Bruce and I went to Aunt Marge’s to pick up the small gas stove that we plan to use in the summer kitchen. This assumes that it will stop raining someday and the kitchen will actually get built. The house is huge; four floors from cellar to attic, with 14 foot ceilings and nooks and closets galore. Each nook and each closet, each flat surface was covered with stuff. Few people who grew up during the depression ever throw anything away and Aun Marge is no exception. She has boxes of boxes. We found a box filled with the wooden sticks that come in floral arrangements. Saddest to me were the wedding gifts, carefully stored away for a “special occasion”.

I empathize with Aunt Marge. I can get caught up in the “you never know” syndrome. I have more fabric, more kitchen gadgets and more bedding tha I will probably ever use. The solution of stockpiling to address future needs becomes today’s problem of too much clutter choking your life energy. Too often, the solution to the too much stuff problem is to buy more stuff. Storage units, plastic bins, sheds, additions and even new houses are bought to find homes for the excess in our lives. It may be neatly stacked and inventoried but it’s still clutter.

Every year or two I get serious about getting rid of the stuff that I have no need of. I do a good job in the beginning but my interest and enthusiasm fades over the course of weeks and the job is never quite complete. Did I hear a gasp? Did you perchance think that I lived some charmed life where all was neat and perfect.” Think again. My life is just as messy as many and probably far messier than many of my readers. But ever the optimist, I live to try again.

The Great Clean Out begins today. I am starting in what should be the spare room/sewing room. In reality, it’s the catch-all overflow space with all manner of junk clogging up the works. The basement will follow. I might even get to the attic where I can unload the boxes I packed away when we moved in, 22 years ago. Who knows. Maybe I’ll even find some of those wedding gifts I was saving for special occasion. Perhaps today, with its rain and gloom is special enough.