Living with my mom meant living with clutter. She couldn’t bear to part with anything even remotely sentimental and she was an incurable collector: china, antiques, pill boxes, books, sheet music…anything. It wasn’t so bad when I was a kid, but as I got older and her health started to decline the clutter really started to build up; she couldn’t clean and organize the way she once could. very once and a while I’d go on a huge cleaning spree and throw out a bunch of crap only to have her get pissed off because I threw out a scrap of paper from the seventies.
Her house was packed from stem to stern with stuff. One could barely move around without knocking something off of the wall or sending a stack of books to topple to the floor. There were things jammed in every corner, piled under furniture, shoved in closets; her house was a claustrophobic’s nightmare.
After she died the task of cleaning it out fell on mine and Dave’s shoulders and lemmie tell ya, it made me physically ill when I thought of the amount of work that lay ahead of us. We ended up having a one-ton garbage bin dropped in the driveway, which we filled and had dumped five times. We threw out five tons of crap, and by crap I mean teaching curriculum from the sixties, every card my grandparents received on their fiftieth wedding anniversary, receipts from gifts purchased in 1984, boxes upon boxes of sheet music and broken furniture. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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