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Cleaning Out

Decluttering. Minimalist. Organizational Strategies. Less is more. These phrases are the trendy, edgy buzzwords of the new millennium. In movies, the set depicting a cluttered homey living area is more and more equated with low income characters or low class characters. Wealthy characters in the media are more often set in upscale living quarters that are minimally furnished, clean and clutter-free. More and more, it seems, that the trend in decorating is moving to a less is more approach.

I like this trend. My mother toward the end of her life, after many years of living with my father, who was the ultimate pack rat, told me, “Clutter creates stress.” I am not by nature a minimalist. I have some creative hobbies and in the past the supplies for these hobbies dominated a very large portion of the garage I am now cleaning out in my rental. Since leaving the Evil Ex, I have learned that my mother’s words are true. I have spent the last 5 years cleaning out my home and my life of the clutter (and damage) he imposed. The supplies for my creative projects now take up a 2-foot shelf in my closet. It’s been a long process of going through things, cleaning up and tossing out. It feels good to lighten the load of stuff that one must manage, organize, or maintain.

The last thing I want to do is clean out someone else’s squalor. This is exactly what I spent the day doing. Thanks to my friend whose son had the crazy friends, her husband, her son and some members of a community group that is trying to prepare a garage sale to raise money, we were able to get a phenomenal amount of work done today.

It’s late, I just took a sleeping pill, and , while I’m waiting for the pill to kick in, I thought I’d share some before and after pictures of the work that has been accomplished on the Trashed House in the last 24 hours.

Here is the front yard before:

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Here is the front yard now:

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The kitchen:

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Here is the garage:

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Every bit of trash, junk, etc. has been gone through and either trashed or donated. What you see here is the stuff that just needs to go to the dump. This will have to wait until payday, but,at least, there is nothing there that will deteriorate and cause the house further damage.

We loaded up over 10 mattresses:

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The debris in the bedrooms has been cleaned out:

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The bathrooms cleaned up alright:

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The back yard looks amazing:

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The toilets actually cleaned up without overflowing:

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There is now no trash in the house. It has all been bagged up and placed either outside, in the garage or in the living room ready for disposal. Bathroom and sinks are clean; toilets usable. Lighting fixtures have been repaired and new light bulbs put in. The hole in one wall has been repaired and is ready for paint.

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There is still a huge amount of stuff in garbage bags to get rid of, but at least now the place is safe and cleaned out. It is now manageable. I’m deeply indebted and grateful to my friend and her family and friends for giving of their time to help me with this overwhelming project. I could not have done this so quickly nor so well without their help.

This chapter in my life is coming to an end soon. I hope that by this time next month, I am completely free of this house and any responsibility for it. It has been nothing but a huge drain on my time and energy. At least now, it is presentable. I feel a lot better about that. If I ever get into the rental business again, I will hire a property management company to deal with the headaches for me. Furthermore, as I was cleaning the place out, I realized just what a dump fixer the place was. Of course, when I purchased it there was money enough to fix it up. The Evil Ex made sure that never happened. I have learned that I am just not the fixer upper type.

I guess I’ve learned a few other things. Once again, my mom is right:

Less is more.

Clutter creates stress.

Always be very careful who you allow into your home.

Bad things are going to happen to you; it isn’t what happens but how you choose to deal with it that matters.

There are better days ahead.

This year, of all years, indeed to believe that.

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April Recap And Random Money Musings

May 2012 is already shaping up to be a better month than April was. That’s pretty decent considering it isn’t even May yet. I get paid at the end of the month, and have already paid all my bills for May. That’s also pretty decent considering I paid up the ones I had to skip on last month just to survive. I absolutely detest living like this but one of the first things I learned in Divorce 101 is that sometimes you just have to survive. That was April’s mantra. May’s, I hope, will be more about recovering and stabilizing rather than just making it. By July, I actually hope to be moving ahead.

So, I’ve paid the bills, and there is money to eat on for the rest of the month; another reason May is already better than April. In addition, I did this without planning on the rental money, from the old Someday-The-Bank-Will-Decide-To-Foreclose house. I’m going to terminate the contract with the renters whether they pay or not on May 1. We are on a month-to-month and i can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice for no cause. The income is nice, the hassle is not. It is also a good idea for me to just get used to not having that income. After that, I’m probably going to need to begin not planning on the money from The Evil Ex, because I suppose that will go away soon also. I just can’t worry about that now. On the up side, I have a few gigs that opened up over the summer that will hopefully do much to get my savings going.

On another note, my son was sick all last week and he gave me whatever he got. I spent most of the glorious spring weekend indoors, sick with a killer cold. I’m feeling slightly better now, but won’t be heading in to work tomorrow. I’m certain my clients would not appreciate me coughing, sneezing, and hacking phlegm all over them. I’ve already called in my assistant. She can handle most of the important stuff, and reschedule the rest. I will be spending the day in bed sleeping, hoping like anything to speed my recovery. God knows I’ve taken enough sick time this year.

In all, April sucked. Bankruptcy is no fun and things were super tough. On the other hand, I do believe the home we are in right now was divinely appointed. There were not and still are not any homes of the kind and size we have for the amount we are paying. I’m not sure this is necessarily a forever home for us, but I can think of much worse places to land for a few years while we get back on our feet financially. Plus, it is low maintenance and I love this place. Things could be much, much worse.

So, here’s to moving through the roadblocks and challenges in life. After every hill climb, there is a glorious descent. Let’s hope the ride smooths out for the rest of 2012.

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