There’s a new sense of “Home” as a result of the pandemic. For many, there’s the urge to get out and travel after being cooped up for over a year. But as much as I love to travel and still will in the days ahead, my stronger inclination is to stay close to home. It’s my safe haven, my security blanket, my little corner of the world.
During the pandemic, I took a different project each day that had been put on the back burner for years: clean out the pantry and put down fresh shelving paper, wipe out all cabinet drawers, organize my bathroom closet, toss out stuff I did not need or ever use and that included clothes, scrub the pots and pans and make them shine, wash the inside of the windows, and disinfect all the refrigerator drawers and shelves. I even painted metal yard ornaments that had rusted instead of buying new ones. I was somewhat of a maniac as I took on a new challenge each day. Chuck was afraid to stand still as I might wash, paint, and glisten him!
I have always been a stickler for organization. There have been times when my home wasn’t the cleanest, but I always wanted things in their proper places, and sadly older age has made me even more that way. But my downsizing efforts were not as easy. It was difficult to get rid of things I had shoved in the attic over the years. Sentimental items. We all have them.
My mom’s move from Florence to the beach where her home was now smaller, led me to store a bunch of her prized possessions. Eight years later, she moved to a small condo that sent more treasures to my home. And then there were lots of silly things up there like costume parts Chuck and I saved from plays we were in at the theater or the Pottery we made together on a rainy day in Charleston thirty years ago when we had nothing else better to do, or the antique lamp given to us by a deceased neighbor, or a few baby things given to us for the baby that never came including a fertility candle.
Yet, I trudged through it with many tears and decided that there were folks here in the community that needed some of this stuff more than me. Benevolence took over. So, I loaded up the truck and dropped off a ton of beloved items to Back Pack Buddies. And you know what? It felt good to purge as it made me feel proud of myself to become more organized.
Then last month, my mom moved to an assisted living facility. Yes, you guessed it. Mom’s downsizing made me have to “upsize” again. I sent pots and pans and dishes to my sister who may need them someday for her two children, but mom’s other items I had trouble parting with because they were hers! Little things like the ashtray she and dad use to fill up when they were smokers. There was the gold bear knick-knack that they bought on vacation in the Pocono Mountains when I was eight years old and a tee-shirt from their honeymoon in Wildwood, New Jersey. There’s a ceramic statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that a friend of mom’s made for her that has always been on her bureau. And anyone who knows my mom knows that there were a ton of joke items like birthday party hats and trick candles, boxes and boxes of Mardi Gras beads, Old Maid cards, sassy greeting cards, her Carmen Miranda Chiquita Banana Costume, a metal commode that opens to the tune of “You Light Up My Life,” and because she is Irish there are a plethora of silly green trinkets to wear on March 17. Add that to the nine large storage boxes filled with decorations for every single holiday and what do I get – a full attic once again!
Ugh! But thank goodness I had room to store it all, for now, thanks to my pandemic purge session of 2020.
They say, “Home is where the heart is!”
I guess I’m as full of HEART as I will ever be.