Thursday, December 29, 2011

Attics - and a lifetime of STUFF.

When I was a child I dreamed of having an attic - one like in-the-movies or at least like the one of my very vivid imagination.  Newer houses don't have cool attics - they have crawl spaces or inaccessible places that only hold insulation and dust.  I remember looking at the attic hatch in my childhood home and thinking how sad it was that mom and dad didn't build a cool one.

I finally have a cool attic.  It's more than 150 years old and accessed by crooked stairs in the far-back-room.  The house leans heavily to the south-west in that corner making ascending and descending the stairs something you don't do without a few seconds of thought.  The stairs are steep - somewhere between really steep and a ladder.  When you look at each tread you can see that the original steps were covered over with 2x6's - probably because the groove where your foot would touch the stairs was almost worn right through.  Very COOL.  The attic's best feature??  - it can be closed with a trapdoor that weighs about 100 pounds - we plan to hide up there when the zombies come and drop the door on their heads if they come after us!

Once you've traversed the stairs you find yourself in a chipboard paneled room with a low ceiling - ok - the chipboard isn't very original or dreamy however it does save you from the falling chunks of plaster.  There's no heat up there in the winter so it's a great second fridge or freezer depending on the outdoor temperatures.  In the summer it does double duty as a dehydrator - wow - it's hot.  There's only one single-paned window that doesn't open and one light bulb with a pull string.  Rather bare bones but still it has the stuff that imagination is made of… think Home Alone!

Having an attic (and a garage and a barn) means I've never had so much storage space in all my life.  The attic holds Christmas decorations, the overflow from my daughters room (she has a LOT of stuff!) and assorted chairs and leftovers that need to be shoved somewhere out of eyesight.  I can actually leave stuff lying around up there - boxes opened and randomly shoved this way and that.  I suppose no one can really understand my excitement over this until they've lived in a teeny-tiny-house with 7 adults where you had to turn sideways in the hall to pass each other.   Space is such a luxury and one I think I will never quite get over.

I can already see the danger of it all though.  Why get rid of stuff - there's lots of room!  Someone will ask - do you want this widget and rather than say - NO I HAVE NO ROOM FOR IT (which seems more polite than NO I just-plain-don't-want-it.) I may be tempted to just say YES - every time!  It appears I need to think up another convenient excuse because I have acres of space, miles of closet shelves, a garage, a barn and an ATTIC! 

Now you have to understand why I'm so worried - My name is Anita and I like stuff - especailly if it's red, old fashioned, cool neat stuff.  I spent the 5 years previous to our move here de-cluttering our whole tiny house - TWICE!  The first time around I wasn't as ruthless as I should have been so I went on to ROUND-TWO! I don't want to lose the momentum that set us free from CHAOS.  I remember the days of boxes and mess and too much laundry and never being able to find anything.  I'm a little afraid the Clutter Monster is gonna-get-me!

We've done so well since we got here but lately I've noticed a marked increase in the items coming through the door.  It just sorta follows us home - like the fancy-metal-scroll-work-table we found on the side of the road that only needed a coat of spray paint or the adorable dishes I needed for Christmas dinner.

I am facng my fear today.  I am cleaning up the Christmas decorations and putting things away in their proper boxes which I will line up in neat rows in the attic.  I will not let this get out of hand.  I will live by my boundaries and say NO when I am offered things I don't really want.  I will stay on the wagon!  I will reclaim the ATTIC!  Take that Clutter Monster!

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