Decluttering One’s Life…

I am in the process (seems awfully slow) of decluttering the basement. I cannot begin to tell you the monumental task this involves.

We have lived in our house since1998. For the first nearly 5 years my mother was here….actually it has been longer, a month here, a month there. We had another young lady who was kicked out of her home because she was refusing an arranged marriage. Her parents are Nigerian, she is American born. She was with us for almost a year….Last year we had a family, that due to unforeseen circumstances totally out of their control, became homeless. They were planning on sleeping/camping in their van and we took them in for almost 6 months.

Since moving into the house we’ve acquired 2 dogs (Great Pyr, Pomeranian(aka..Rat Dog)), 1 Green Cheeked Amazon Parrot, and 2 fish.

It is impossible to house break a Pomeranian…..the Pyr was house broke before the pom…He has since come to his senses. The Pom will probably not live long if he ever pees on my side of the bed again…..or poops in my husbands shoes (which wouldn’t have been so bad, had they not been his church shoes.).

The Great Pyrenees…..has lots of fur…..lots and lots of fur…..tons of white fur. Did I tell you they have alot of fur? Oh…Good!!! I didn’t want you to miss that he has lots and lots of fur. He only weighs 105 lbs. I do believe that 80 of that is fur. Just so you understand….He really has lots of fur.

The bird….well…she is just a pig when it comes to eating. Lets not even discuss her bathing issues. Which she does on a regular basis…..especially when she notices us doing extra cleaning and running the vacuum. The vacuum cleaner will usually kick off a bath for her. Just don’t stand within a 3 foot radius of her when bathing… will be sharing her bath.

Fish are fish….what can you say about fish. He is an Oscar and his playmate is a placo. My husband likes to tell the kids that come over that he is an albino piranha. With the exception of kids that will ask if the fish has been fed, then proceed to dump almost an entire bag of fish food in the tank….we haven’t had many problems with the fish. It hasn’t happened lately…but it has happened enough that we make everyone ask if the fish has been fed. We tend to get alot of company with families with lots of kids. So you may very well get asked if the fish has been fed anywhere from 3 to 12 times a day.

I really should make a sign for the tank that says…”Yes, I was fed today. You may sneak me food if you don’t ask if I have been fed today.” I would love to sit back and see just how many would actually try to feed the fish.

Our house flooded 2 years prior to us purchasing it. The down stairs actually had wall to wall to carpeting at one point. Did I mention that when my mom comes to visit she brings her dog? She is also a rat dog. This is the only little dog I have ever liked. I have never seen a dog with so much personality. She acts like a spoiled child….but only to my mother….especially when she has been ignored. It’s funny to watch a dog that weighs no more than maybe 5 lbs turn her nose up in the air and walk away when she is mad at my mother. She was the one who taught our Pyr that it was okay to have the occasional accident downstairs. Well of course she would when my mother didn’t clean up after her.

I was constantly steam cleaning that rug. Until we found out son #1 was allergic to flood mold. Uhhhh? Yes, every time I steam cleaned I would reactivate the mold spores and he would get sick. We found this out when he had an allergic reaction to a cat. I’ll let you figure that one out. The rug came out. The concrete ended up being decoratively stained a very nice faux marble, brownish in color. It is really a unique floor. Purchase a “creeper” if you should take on the task of doing this yourself. Ask your mechanic what a creeper is….He will gladly tell you.

Why was it necessary to go thru such a long litany of what we have and who has lived here? Well… house, namely my basement had become a repository for other peoples “stuff”. Not to mention that when people find out you home school, they love to offer you things they are no longer using. Some of it has been useful. Not all!! Then there is the man who has been known to dumpster dive and bring home over 20 computers….which finally made it into the man cave once he gutted and inventoried. I must not leave out the three children and myself. We are all to blame.

It got to the point though, I was so overwhelmed every time I would look at it I would just want to cry. It has been “cleaned up” several times. But not truly decluttered.

Fast forward to this Thursday. Three of my friends showed up and said they were all here to help me empty out the basement and clean up!! That was pretty cool…..and so very nice of them, until I came back from picking up dog food.

I tend to work methodically. I will start in one corner and work my around the room. I don’t have a problem per se of throwing things away…but that is just how I will do it sometimes. There really was only one way to do my basement and it wasn’t the way I would have normally worked.

It required pulling everything out and laying it out in my backyard. One room I was okay with….I wasn’t expecting all the room with the exception of the laundry room and man cave.

I took one look at the back yard and ran thru a gamut of emotions. One being anger….How in the world did they expect me to go thru all of that the way it was sitting there. Not to mention the school books that had been taken out….the other was overwhelming failure. How in the world could I have allowed this to happen? Next was tears. I wanted to cry…Yes I wanted help, but I hadn’t applied to the tv show they kept talking about which I cannot remember the name of now.

I had to walk out front for a minute and calm down. Intellectually, I knew this was the proper way to do it…..there was no easy way out of this one. I told myself, “Just one box at a time…” I knew they were right….it was just so overwhelming. That really is the only word that comes to mind.

What do you think? Did I save things or quibble over items?

My friends would proudly tell you that no, I did not. In fact, three truck loads later to the dump….we had actually made considerable headway. Unfortunately, thunderstorms moved in and what was left had to be dragged back in. Today….back out it went.

We could have had a bang up yard sale….but the likely hood of that happening was realistically next to nil. We could have donated a bit of it…..but still it would have had to sit till later next week when the donation center opened up….Would it have actually made it out? I couldn’t take that risk.

It was such an incredible show of support and kindness on my friends part to go thru all of that…..they even understood how I felt at first and were trying to offer comfort. They knew I would take one look and cry.

I have taken a few pictures, but I am not sure I want to post them…..there is that whole embarrassment factor you know. Then again….maybe it will be encouraging to someone else in my position.

We are not done….not by a long shot. We had a few major upheavals that occurred today, that put us behind a little.

Tomorrow….I want to be finished….pray that it will happen. I am now working on the school side.

To the three ladies who braved the abyss….Wendi, Margie and Colleen….Thank You for being patient with me, for not arguing or pressing things and for allowing me the courtesy of throwing my own things away. They didn’t just grab a bag and start throwing away….they did ask and that really helped.

I should mention all 14 kids that were here also…..I have three, Colleen has 6 but only 5 participated, Wendi has 2 and Margie has 7 but only had 4 with her.

My kids sorted every toy they own and even filled a giant tub with toys to donate, not to mention what they thru away. Margie’s son was a little shocked to find out that we own 60 gallons ofLego’s.

I am hoping that we can keep up the momentum and have it all done by Saturday evening………If not….Monday will be here soon.

I left out my husband….How could I do that. He was great!! He came home from work…grabbed his glass unsweetened tea and said “What do you want me to do?”

We sent him to the dump…….: )


June 23, 2007 - Posted by | Children, Decluttering, Humor, Just Life, Observances, Organization


  1. You are amazing, Ginger. I know what a challenge that chore was for you. I am so thankful that God sent those 3 friends to help you. My sister and I didn’t give my mother the same courtesy of deciding what to throw away/keep. We just took over and did the job while she was out of town. I think we really owe her an apology.

    Comment by missplacedalaskan | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  2. Big hugs Girl! I really do understand, you know that right?

    I am so glad you had help that was a help. I know of the other sort of help.

    Try to keep in mind that it is a habit that you are changing, not just cleaning the basement. It is a habit, just like biting nails or anything else. So, you will likely back slide, have the urge to fight against change, and so forth. {{{hugs!}}}

    Comment by songbirdy | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  3. Ginger, you are awesome as well. After the initial shock, which I think you handled quite well, you gained momentum and took charge. We love ya, sweetie.
    Margie’s daughter and your daughter both deserve extra thanks. Margie’s daughter took home half the children the first day for lunch and down time. And Colleen helped so much with my baby, who is in the “cling stage”. I don’t think we could have kept such good momentum without their help.

    Comment by APuritanLady | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  4. And of course I forgot to log out of your account when I commented…LOL!

    Comment by apuritanlady | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  5. Good job, Ginger!

    Comment by Sheri | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  6. (((((Ginger)))))

    You’ve got great friends there. 🙂

    Comment by Elaine | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  7. Ginger, can I say I am proud of you. I could have never done that. And such wonderful friends to help you. Sounds like you are on a roll and doing awesome. And what a great bunch of children. How awesome.

    Comment by Bobbie | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  8. Wow! You have some wonderful friends! 🙂

    Comment by jodysgirl94 | June 30, 2007 | Reply

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