years ago when we moved in. Yes, our bathroom was big enough for the shelving that did not fit in our kitchen. I had these visions of putting all sorts of plants, and maybe some candles, on it for my jet tub sanctuary. Yeah, so the tub doesn't work anymore as far as I know and those wire shelves are where sickly plants went for treatment or simply to die. Where better to hide unattractive greenery than the master bathroom, as who was ever going in there? Me. I was going in there multiple times a day, trying to balance the weight of the clutter and poor taste with my graying reflection in the ginormous mirror. Suffice to say, the baker's rack made its way to the basement where it now is a very classy piece of furniture that has been crapified with whatever debris I immediately flung on it.
Things were lightening up a bit. I asked my mother for some help with the living room and dining room, as far as figuring out why on earth it looked like the rooms had too much stuff in them. The answer may surprise you - the rooms had too much damn stuff in them. I was flinging things off the walls without my usual whimpering over my alleged treasures. After all, it was less for me to "carry". Once I could see the walls better, I had to face the fact that the room really needed a second coat of paint (when we painted it over ten years ago), but the glitch was that I did not like the color nearly enough to buy another gallon. Enter more paint swatches!
It is getting lighter in here. There is still some memorabilia to be sorted out. I feel like some of the art projects stopped celebrating my kids' accomplishments because they are now capable of more than what their small hands could shape out of clay. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of reminders of the nearly eighteen years I have been at this mom gig. I am merely lifting the weight of trying to hang on to every single one, possibly lessening my ability to carry all of the new awesome that is to come. (Make no mistake, several treasures were simply relocated.) I am about to send my son's college deposit. That somehow lightens more than the checking account, as it is a sign of forward progress instead of simply being weighed down by the process.
Last night I cleared a path in the hallway we use every single day to get in and out of the house. The test of balance and dexterity the overflowing shoes and other odds and ends provided was getting old. There are bags of things to be donated, including bags. So. Much. Lighter.
I have been wanting to write a post about the heaviness of my house for a month or so now. I make no claims about this being my finest work, but SO MUCH LIGHTER!