Beating Back all the Clutter

Would you believe that my parents had a normal looking basement in the beginning of May 2010? But we were already losing the battle against clutter. My grandmother and I both moved that month. But we were already losing because for over a year before that my grandmother fought tooth and nail to keep things. But most of her stuff went into storage. Then the next year my sister took a bunch of furniture and the rest went to my parents’ basement.

The basement was a cluttered but usable. Next she had to go to assisted living. We’re now in December 2014, the Crooked House is nowhere near habitable, and half her remaining possessions wind up in that poor basement.


It’s about a full year later, November 2015, that I got the floors done. And in came the furniture without delay. Before it made sense even. But now she’s moved again, to a smaller room (hopefully with better care). And it got just as bad all over again.

So I started listing things on Craigslist. I feel pretty good about my writing but the real star of the show here is the old rug my dad pulled out of the garage to style the photos.

stereo cabinet.jpg

And everything sold within a week except the chairs! So 2 things about that: Shameless plug. Buy them, please! And I’m using my grandmother’s table with different, smaller but less sturdy chairs and we’ve decided not to feel guilty about breaking up the set.


Now do we sound like saints? Because yes, we are taking care of her and diligently dealing with all of her things. But my mom and I also picked what she was going to part with by taking what we liked best first. I got this lamp.


For years now we’ve discussed a fall yard sale, then a spring yard sale, then fall, then spring, and so on. Now one of my parents’ neighbors has one scheduled of September 17 so the date is set. The basement is cleared out enough (thanks to selling 3 bookcases and a set of tables) to be a sorting station. But a lot of what we’re selling is antiques and we’re trying to get higher than yard sale prices, so there will probably be another round of Craigslist listings soon.


There’s a lot of this stuff. More than we know what to do with. But I still sometimes feel guilty about getting rid of it. After all, my wash stand is bare (now that I’m not using it for long-term storage of unfolded laundry) and this set has been in the family for generations. So we’ve been pulling things out here and there. But mostly we’re keeping things we’ll actually use.

And we’ve left my grandmother with only the books about her 2 favorite things, opera and Obama. It’s all for the best, but… tell my mom she’s not allowed to keep the 1968 World Books. (I already put the good books on her shelves.)


5 thoughts on “Beating Back all the Clutter

    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      My dad will set up a stationary bike in the winter and he’ll be glad to not be in a cubicle made of boxes. My sister’s boyfriend will be a little more comfortable staying down there, and when the whole family is there and can’t agree on a TV show, people will use it. In other words, my parents won’t use the room very often.



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