Love Uncluttered

I spent the past two weeks pretty entrenched in family stuff. My Dad is selling his house and buying a condo on the beach. My sisters were in town, so we’ve been furniture shopping and started to sort through some of the stuff in the house, figuring out what he’ll take with him (15%), what my brothers and sisters and I will take (15%) and what will be sold at the massive garage sale we’ll have (we can all figure out this percentage, I hope).

I’ve talked in the past about the mounds and mounds of clutter and crap my stepmother amassed. My Dad lived in a house full of clutter with her for thirty-five years and never complained. The house was always relatively clean, but there was nary a surface unoccupied. And as each of us moved out of the house she took over our rooms and filled the closets and drawers with little gifts she thought the kids would like, or napkins for a future dinner party, or address books (we’ve found at least twenty, filled with the same addresses over and over and over again). There are hundreds of glasses, every kitchen gizmo and gadget you can think of (and some we still have no clue about), family heirlooms and enough serving dishes to give one to every soldier in Iraq. Well, not really. But a LOT.

Now that she’s not there my Dad’s innate need for order (I am an accountant’s daughter) has resurfaced, and with a vengeance. He cannot tolerate any new mess, any new clutter. Extra food brought into the house for the duration of my sisters’ stay is already out of the house, and my sister doesn’t leave until tomorrow. This after noon he asked us to clean up the kids’ toys, about 1/2 hour before more grandkids were showing up. We explained and he relented, but the mess really bothers him.

His new home will be very different from the one he lives in today. The furniture will be less ornate (his new bedroom and dining room sets are lovely and elegant with very clean lines), there will be surfaces uncluttered, and likely there will be empty drawers. To me a much more relaxing place to be.

But that’s not the point.

What’s so fascinating, so wonderful, so cool, is how he adapted for the woman he loved. She brought him so much joy that he learned to live with the clutter, the shopping bags, and the bills. He didn’t try to control the house or her love of stuff. I don’t think he even noticed that much; not until she was gone.

We all deserve to be loved like that, don’t we?


6 Responses to “Love Uncluttered”

  1. Patty Says:

    Very cool, and very refreshing that he is finding the peace he needs to move back on to his own way.

  2. Funny about Money Says:

    LOL! My stepmother was like that, too!

    They married late in life, after my mother died–my father was 67.

    All the stuff the new wife had jammed into their apartment just drove the poor man nuts! He had gone to sea all his life, lived in a small cabin on a tanker, where all you had was what you could carry on in a brief-case-sized suitcase. She had been a teacher all her life…where what you did was squirrel away stuff that you might find a use for in the classroom someday, somehow. She had file cabinets filled with articles she’d clipped and newsletters she’d saved. To say nothing of cabinetsful of tchotchkes and antique chairs you couldn’t sit on. It was hilarious!

    Anyway, he finally persuaded her to get a rental locker and haul a lot of the junk to that. I never could tell any difference in their house, though. 🙂

  3. JHS Says:


    Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted by Jen at Diary of 1. Be sure to drop by tomorrow, April 28, 2008, and check out some of the many wonderful articles submitted this week!

  4. My Economic Stimulus Check Didn’t Arrive When Promised! « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] down – all those people checking to see if their money arrived. I had to leave home to do the World’s Biggest De-cluttering Job to get my Dad’s house ready for it’s first official showing, so I wasn’t near a […]

  5. Thanks, Jerk « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] August 8, 2008 — BeThisWay I’m still working to get the clutter out of my Dad’s old house, even as he’s already been in the new place for three […]

  6. A year ago… « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] year ago I was cleaning crap out of my Dad’s house.  This year I’m moving crap into my Dad’s […]

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