I strongly dislike nail polish. It’s not the colours, or the smell or even the fact that using a toothpick to painstakingly paint little pictures of stars, flowers or hearts on 10 teeny, tiny canvases seems like a rather frivolous waste of time. Nope, it’s not any of those things. The reason I strongly dislike nail polish is because, strange as this may sound, I’m a little claustrophobic and when I put polish on my nails my fingers can’t breathe. That’s right. For some reason, which I suspect will forever remain unknown, nail polish does that to me. So I do what any reasonable and clear thinking human would do. I don’t wear any, ever. Which is why you will probably be surprised when I tell you that I am, right now, attempting to remove some glossy, red paint off of my thumb nail. All this because, if I can put it this way, curiosity appears to have killed the cat. But here’s why.
I’m cleaning. This is not your run of the mill “a little dust, a little vacuum” kind of clean. Right now the entire family is in the midst of a knockdown, drag-out fight against clutter. And we’re about 30 years too late. Do you have any idea how much junk four people can accumulate over 30 years? Well I do. And to put an end to this guessing game, let me just tell you, it’s a lot. But what has to be has to be so without further ado the time has come for us to rid ourselves of the treasures we have somehow managed to accumulate over these many years. Because, as you may have heard, we are moving. Soon. And we simply can’t take all of this stuff with us which I believe is a reasonable, and rather easy conclusion to have arrived at based on the fact that we have less space in the new place than we have now. Not a whole lot less. But less all the same and, to add some insult to the injury, that “less space” comes in the form of no basement. And we all know that the basement is such a handy place to put all the stuff that you don’t really need but hate to part with. Which I am afraid has caused some, but not all of the problem we now face.
The most difficult part of this whole exercise is figuring out what to take and what to leave behind. That’s figuratively not literally since the person who is replacing us in our home probably, and I say this with some confidence, would frown upon us doing so. Now if I was the kind of person who played by the rules I most likely wouldn’t be in this pickle. I mean I’m a big fan of reality TV and, at least for a while, there were any number of shows dealing with the organization of “stuff”. So I am no stranger to advice on how to manage this whole thing. I know about the “keep”, “donate” and “discard” bins. And I can’t count the number of times I have heard that, perhaps now overused and almost impossible to abide by rule, “one in, one out”. Let’s face it. I don’t always buy something to replace something else. Sometimes I just buy something because I like it. And maybe, just maybe, I like all the other ones I have that are like “it” too. Sometimes I need an “extra” one of something. Like a spatula. Who doesn’t sometimes need an extra spatula? Or something in another colour. Maybe I bought a green T-shirt. That doesn’t mean I can throw out a blue one. Does it? I rest my case. One in, one out simply does not work.
I suppose that’s why I now find myself wading through a plethora of stuff, which wouldn’t be so bad if I could at least follow that “touch things only once” rule. But when you come upon things that you haven’t seen for a very long time, sometimes you get distracted. Which seems to be the case, even for a shallow person like me. Call it nostalgia or call it whatever you want, but sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses. Like finding pictures of your kids when they were really, really small and spending a little time remembering the days before they could walk and talk and stay out all night at the bar. Or coming across a rock you brought back from a camping trip you took years ago because you liked its colour or shape, and thinking back to how much fun it was to sleep in a tent and cook hot dogs over an open fire which you had almost forgotten you ever did because they very rarely allow you to do that at the Hyatt. Or finding a little bottle of nail polish that you never even knew you had and deciding to try it on because you are curious to know if it still makes you feel claustrophobic. These are the times you discover that rules really were made to be broken. Unfortunately, what t has also made me discover is this cleaning thing is going to take me a lot longer than I thought.