Thursday, April 25, 2013

Past Deadline: Avoiding "Hoarders" Bin by Bin

Here is Past Deadline from the April 18/13 issue of The Perth Courier.

Avoiding “Hoarders” bin by bin
After reading this column you may not want to come to my house. Ever. I understand – sometimes I don’t want to come to my house either.
I have never professed to be anything remotely like Martha Stewart. I would not be profiled in a Good Housekeeping article. When it comes to domestic prowess I have only one publicity wish: to never be the subject of a Hoarders episode.
Fingers crossed.
It has been a busy few weeks, so my usual lazy approach to housecleaning has become, well, an Epic Tale of Unproductiveness.
Things kind of came to a head with the whole dryer issue, which you may recall from a couple of previous columns. The last episode contained a statement full of hope that by the time y’all were reading about it, the dryer would be fixed.
Not exactly.
My theory that it would be faster to have the dryer repaired than replaced was torpedoed by the fact when the repair lady returned with the replacement part, the dryer still didn’t work. The new diagnosis had something to do with the electrical harness, which could take a few weeks to come in, etc. blah blah blah.
Long story short, the replacement dryer was delivered a few days after that and, thankfully, it appears to be working.
This is a happy thing because it appears good clothesline weather continues to be evasive. Our dryer woes had necessitated a return to the use of drying racks and draping laundry around the house. As much fun as it was to reminisce about being newlyweds just starting out, it quickly lost its charm.
With the dryer issue seemingly resolved, it was time to put things back in order. This weekend I knew I had to start a house recovery mission.
I had slacked so long it was a daunting task.
I started by resolving the dryer-related mess. Items that lived on top of the dryer were removed from the dining room table. Manuals were filed. Related clutter was sorted. Drying racks were returned to the back of a storage cupboard.
Now what? Where to start. The house is a disaster!
I looked around and figured I might as well start with the worst of it: the den. Oh, the den. Keep in mind that a “den” is defined by Oxford as a “wild animal’s lair.”
I have been glossing over the den cleaning for a bit too long, particularly under the futon. Did you know there’s hardwood flooring under there?
See, that’s where there are three bins belonging to Boychild that have been collecting toys and debris for many years. Purging them has been on my list since about 2009. Lately, I have been hurriedly shoving stuff further under the futon in the vain hope it would just jump tidily in the bins.
Time to face the music.
I pulled everything out from under the futon. I found 756 Nerf guns accompanied by 5,799 Nerf  bullets – about a third of them busted. There were approximately 698 toy vehicles in various states of repair and 6,755 plastic toy soldiers, not to mention the 88,765 assorted pieces of Lego, K’Nex and Bionicles.
I loaded all of this into the largest of the bins, and then Boychild and I methodically sorted through it. There will be donations.
That one task (complete with vacuuming, dusting and washing something weird off the wall behind the futon) took up the better part of the afternoon – and that was just one bin and a few square feet of space.
I haven’t even told you about Girlchild’s bins. Or the basement. If any Hoarders execs see the basement, we’re doomed….

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