My 1st Whole House Clean Out

When I started organizing, each client project, reminded me of fleeting moments, almost forgotten, that had been part of the path to CRUX.

For a while, I was sure my 1st whole house clean out – my aunt’s home, during my senior prom weekend – was my 1st. It was surely the first one I project managed. And gosh was it fun! Well not, fun, as she was dead, and we had to go through her things and clean out the apartment, to have a place to sleep that evening, not just to sell the home.

My education and experience tell me that my aunt was chronically disorganized, and her apartment showed signs of hoarding tendencies. At the time, I just saw a way that I could help. That I could contribute. I’m not great with words, but I can rock those acts of service! And it was a way to process the loss of my aunt, while walking through the life she lived, and left. Carefully, and with compassion, my dear friend, my mom, and I processed my Aunt Carol’s apartment. We have pictures of us pushing bookcases and posing. I was there making sure we had budgeted time for all three of us to take showers, and get ready to see 42nd Street on Broadway. Before leaving, I was the one that made sure our beds were prepared for our late night return, and our plan was laid out for the next day.

When I think of this experience, my heart is happy-sad. Because I was honored to be able to take care of my Aunt Carol’s legacy, and process her loss in this way. Wishing that she had shared these facets of herself with me, and what I wouldn’t give for just another moment with her.

However, that really wasn’t my first whole house clean-out. That memory, I share with my Aunt Marilyn. While cleaning out a client’s pantry one day, I was overwhelmed with this vivid memory of happily sitting by my Aunt Marilyn and tossing what she called “crapola” from my Grandmother’s landlord’s kitchen pantry (the landlord had passed away, didn’t have immediate family close by, and since my mom and aunts had grown up there, they were the closest family).

I was 9 and I loved that I was allowed to curse- I would quietly announce CRAPOLA! when something was expired and toss it in the trash. I got to empty expired glass bottles so they wouldn’t weigh down the bag. It was amazing, but also I loved the process. It made sense. We checked expiration dates, applied our agreed upon cut off, and tossed items that couldn’t be donated.

I’m sure both of these experiences informed and planted the seeds for where I am today. I will always treasure how I’m bonded to my aunts, each in different ways, through organizing.

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