Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Corner of the Family Storage Unit

Will was off yesterday so I decided we should work on our home together and tackle the front room.

The front room is meant to be a formal living room. It was windows on three walls. It has a lovely old fireplace, double doors, and a nice ceiling fan. It should be breezy with natural light. But for years it has been the dump-junk-here/forget-it room.

It contains a queen sized bed, Queen Anne furniture, old computers, books, lots of boxes, pieces of antiques, stolen tools, broken tools, and a random collection of trash. Every holiday decoration the dollar store has sold for five years is in the front room. My mother-in-law's stuff is in there. Both my sisters-in-law have stuff in there. I have asked repeatedly for everyone to get their belongings out of my house. I have sternly said, often and very loudly, that I am not running a damn storage unit. Everyone agrees they will come get their shit. Nobody does.

So yesterday I told Will we were going to clear one corner.

We hauled out lots of trash. We threw out broken things. We found boxes that had gotten wet when stored elsewhere. Those wet boxes were hauled over to the front room and piled up. The boxes were covered in black mold. All the papers inside were ruined. We don't even know what the original contents were.

We threw away pieces of computers. Old computers, like the late '80's to early '90's stuff with drives removed. Evidently these stopped working long ago and someone called themselves trying to repair it, and then maybe they got lazy, or maybe they decided to upgrade. Why they saved the mess, I don't know.

Just about every thing in the corner belonged to the middle sister. The one who said, "All that can be thrown out."

And then we found the silver.

Real silver. Solid silver. Actual silverware. The silver my mother-in-law has been searching for, the silver she thought was stolen. The silver plate. The silver serving bowls.

We didn't say anything. We hid it. And when my mother-in-law comes home from vacation, we'll give it to her. She can decide what to do with it.

My sisters-in-law can't stand for anyone to have what they do not. Often, they don't want the item they're fighting over, they just don't want anyone else to have it. To give you an example, the middle sister told me the sewing machines didn't work. They work just fine. She knows I sew and she didn't want me using a nice machine. She had no intention of taking the sewing machines with her. She doesn't want them. But by damn, she's not going to give them to me.

We also hid the pictures and letters from World War II, and Will's grandfather's box of clock parts. He used to make clocks as a hobby. We said nothing of the certificates from the Daughter's of the American Revolution.

Will's grandmother was a Chippewa Indian. I opened her jewelry box and found a hand carved beaver, beaded medicine bags, and an eagle necklace on a long leather cord. We hid them. These aren't valuable things, but this was a woman who was teased and ridiculed her entire life for being Indian. She rejected her culture. She had almost no Chippewa things. We know if she kept these few pieces, they mattered. We don't think anyone should fight over that.

We now have a clean, empty corner in the front room. Slowly, we will move out more and more. I foresee many truckloads of trash going to the county dump. Soon, it will be my step-son's bedroom. When he graduates and moves away, it will be my sewing room. The days of junk room are over.


Aine O'Brien said...

wow, what great finds. Good idea to hide them!

catherine said...

I hope they don't start freaking out after everything has been tossed, saying they wanted the stuff. How big is the house? How many stories/bedrooms? I'm just trying to wrap my head around what a huge job you have ahead of you. I don't envy you. We moved last sept. and I haven't unpacked a quarter of it, so when any of us asks where something is, the current answer is "in a box somewhere" lol..

FreeDragon said...

The house is one story with 12ft ceilings. Only my kitchen has regular sized rooms because it was added nearly 100 years after the house was built. I think Will said the house was 11,000 square feet which seems small given how it rambles. I'll try to measure the rooms to get a better estimate. The front room is the only room still filled with junk. And yes, people probably will start whining about their stuff later. Will and I found a box of computer bags. A cat had used them for a litter box. They smelled god-awful. We tossed them. Middle sister came down one weekend in full panic mode because she couldn't find her laptop bag. We explained about the cat. She got angry, said she needed what was in the bag, not the bag itself. We told her all the bags were empty. We looked in each one before throwing away. She didn't believe us, but she never would say what important item was in the bag.