6 Days

I think today is going to require managing anxiety.

We’re in the homestretch now. Including today, we have 6 days.

How do we still have so much stuff left to deal with when we’ve been working on this for so long already? I had a suspicion my husband was underestimating how much we needed to get rid of, and I think I’m going to have to force an additional purge at the new place.

Everything is even more chaotic than usual, and everything is filthy. Both of those things tend to be bad for my mental health.

Even I had more than I expected to find. Setting aside books which I trimmed by at least half, I have 2-3 boxes with a random assortment of items, from family photos to jewelry and even some things I’ve kept for purely sentimental reasons. I also have a container with art and writing going back to my childhood.

(I don’t often keep objects for sentimental reasons. When you forget where you got a thing or who gave it to you or under what circumstances it’s hard to be sentimental about said thing.)

Two of our pieces of furniture are mine, too – an elderly dresser that belonged to my paternal grandparents, and an antique claw foot table my dad gave me.

I’d forgotten about it, but that dresser is where I accidentally left the bag of candy we collected during a small parade in my grandparents’ home town. My sisters were very aggrieved with me. I was very aggrieved with myself. We’d all been looking forward to candy on the drive home.

I don’t particularly care about keeping either the dresser or the table, but I’d feel a little guilty getting rid of them.

Objects don’t tend to bring me joy. If I need something for functionality, I appreciate if it can also be aesthetically pleasing, but mementos and bric-a-brac and stuff aren’t things I need or want, generally speaking. I did enjoy collecting clothes and costume jewelry when I was younger, but as my mental health worsened I lost interest.

Things from the natural world are an exception, of sorts. I loved collecting rocks and shells and feathers as a child. I still have a jar of stones I collected from a beach in Ireland.

I’d rather collect experiences than items.

Everyone else in the house seems to want to collect as many items as possible.

I’m sipping my coffee trying to figure out just where we can start so that it will look like we’ve made visible progress. We’re still living here – we still have to use our kitchen and bathrooms and bedrooms, which makes it harder to make anything feel like it’s completed successfully and can be put behind me while we move on to the next project.

I think maybe I’ll suggest to my husband that we start with the upper floor – 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. At this point, we don’t really need to keep anything in the bedrooms other than the mattresses people are sleeping on. They need the least amount of work and cleaning, and that will at least give me the satisfaction of something being -done- and a place I can retreat from the rest of the chaos and filth over the course of the week.

I really look forward to recovering to the point that tasks like these don’t feel like they’re going to be far beyond my stamina, while also wrecking me emotionally.

Silver lining: all of this is making me think of what I’d want a studio or one bedroom of my own to look like, and just the idea of living somewhere on my own without anyone else’s junk to worry about brings a sense of relief and excitement. And that’s a dream I might only be one year away from achieving.

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