It's practically the end of summer in my book. My youngest comes home from sleep away camp tomorrow and my middle child returns on Saturday from working in New York for the summer and (sadly) leaves five days later for his senior year of college. It may well be September already.
But I've been busy this summer, and I'm proud to say I've accomplished a lot. While many people kick back and chill during the summer, I get to work. Kids gone, schedules free, I roll up my sleeves and get things done. This summer was all about cleaning house. A couple of summers ago, I started at the top and worked down, but I never made it to the "downstairs." This summer was all about the downstairs.
A friend of mine gave me the inspiration to take this project on. This friend does regular volunteer work at a foundation's local office. One day, her regular duties complete, my friend decided to clean out the office's supply closet, which was a total mess. Within days of the clean-out, the office's receipts doubled. Clearing out the cobwebs certainly means more than it sounds.
I started my clean-out in the garage and moved on to the unfinished part of my basement. That's purgatory for my collectibles, mementos and projects I intend to get to someday. With the help of my sister (bless her), who comes for visits from the west coast and ends up getting down and dirty with me, we filled trash bags and stacked piles to donate. Sentimentality banished, I ruthlessly committed college text books, legal memoranda I had written and yard sale furniture I had intended to refinish to the recycling bin and donation piles. It felt so good.
Not too long ago there was a show on the Style Channel called Clean House. A TV crew came into a family's home to solve their clutter problems. First, they'd clean out the clutter, sorting stuff into piles to keep, sell or throw out. Then they'd have a yard sale, and with the proceeds, make over a room in the house. The cast member who'd help with the sort would often say just the right thing to help the family realize that they didn't need to save stuff to keep their memories alive. How true that is, I now realize.
With my basement and garage clean, it's time to move on to some design projects I've been meaning to tackle in my home. I'm curious to see if, like my friend's foundation, clearing away all that stuff makes way for some magic. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, time to enjoy what's left of summer.