Welcome to My Living Room

I read somewhere that clutter is a physical manifestation of unmade decisions, and what creates our clutter is procrastination. I know. There’s proof of it right inside my front door.

 Welcome to my living room.

There’s a reason why it resembles the loading dock at your neighborhood Goodwill.

After months on the market, I received an offer to buy my mother’s place, but only if I handed it over within days, which meant clearing out everything: all the furniture, art, clothes, books, tchotchkes, and mementos from Mom’s life and from generations before her.

I sprang into action and gave away furniture to anyone who would haul it off, toted dozens of boxes and bags full of clothing and household items to local charities, lugged a couple of lawn bags heavy with decades of paper receipts to the shredder, and offloaded books (Mom owned hundreds of them) to various collectors. By the closing date, everything was out of there. Whew!

The rest of the stuff landed at my place. Most of the mess is in the living room, but there’s more in almost every previously unoccupied space in our home.

During the move-out frenzy, I had to pause my writing schedule. But as soon as I could make a walking path between the boxes, I returned to my desk to finish the third Samantha Newman Mystery. I had to, for my own sanity, and for my wonderful readers who were expecting it months ago. The writing is going well, except for times when the chaos in the living room starts cluttering my mind.

What to do with the 17 pair of gloves that Mom wore to all her fancy lady events? I’ll keep a pair or two for sentimental reasons, but my heart won’t let me trash the rest. And what about her golf cleats and bowling shoes, and the elegant chandelier that’s now crated up and needs a new home? I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but there’s no point cluttering this post with the rest of it.

There’s a time and a place for everything, or so the saying goes. I hope so. Like Book 3 of my mystery series, the clearing-out is still a work in progress. For now, I’m going to concentrate on finishing the book, except for the occasional bagging and boxing and carting off. Eventually, the mess in the living room will sort itself out. Until then, procrastination can take a seat, if he can find one.

Are you okay with the clutter in your life?

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries including The Body Business and The Body Next Door. Book 3 is set for release in 2022.

12 replies
  1. Donnell Bell
    Donnell Bell says:

    Gay, what are you going to do with all those gloves? You wrote you’ll keep a pair, but your heart won’t let you trash the rest? Goodwill? Maybe a theater production? I’ll be watching your story closely as I’m in the same position. Great job getting back to writing. I’m right there with you, too.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      I’m still trying to find a home for the gloves, Donnell. I’m trying to find a theater department that may want them, as well as some other treasures. If all else fails, they’ll fill another box for Goodwill. Thanks for your support on the writing end. I’ll be back at it today.

  2. Rebecca Nolen
    Rebecca Nolen says:

    Gay, Oof! I’ve done this three, maybe four times. Each loved one’s home clean out is emotionally stressful and physically difficult. My last one was my brother’s house in hundred degree no air-conditioning weather. Thankfully there was a great shade tree to sit under and go through all the boxes my brother had crammed into his home. Blessings friend. I look forward to your new book.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Rebecca, so good to hear from you! Yes, the cleaning out can be exhausting, emotionally and physically. thanks for waiting for the book. Be well!

  3. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    I more than understand the difficulty of clearing things that have emotional attachment. Each time we have done it, it was in stages. Things like the gloves, purses, etc. were piled on a bed to be discussed and picked over by children and grandchildren…. some things were given to a theater group so they could continue to be used….. some were saved for almost a year stuffed into a room and then attacked again when emotions made parting with some of the stuff easier. No fun….. glad you are writing as a diversion.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Debra. I’ve saved some things back for family and friends, too, but I haven’t had a chance to distribute them yet. I’ve seen announcements for your new book everywhere. Hope it’s going well.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Thanks, Saralyn. Before the sale, the saving grace was that unopened boxes could be neatly stacked and stored inside closets, and stay there for years. Once it was time to open them, clutter everywhere!

  4. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    It’s tough and emotional to do what you’ve described. And yet once you’ve found a home for these cherished items, you will feel good.
    Keep writing Samantha #3. I’m anxious to read it.

  5. Tierney James
    Tierney James says:

    This was great. We all are forced to gather in the memories of our family at times. Now I’ll eyeball those unpacked boxes of my mother’s in the garage. Thanks.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Tierney, so nice to hear from you! I’m glad this post inspires you to open your mother’s boxes. Fair warning: you may find yourself laughing and crying in alternate waves. Here’s hoping you find some things to treasure inside.

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