I can clean my entire house and outside area in an hour, including changing the bed.
I don’t have to think about laundry every day because I don’t have a washer and dryer.
The laundry sits in the basket for a week until I go to the laundromat. Yay!
I always know where my little dog is sleeping.
If my neighbors are annoying, I just move.
I love cooking on my tiny stove in my tiny pans and flipping eggs with my tiny spatulas.
I only have clothes that I like and actually wear now.
In the middle of the night, the bathroom is remarkably close.
My bed is in the living room. So is the kitchen.
I like the word rolling. I like doing it even more.
If no one knows where I am on my birthday, I can skip a year.
It’s not official until you eat the cake.
I can chase sunshine and never endure a below freezing winter again.
It’s my last night in Oklahoma, for now.
Tomorrow morning, I head out to Florida.
Tonight, I learned to raise the jacks and hitch up the trailer, including sway bars and chains. Sway bars are heavy!
I bought a shoulder bag for my one lonely computer (we lost three comrades to downsizing) and for my three external hard drives.
Perfect computer bag and it was on sale.
I downloaded two full older WD drives, a desktop and two laptops onto my Western Digital 4 TB external drive. 985, 161, 000 files.
Almost a million files. I was shocked.
I still have another external hard drive, my one laptop and a baggie full of flash drives to back-up, so I’m sure to climb over the million mark.
Tucked my tablet in the bag too.
I destroyed two old hard drives and I was really proud that I could let them go.
Usually, I back-up files and keep both copies, which explains almost a million files.
Before I moved into my tiny house on wheels, I got rid of 95% of what was in my ten-room house.
I saved two tiny kitchen pans that are special to me, and it was a good decision.
Last night, I cooked hamburgers in my tiny frying pan, then used it to make a tiny batch of chili.
It was difficult to decide on how much of each spice to toss in to about four cups of chili, but the end result was delicious.
We had burgers for lunch, and I stored the chili in a tiny pot and it fit perfectly into my tiny fridge.
Instead of a gallon of chili, I had enough to feed me four very filling meals.
I think I’m having decluttering remorse.
Almost like waking up after a blackout, trying to remember each item I tossed.
“I threw away what last night?”
I don’t really need to item by item remember, because it ALL went.
What was in the last room that I attacked with the rage born from exhaustion and frustration?
Just everything I had thought was important enough to move from house to house, even if I never opened the boxes.
The next day was moving day, and I thought the last room would only take a few hours. Although the anxiety I felt every time I went in there over the past year should have warned me.
It was just a corner filled with boxes. Boxes I hadn’t opened since two houses ago, some hadn’t been opened for twenty years.
I had spent the last three weeks decluttering. Selling and giving away the contents of a ten-room house, cellar and garage.
I was on a roll. How hard could this last corner be?
I had thrown away my wedding heels a few months ago, so I thought I had toughened up.
The contents of several boxes had been scattered for weeks, opened and left, the victim of my confusion. Well, I had no choice now.
Tonight, was my deadline and I dug in, armed with kitchen trash bags. It didn’t take long for me to go downstairs and find the huge, green bags.
I always knew I was a good packer, but I don’t know how I fit so much content into those boxes.
I filled at least six green bags with CD’s and cassettes and that was just the beginning.
Some of the CD’S had been special to me. Our ten-year anniversary by Alabama I had signed, “Then Again…Forever, you and me.” I kept that one.
I had listened to and loved each CD at some time in my past.
As I looked through them, I was overwhelmed by how many there were and I began to grab handfuls, shoving them into the green bags.
So many material things I no longer needed or wanted, but surely my frustration added volume to the trash pile.
I was angry, and I was sad, and I just wanted to be free from stuff. Too much stuff.
Our mind is like a computer and it captures every little thing we have ever done, seen or felt and much of my frustration was because I was replaying those memories as I threw each thing away.
My wedding dress got special treatment. It was 3:00 a.m. and I walked outside and hung it on a tree beside the yard sale.
My neighbor was still outside because she was getting ready to have a yard sale with me, and she said, “You have to take a picture,” and of course, I did. As I took pictures, I realized that I was trying to capture my emotional whirlpool in a snapshot of a wedding dress.
The dress had fit like it was designed for me, draping my tiny hips, and it had made Mum smile, because back then, I seldom wore dresses. As I ran my fingers down the silky dress, I could see her smiling face.
I remembered the day I went shopping for it with my mum and how proud she was that I was marrying such a good man, a man who worked and took care of me and my three kids financially.
She special ordered artificial roses for my corsage and for the wedding, because I was allergic to flowers and I remembered how the florist thoughtlessly sprayed them with rose perfume and I sneezed all day.
I threw the still rosy corsage away too tonight, along with a box of wedding day souvenirs.
We never dreamed thirty-eight years ago it would end this way, my wedding dress hung in a tree for a yard sale, all alone in the dark. Us, living in separate houses. Big ouch.
Couldn’t hold on till morning. Needed to let it go, let it go.
He was here helping me finish up the packing and for the closing, and I couldn’t afford to show any weaknesses in front of him. It was a real test.
His heart was hurting as he saw me throw away our memories.
The picture Mum bought me because she thought it looked like us, my IHRA umbrella and hundreds of presents he had bought me.
I think it hit him hardest when he saw my books start to go. Fifteen house and thirty-eight years, and through it all, he’d been complaining about moving my books. I always found ways to resist his demands to get rid of the damn books, because I loved my books. I had learned that if I carried the boxes in and out of the moving trucks, it wasn’t as bad, but even then, the “weight” it added bothered him.
I usually soothe him when he’s hurting, even if he’s sad because he hurt me, but not anymore. Not anymore. Recovering codependent, yes, I am.
Now, as I rerun the night of the huge declutter through my mind, I am proud and sad and proud.
I let it go, I let it go.
I let it all go so I could move on, move into my twenty-foot Coachmen Nano Apex travel trailer and on to the next chapter of this story I am living as I create it.
I took pictures of things that touched my heart as I tossed, and that was enough stuff, for me.
John has my Bobbsey Twins books.
I don’t know John very well. I met him when he bought eleven boxes of books from me.
I like any man that buys eleven boxes of books. He must be good, right?
When I called him a few days later and asked him if he would like to own my Bobbsey Twins, free of charge, he said yes.
He came back with all the books he had bought in his van, because he hadn’t found room for them in the house yet, that’s how I know he loves books.
He took the Bobbsey Twins, but he told me, “If you ever want them back, you call me.”
I thought that was an awesome thing to say.
He said that he would keep them safe and treasure them.
I love that, John, but I will never call you for those books. I let them go and I let them go into hands that will give them love and respect.
I knew I could not throw those books away or sell them at a yard sale.
Some had been sent to me by fans of my story, “The Bobbsey Twins, Dad and Me.”
Many were gifts from my husband, who was thrilled each time he found one for me.
There were about forty of them, dating from the first book, and I loved them all.
I saved one, “The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge,” but there was no room for the box full of Twins in my new, tiny house on wheels.
The memories, yes. The books, no.
I threw away my twenty-year-old Gateway computer today.
Probably sounds like no big deal, but she was my first tech love and my best computer ever.
She was also a virgin. I never put her on the Internet and somehow, she survived without all the little patches and urgent updates.
She was working the last time I tested her.
That was about a year ago, and she was fine, so when I sold my house this month, downsizing to a 17-foot trailer, I grabbed her, and I squeezed her into my tiny home.
I knew right away that she was too big, so I was going to double check that I had emptied her files and put her into storage, where she could live out her life in dignity, but when I plugged her in, she was gone. Dead.
A blue DOS screen pushed out white letters, asking to be connected to the Internet to boot up.
I whispered, “Hell, no. No, I don’t think so, not you, my sweet lady, you would never ask me to connect you to the Internet.”
That’s how I knew she was already gone; an imposter had taken over her system.
I’m afraid she suffered a gruesome finale because I got it in my head that I wouldn’t throw her away without taking out her hard drive.
I soon realized that twenty years ago, they didn’t exactly make it easy to get into your computer. I think they never expected us to learn how to replace our own hard drives and mother boards.
It took three screwdrivers, a hammer, a pair of scissors and a lot of stubbornness, but I pried her open and I got the hard drive out.
It was sad, really sad, because I wrote on that computer for many years, and she was my ride or die girl during the five years that I wrote for the IHRA’s Drag Review Magazine.
Aging out is rough but, I guess we all have an expiration date, even computers.
She wasn’t awake when I took her apart and I’m grateful for that and for the fact that she didn’t know how she was going to end.
She’s gone. Yes, I got rid of another thing that I thought I couldn’t live without.
My twenty-year-old year Gateway computer, once the trusted saver, organizer and keeper of my creative efforts, she was a proud lady, strong and reliable. I’ll never forget her.