Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Uselessness of Emotional Clutter

I have come to a very annoying realization. After 3 years of widowhood, my house is still filled with crap that I don’t know how to use.

I realized this when I was walking into my garage and I spied a horseshoe set. Now, this was not my deal. I’ve played it a handful of times in my life, but I never set it up. That was my husband’s job. I don’t know how far the stakes are supposed to be set apart. How to get them in the ground so they don’t fall over on the very small chance I should happen to get a horseshoe even close to them. I don’t even know if I really know how to play. And if there is a possibility of throwing a horseshoe like a girl…well…I just hope my neighbors aren’t watching.

Those people should just wait for me to mow my lawn if they really want some entertainment.

That little game caused me to stop, take a look around my garage, and really check out all of the things I have taking up room that I wouldn’t even know how to plug in, much less turn on and use.

My husband was a handy guy. And, actually, I have gone through and cleaned out my garage about 3 different times, hoping to create some space. I’ve had friends of his come over and really help me weed out what they think I will never be able to figure out and what I could maybe use some day. Or hire someone to maybe use.

But I still have a lot of crap in there that, should I meet Mr. Right, will impress the hell out of anyone who braves my garage. I mean, what guy wouldn’t want a woman who owned a chainsaw? I just hope he never actually asks me how to use it. That would be an abrupt end to any fantasy he might have of me, standing in a bikini with safety glasses on.

Actually, if he ever saw me in a bikini that would pretty much end the fantasy right there.

I’ve got an air compressor that takes up a fair amount of space and should probably be my requirement for finding Mr. Right. On a first date, I should just come out and ask, “So…what do you know about blowing out your own sprinklers?”

And if he replies, “Oh, I could do it. If I had an air compressor” then I would know that this guy has possibilities.

I have power tools and non-power tools. I have a welding helmet and I pipe-bender, should I ever run into a pipe-bending emergency. I have manly remote controlled toys that cruelly tease my children every time they go in there to dig out their scooters. I have one of those tandem bike things that can hook on to the back of a big bike so that a little kid could pedal right behind me.

Only problem is, I also have horrible balance, so my 4 year old would probably be better off just trying to ride a 2-wheeler on her own, rather than have a large person attached who would completely throw her off.

Is this symbolic? The junk I have in my garage? Is this all a bunch of stuff that I’m scared to get rid of, but is just taking up space? Do I have an air compressor and a shelf full of power tools within me, taking up room and not doing me any good?

It’s quite possible. But what I can’t figure out is…unlike the stuff in my garage, I can’t get rid of it as easily. I can’t stick a sign on the corner, pointing to my house, that says, “Guilt and confusion for sale! Buy one get one half off on occasional useless feelings of anger! Sadness is free!”

In reality, I can recognize what I’ve got going on is emotional clutter. And if that’s taking up so much room, there’s not enough space to fit in something else. If I got rid of the air compressor, would I be able to get something that I could actually use? If I got rid of the anger, would it create space for something better?

Just like my emotions, there are some tools I can’t get rid of. I mean, a set of screwdrivers is kind of a necessity. And just like my tools, there are some emotions that are here to stay. It would be unrealistic to think that I could get rid of all of the sadness.

But I’m about ready to have a fire sale on the rest of it. Time to make some room.

© Catherine Tidd 2010


  1. Fantastic post ... On so many levels.

  2. P.S. My word verification was "start."

    Just sayin'.

  3. I totally love this post. Almost sounds like you were married to my husband! =P
    When I moved in August, my IL's spearheaded the garage sale for me, thank goodness. I didn't know where to begin... I still have stuff I probably don't need, and little by little, I've got to figure out what to do w/it. BTW, I got rid of my air compressor, chain saw and table saw...

  4. Andrea--

    You're WAY ahead of me!!! I just remembered...I have the table saw too! Again...either too much baggage or I'm someone else's dream come true.

    Good for you!

  5. Hi, I read 2 of your blog entries and really could feel where you are coming from. My wife left me with a whole lot of stuff. She was a compulsive clutterer so I had a tremendous ammount of baggage to go through. I ended up buying a house twice as big as my other place. It made the sorting and storage easier. My house has a basement area that is like a cave. It is attached to the double garage. I have saved a lot of her stuff...It's like I couldn't bare to throw it away or something... I have still kept a lot of her stuff on organic gardening. She was a readaholic so I have many, many books I don't need....Funny, I had the same thought as you mentioned.. Maybe some day a woman who loves organic gardening, etc. may come along....I have also compared my material possessions to my emotional baggage. I seem to go out of my way to complicate my life. Sometimes I drive my own self crazy! Thanks for reading this....Can you tell me your first name? I feel dumb referring to you as "Widow" or "Ms. Chick".....I do hope your day is filled with wonder and joy. Tom