Monday, December 22, 2008

The Attic

I know it’s been a while since I posted… and I could spend several paragraphs telling you about how I’ve been sick (still am) with fever, coughing, headaches, chills, etc., but that would be boring. And a few paragraphs more about the three days my daughter and I just spent in Jackson, cleaning our my mother’s assisted living apartment and visiting her at the nursing home. But that also might be boring. Not that we didn't also have a good time at the beautiful new outdoor mall in Ridgeland, Renaissance, where we found the Lucky Jeans store (for Beth) and Anthropologie, which was a really cool place. And yes, we had fun at dinner with my nieces, Aubrey and Chelsea, Friday night, and Aubrey's husband, Tommy, at PF Chang's. Didn't take pictures though.

But what Beth has been doing since we returned to Memphis Saturday afternoon is anything but boring. She’s been cleaning out our attic! Yes. Three days before Christmas.

Here’s how it happened. We were talking about houses (she’s in architecture grad school) and she was suggesting ways I could make our current house (which I don’t like) better and I was saying I’d rather just wait ‘til I get into a house I really like, but she realized how much the disorder in this house is bothering me, especially the attic, because if I clean out something in the house, like a closet or bookshelves or drawers, there’s no place to put stuff I want to store. Seriously, you could not walk through the attic as it was… dozens of yucky old cardboard boxes, many opened with their contents spilling out. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it … it would have made a great “before” picture. Instead I took it after Beth emptied everything out of it, into her room, which opens directly into the attic on the second floor of the house.

Here’s the almost empty attic.

But here’s how it happened. When we got home from Jackson, we unloaded all the stuff from my mom’s apartment (my car was packed full) upstairs, into the room where all the boxes of stuff from her house have been since I cleaned it out in May of 2006. So that room now had about 20 boxes of “Granny Effie stuff.”

Next we went to Home Depot and bought 40 large Rubbermaid tubs with lids and white tape for labeling everything with a black Sharpie.

Over the next 24 hours, Beth completely cleaned out the attic and room with Mom’s stuff, threw away a good bit of stuff, packed up quite a few Goodwill boxes, and organized everything else into the tubs and labeled them. And in the process, as she found treasures I hadn’t seen in years, I would get excited and think about ways to use them in my newly organized house. And so many photographs I haven't been able to find as I've been scanning pictures from albums in our den as I continue to work on my memoir.

Here it is—my newly organized attic. Voila!

And here’s the other end. Pretty amazing, huh? Almost makes me want to put in rugs and a rocking chair. Almost.

So, now I can start to clean out the stuff that’s bothering me downstairs and finally feel at peace in this house. We kept a dozen empty containers for my overflow when I start with the closets and drawers downstairs. Yep. I’m really hoping for a serious trickle down affect… a reorganization that starts at the top.

And my realtor is going to love our attic when we get ready to sell and find something that works better for our lifestyle. When the market gets better. Now we’ve got one of those attics that house-shoppers walk into and say, “Oh, my God! Look at how organized they are!”

Who knew that an organized attic would end up being the Best Christmas Present Ever? But it is. Thanks, Beth.


Erin said...

That's it. I'm not reading your blog anymore. That made me feel sick. Wish I had a Beth.

Sarah Anne said...

Me too! Does she hire out?

ccm said...

i always hate myself when i organize (er, on the rare occasion when i organize) and i don't buy enough matching plastic containers. i like to have monocromatic boxes.
the attic looks awesome, go beth!

Anonymous said...

Beth, please come to St. Barbara Monastery when you finish with TN. Please give Jason and See my love and best wishes. I will always remember the year he came to my house and MADE me come to your home.

Sr. Thekla

Susan said...

I am sorry to have to announce that none of you can afford Beth's services at this stage in your lives... I mean, really, Erin and Sarah Anne, you're barely older than Beth! And Caitlyn, you're younger! And I'm afraid the nuns in California can't afford her air fare, Sr. Thekla. I know I'm sounding stingy, but hey-I'm 57 and I just now have an organized attic for the first time. And yes, Sr. Thekla (aka Anne Marie) I'll pass along your wishes to Jason and See, and we all remember that Christmas with fondness.

Jason said...

the ironic part is... who would have ever thought this blog about cleaning would star beth and not me. hah!

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