Monday, December 12, 2011

House Cleaning- Metaphorically Speaking

I have been literally cleaning house for the last several months, while getting ready for our move from California to Missouri. I have been metaphorically cleaning house as well. Mr. BC and I have been married for MANY years and have moved many times, usually every two or three years.  Those moves were relatively easy, as happens, when one is moving every few years.  Our moves were fast and compact.  This move differs, in that we have lived in this house for 27 years and moving to his late mother’s home in Missouri.  We went through many of her things with his sister last year; however the house is still furnished with his memories and much of her stuff.
With so many years in the same house, this move and attendant house cleaning, is more difficult.  We have grown from a house and garage, to a house, garage, attic, and storage unit and many junk drawers.  With the detritus of our life, we have outgrown our surroundings.  We have been brutal. When it comes to the garage, Mr. BC is clearly a hoarder. However, in the house, unless it was his belongings, I sorted through things without much consultation with him.  It is still slow going, what with those pesky memories intruding. We truly pared down and only kept the most important and most used of our possessions.  Salvation Army, recycling, yard sales and the dump  gets the rest of the stuff.
All of this sorting and moving has been stressful, tempers have flared, muscles have been pulled and feelings have been hurt. We have had a lot of togetherness since retirement and I am now looking towards cleaning my metaphorical house with some alone time after Christmas.  I am flying back to California to spend time with DD1 before the new baby arrives; and to pack the rest of our belongings. We need the time away, both of us need to remember that we are Fun People!  Mr. BC will join me the first of February to await the birth of our grandson and for the last of the literal house cleaning. We got a house to sell and Fun to Have.


Think of a time that you “cleaned house.” Consider the subtext—we’re not writing about Windex here. We’re writing about relationships. Or feelings. Or a captured moment in time.


  1. Oh, cleaning like that is brutal. Why is it that we always seem to outgrow our surroundings. I live in a three bedroom home with just me and I am FULL. Moving is tough no matter what, but when it's after a loss, it's much harder. Good luck, literally and metaphorically speaking!

  2. I can't imagine moving after living somewhere for 27 years, nor moving into a home that had belonged to a family member. I understand your desire for a little alone time :)

  3. Ouch - 27 years? The longest our happy family has ever lived anywhere so far is 7 years...and we borrowed a dumptruck from a friend to cart stuff to the dump!

    It's so hard to go through things after losing someone. Everything has meaning, and it's hard to figure out if something is actually precious or if it's just the memory of the person attached to it.

  4. We've lived in our present home for 32 years and the thought of moving would give me nightmares! :0

  5. We have been in our current house just over 16 years. The longest we've stayed anywhere. And I already dread the thought of moving whenever that eventuality comes. Good luck with the move, the acclimation and the new grandbaby!

    Thank you for you kind words on my post : )

  6. You have so vey much on your mind, I can see where the physical clean out feels good and the mental one, exhausting.

    Good luck with the move and bring on the quiet time! You're definitely due for some!

  7. I might just have given up and just left it there. Too bad! It sounds hard and stressful. But hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

  8. I can't imagine moving out of a house I have lived in for 27 years! We've lived in ours for only 5 years, and the amount of stuff we've collected is at least double that of what we had when we moved in. Fun is definitely to be had! Good luck!

  9. What a stress around this time of year. Hope all goes well for you. I just moved myself.. but hadn't been there 27 years. Yikes!

  10. It is interesting what our Stuff says about us, isn't it? My husband definitely hangs on tighter than I do. But, as you read in my post, I'm not above reproach. Might I suggest a service like 1800junk to help make the process MUCH easier. As a frequent mover, I use them all the time. If you sort your stuff into landfill, recycle, and donate, they will haul it off to the appropriate places. They even shred old hard drives and donate computers. I ADORE them and they're Earth-friendly, simplicity-friendly ways. Sometimes I have them come twice a move, once in the early clean out and once a day or two before the move.

  11. Oh, honey.

    I get it. I have a house full of my mother-in-law's stuff. Untouched.

    It will be a job and a half.

    And the balance between honoring memory and ruthlessly chucking? It's a delicate one.

    Here's to a relaxing holiday, away from all the stuff that weighs us down...literally and figuratively.

  12. My husband and I moved almost every year for the first 7 years of our marriage. I understand the fast and efficient moves. They taught us not to keep anything we don't really need.

    Last year we finally bought a house. I'm hoping it'll be one of those 27 year homes!