Sunday, October 25, 2009



I used to laugh at my mother. She was a self-described pack-rat. The woman never threw away anything. And I mean anything. It was like playing Russian Roulette to go thru the leftovers in her refrigerator - that she kept in those plastic margarine and cool whip containers. She joked that she was waiting for it to turn the “proper shade of green.” ICK! I cleaned out her pantry in 2004 when she was sick. I found a jar of apple butter that someone had made in 1985 and given to my parents as a gift. I threw it away but not without protest. I made my father taste it to prove that it was bad. Oh.Yes.I.Did. I tried to give the argument that it was as old as Daughter #1 who was a freshman in college at the time. That apparently wasn’t good enough. And so…… the taste test.

After Lucy passed, I helped my dad go through a lot of her things. You have to wonder what goes through someone’s mind that compels them to keep a program from the neighbor kid’s band concert for 30 years.

I always thought that my brother, Smitty, was the only one who inherited this particular personality flaw trait. My sisters and I have always been anti-clutter. We like our counter tops clear. We don’t like piles of “stuff” hanging around. A place for everything and everything in its place, right?

Somehow and I don’t know how it happened, it just happened. Actually I believe it happened over time. But once again, I’ve realized that I have become my mother. I was so proud of my oh so non-pack-rat, throw it out, keep it simple philosophy only to discover this weekend that I am, in fact, a pack-rat. And I just might be the packiest rat of all. Maybe it was motherhood and all those cute little drawings that came home from school to be displayed on the fridge. But there were always more to come. I couldn’t throw them away. After all, they were priceless pieces of art. And then there were the report cards, award certificates, ribbons, essays and school newsletters. I could probably fill a landfill just with the test papers I kept. 2 kids multiplied by 13 years of schooling, not to mention preschool. (Oddly enough, I’ve never gotten any test papers from college.)

And school days keepsakes are just the tip of the iceberg. Apparently it’s been way too long since I’ve gone on a de-cluttering mission. Because let me tell you, this house is full of CRAP. All kinds of CRAP!

You see, My Harley Stud and I are attempting to downsize and simplify our lives. I’ve spent the last few weekends going through all the piles and boxes and bags of junk we’ve collected and stashed away for keepsakes or put aside. Books, unused small appliances, ancient home decor items, etc are all getting either thrown out, given away or sold in………………….the upcoming YARD SALE! Just shoot me now.

MHS keeps asking me, “Don’t you want to just take all this crap to Goodwill? Is it really worth it?” In this economy, who am I to miss an opportunity to make some extra cash? I’ll tell you who I am. A FLIPPIN’ LUNATIC!

If you never hear from me again:

1. I’m trapped under a pile of CRAP that has fallen from the top shelf of the closet.

2. I’ve taken all my yard sale earnings and ran away to a tropical island.

3. I ditched the whole project and I ran away to Canada. I really want to run away to Canada. They have all the fun.

4. MHS tied me up and put me in one of the boxes when he hauled the entire mess to Goodwill.

Anyone looking for a used Halloween costume for their toddler, Husband, teenager, dog? I’ve got them all.

Smart Mouth Broad


Sweet-Britches said...

Oh god. You have successfully made me feel mentally ill now. I'm not technically a pack-rat, as, I don't keep "stuff".

But, I do hoard empty boxes. It's weird. I can't throw boxes away. I probably have 200+ stashed all over the house and in the attic. The Hubs h*tes it!!!

tera said...

Ha! I suspect it is really a matter of you stop noticing it after a few days and then pile more stuff on top and then stop noticing it after a few days and then... well, you get the gist.

I aspire to be a neat freak just so I don't become a total clutter hound!

only a movie said...

My counters are not clear - there is clutter. But I am far less sentimental about keeping 'stuff' than I used to be. If I buy something new, I have to get rid of something...
Good luck w/ your yard sale. They can be fun. xo

injaynesworld said...

Oh, sweet Jesus... I am 60 years old and still have my baby teeth. Why? Because my mother, who's been dead for almost 40 years, saved them and I live in fear that if I throw them out she will reach out from beyond the grave and do me harm. As for clutter, I long for clutter free countertops, but no matter how I hard I try, retched little paranormal creatures continue to piles them with crap while I sleep. My long decomposed body will someday be found buried under a stack of papers, and I am powerless to prevent that.

blueviolet said...

I am cracking up picturing you packed away in a box on your way to Goodwill!

I'm not one to talk too much because I'm more than a little guilty of the same thing. Generally, mine starts accumulating because I don't find homes for things. The homeless items get put in a box or bag together, and when that bag is full, another is started.

You're right about the garage sale! Definitely do the garage sale and THEN off to Goodwill with what's left over.

Dear woman, I will pray for you.

midlife slices said...

I use to throw everything away (even wedding pictures from my first wedding) but then I discovered "antiques" and now I want to save things which results in said CRAP everywhere. My garage is full of crap, our barn is full of crap and we even have 2 storage buildings full of crap. Every time I have to wade through said crap I swear I'm having a garage sale and then I slap myself silly until the thought goes away but the piles of crap are getting out of hand. If I died tomorrow I think my kids would look at all that crap, shake their heads, close the doors and light a match. Honestly, it would probably be their best option. But then again....there could be real treasures amongst all that crap. You never know. :)

Good luck with the sale! Wish I could be there since I'm certain you have some crap I need. *wink*

Donna said...

I did'nt think I was a pack-rat either,till I hit my bathroom closet. OMG the stuff I had in there.There were 3 bags of stuff in there that was'nt really doing any good and why I still had them,I don't know.That was just one closet! Tell me why someone would keep christmas paper.Ifound some in my closet that I had evidently for a long time. The paper had turned yellow.Ewwwww! Now I wonder what is in the other 4 closets.LOL!

Kimberly said...

I hoard chap stick, lip balm. I have 75 tubes on hand on at anytime.

Crazy Charm said...

How am I not subscribed to your blog?! Craziness I tell you!

My parents basement is packed to the ceiling with all of our crap. I'm pretty sure that my mom still has her maternity clothes. My sister and I are in our 20's.

My grandmother on my dad's side was even worse. They can't walk through her attic. My dad claims there is a two foot path you can walk through.

Good luck with the yard sale!!

darsden said...


Snappy Di said...

Once it's all cleared out and gone you are going to feel so much better. I love getting rid of stuff even if I don't make any money off of it.

I've always been a clean counter kinda gal. My sis is not and it drives me nuts!

The Blue Ridge Gal

Beth Niquette said...

To answer your question (grin), she is in the process of draping the mountain over herself. She's standing with her back to the viewer, with face upturned and arm overhead. I LOVE it when a person looks and looks at my work--then has an "aha!" moment! (Grin)

I'm in the process of cleaning out stuff myself. It is so hard to throw stuff out that has any kind of sentimental attachment. (sigh)

manker said...

yup i'm more' n more into the "less is more" mode... aka if i"m pitchin', i'm ditchin'.... i always always feel better


Linda said...

I moved 12 times in the 6 years I lived in Colorado. 3 times after moving back to Illinois and 9 times since 1990. I do NOT keep anything!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Oh how I can relate. My grandpa was a packrat, my dad is a packrat, and sadly, I am, too. But it didn't truly start until after I got married and had Princess Nagger. I'm astounded at the amounts of paper that are brought home every. single. day. And both she and my hubby are not so good with remembering to put things away - so I sort of 'gave up' having a neat and tidy house.

But the stuff I've accumulated? It's driving me crazy. I may take your lead and start to purge all the crap and simplify my life. Wish I could hire someone to do it for me. Then I wouldn't be "Oh, I'll use that someday" like I tend to do. ;)

Good luck with the yard sale - hopefully you'll earn enough to run away to an exotic island or Canada. :)

otin said...

LOL! I pack stuff away for a while and then I go on a throw out spree! I am not really a saver!

Michel said... did NOT just say you love CANADA did you?? *gasp* I don't even know you.

If you really want to change this packrat lifestyle, become a foreign service officer and move every two years. You start to throw out shit before you even finish using it - just to preemptively not have to potentially pack it out.

I'm glad you are back - I just noticed, fyi. I'm a trained observer. AND i like the revolving pics! Nicely done!

Mrs. K said...

i keep her tests for one semester once grades come out,i purge. i cannot stand to collect stuff yet my house seems very cluttered- go figure

Arkansas Patti said...

Very funny post but I fear it struck a painful nerve. I deny being a pack rat but see the debris all around when I really look. Surely there is a 12 step program.

Lone Star Queen said...

You know you will need one of the items as soon as you purge. It never fails! Nevertheless, I'm with you on wanting to simplify my life! We are working on that too. Good luck with the garage sale.

Jan said...

After cleaning out The Young One's closet and drawers and finding enough outgrown stuff to clothe an entire elementary school, cleaning out the stuff that was stored in the guest bedroom closet, realizing that we are NEVER going to wear those clothes in the back of our own closet that no longer fit ever again and cleaning the garage, Beloved announced we, too, will be having a garage sale.

I may go missing with you.

Gaston Studio said...

I can commisserate a bit about keeping STUFF, but every few years, I sort, purge, throw away, and have a yard sale with the remains. What I don't understand is why it doesn't all sell! Didn't I just do all the work and weed out the trash so that others could enjoy the treasures?! ;-)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Parallel universe or what SMB? I have been purging over here too. I sold three boxes of my books at the used book store this weekend.

We are thinking of renting our house and moving someplace smaller, where the kids don't have to commute so much.

After 16 years in the same house, I cannot believe how much crap we have accumulated.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I am doing the same thing! We are prepping for a yard sale and I cannot wait to take back my garage! I also have an entire wall with stuff just "hanging out" against it to put out for the sale and I want to declutter my home. I am like you in wanting my countertops clean and less populated.

Mrsblogalot said...

I can't stand to throw anything away! It's sick. Just add it to my list

Oz Girl said...

LOL... take your yard sale earnings and get that villa in Puerto Rico!! :)

After I moved here to KS, I went through all my son's school stuff with the intention of making a very creative scrapbook for his last birthday. My husband found that immensely hysterical... as he put it, "and you think he's really going to be excited when he gets that??"

So the scrapbook sits unfinished somewhere, and I hauled all his school stuff and tae-kwon-do and pee-wee baseball uniforms and teeth, etc. in a big rubbermaid tote with me when I visited Ohio in December 2006. I think it's still sitting in his basement with the lid tightly secured.

Good luck on your simplicity mission. It's definitely a very lofty one. :)

(Warning: Remember the woman who was in the news last week - she sold a genuine Picasso at her garage sale for $2. I think it's worth millions. She's seriously ill last I heard.)

Oz Girl said...

Oh almost forgot... I gave said son his Davy Crockett hat too. He adored that hat and wore it everytime we went hiking along the Chattahoochee River in Georgia.

Now HE'S wondering why he has all that crap, I'm sure. HA!!

Mrsupole said...

I am so sick in keeping all of our crap. We have lived here for over 24 years and I never throw anything away. I have given some to the Goodwill, but then just go buy more. We have a 3-car garage and you cannot even walk in it due to the stuff, let alone with what is stored up in the attic part of the garage.

Ewww, I am not gonna go up and see what is in those boxes. I know the critters have turned it into their home and I just could not stand to fall off the ladder if one of them jumped out at me. And the other critters have made their home in the rest of the garage. Nope I am not gonna go looking in those boxes.

And we have four bedrooms and one you cannot even walk into because someone just started throwing stuff into it and then everyone kept throwing more stuff. And I know the other critters who like to live in a house are living in there. No there is not enough money to make me go through that stuff.

My kids and grandkids will just have to burn the whole house down when we die. Although I have thought if it all burns down while I am still alive, I can just start all over again collecting more stuff.

Maybe when the fires out here begin, I should just grab my laptop and run. But then I need to grab the pictures and all the stuff from the girls and the grandkids and then all the paperwork from our married life. And oh I cannot bear the thought of leaving all my kitchen gadgets and small applicances, the Kitchenaid mixer has to come also. Then my clothes need to be grabbed also because I hate shopping for clothes. Then the other two computers and big screen TV and......oh hell, I might as well just die here. Yup and then they can burn the house.

I am such a sick packrat, oh so sick and I can match Sweet-Britches on those empty boxes, I save all the boxes to pack all that stuff I own, just in case we move. I mean it tells you on each box to save it to transport the item safely to the repair shop or if you move. Oh, I am so sick.....

God bless.

My word verification is rerjec, see it even knows I am sick.

Tony Letts said...

I love that expression - the apple doesn't fall far.....wife and I are both hoarders - never know when you might need it!