The dumpster project, now affectionately called, is almost complete. Two more days before it goes. It’s been a crazy journey.
The attic was finished Saturday morning. Everything that was going was pitched out of the window a few days before and I spent the last two days sweeping, then vacuuming with a shop vac. During the sweeping phase I finally decided to wear a respirator, the dust was extreme. My father and I figured the last time it was swept was around 1946 – no lie.
It was a sentimental journey through the rooms on the third floor. Sentiment mixed with disbelief that so much stuff was just thrown up there and forgotten. Houses had been cleaned out. Things I recognized from my grandparents homes and some from my great grandparents. Fear not, most of it was categorized, packed and stored away.
There were treasures. Big boxes of crap that had to be gone through, piece by piece because there were treasures. My grandfather’s Hamilton pocket watch, a makeup compact from the ’20s belonging to a great-aunt, a small model train engine, books from childhood. Photographs tucked in with report cards from my father’s elementary school days. There were scrapbooks and letters and journals from my high school years, reminders of a distant past now seeming like someone else’s life. Toys, games, puzzles, all holding memories for me and my siblings of rainy days spent together. I don’t think anything was ever thrown away.
It has also lifted a great weight. It had felt as if that third floor was crushing down on the rest of the house. A job I knew I was going to have to do in order to make my childhood home into the home I will spend the rest of my life in.
The last few days have been spent cleaning out and moving things around on the second floor. All of this with the knowledge that we will be dealing will structural issues in the bedrooms, mostly crumbling lathe and plaster. Nothing at all has been done up there since the early ’70s. There isn’t heat up there (and currently it’s without power – a story for another day). There was water damage years ago so ceilings are beginning to go. These are the photographs you won’t see, unless I’m getting ready to do something with a pry bar and a hammer (respirator in place). The photos recording before and after.
The grand motivation to all of this has really been the need I have to transform a room into a place to put my looms, my fiber, my fabric, my books. Creativity for me doesn’t happen without making a big mess but I need that mess to be contained in it’s own space. I brought home a third loom (yes, I now have three), last weekend. It’s so large and heavy it will have to remain on the first floor so the two on the first floor will have to move to the second. Along with the last two looms I’ve brought home has come their previous owners stashes of fiber. Fun stuff but if you can’t see it you don’t use it.
I use situations like the looms as motivation to deal with the things I don’t want to do. It really works for me. That and having a 20 yard dumpster dropped in the side yard. I work well under pressure and having that there really did the trick. Although the past couple of days have seen decision fatigue set in and it’s become easier to throw things away. Fortunately I also have that saving gene and understand the importance of seeing the handwriting of my ancestors. Things are categorized and saved and put back into the attic. This time with some notes attached so in another 80 years or so when someone feels the need to clean out they will have a better idea of why this stuff was saved.