In my family, we have this peculiar tendency to hold onto STUFF. Outgrown clothing, old junk mail, bits and pieces of wood and pipe (Might be useful for a project someday!), out-of-date mail-order catalogs, dried up markers, cords to long-gone technology…

It’s not that we are hoarders. We don’t genuinely think any of this stuff is precious, and for the most part, parting with the stuff doesn’t grieve us. It’s just that…well…we’re busy, too busy, I guess, to toss out random piles of stuff every once in a while. Or, maybe our problem is that we’re lazy (I honestly don’t think that is it). Perhaps we are simply distracted.

Whatever the reason, STUFF accumulates. Game Informer magazines multiply like fleas. Used scratch paper, covered with beautiful doodles, spreads faster than kudzu in the Mississippi Delta. Holey socks and underwear with dead elastic. Empty Amazon boxes and unopened bank statements. SO MUCH STUFF!!!

I am the Cleaner Outter. Yes, of course my kids “clean” – sort of – but Mom is the Extreme Ninja Cleaner Outter. I can be ruthless. Take no prisoners. In a smack-down against the Stuff, I fight to win.

My four sons are grown men now. The last moved out of the house in August. In September, I resolved to clean the man cave upstairs. I have four empty beds in there, and I thought it would be nice to have those beds available for overnight guests. But in the interest of safety, before I opened the upstairs to visitors, I needed to clean out some stuff. You know, clear a path from the door to the beds. I didn’t want to risk having a guest fumble his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to trip over a set of barbells and face plant into a concrete rooster.

I began cleaning in September. Today, two and a half months later, after a lot of sweat and not a few tears (I seriously felt like giving up and bolting the door multiple times), I can finally see the finish line.

The Stuff – most of it, anyway – is gone. What remains is organized into one very full closet, one window seat, and two under-bed boxes.

All I have left to do is:

  • Borrow Granddad’s truck; haul a load to Goodwill; haul a load to the dump.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Clean the carpet. (I found the carpet!)
  • Make the beds with fresh sheets.

Just in time for Thanksgiving. Just in time for holiday visitors and overnight guests.

I feel like I am on the home stretch of my first Ironman triathlon. Maybe this event should be called the IronMOM. I’m so pumped, folks!

I think I deserve a trophy.

Nevermind…I’ll pass on the trophy. I don’t want to have to find a place to put it.

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