Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Clean Sweep for the New Year December 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:49 pm

I used to be a good candidate for Clean Sweep. I like to think I’ve made a lot of progress in the past couple years. Throwing things away from my classroom, donating my classroom library when I left fourth grade for this current position, donating my stash of patterns and fabrics that date back to my teen years. For many years (actually most) I was one of those teachers who held onto 24 baby food jars, the half skein of yarn, the last little bit of glitter, because I never knew when I might need something like that. (I suspect a lot of teachers are hoarders after spending thousands of our own dollars over the year on items for the classroom. Raisins for math lessons, seeds for science, books to help one more student fall in love with reading, blah…blah…blah).

Unfortunately for my husband, I was also one of those types at home as well where I would keep every single— stitch of clothing that my children had outgrown from birth until just two years ago (I pat myself on the back for only keeping one clothing items from their infancy); every craft/hobby that I was convinced I was going to get back to one of these days (cross stitch, scrap booking, knitting, etc.); greeting card we had received for our wedding, birth of our children, or a birthday; books from my childhood. You get the idea. Some of you sympathize and others of you are just plain frightened.

I have the voice of  Peter Walsh from Clean Sweep in my head telling me I don’t need to hang onto the ceramic Cocker

Spaniel my grandmother made for me when I was little and she lived at the Ohio Masonic home. That guy would say that it’s the memories of my grandmother that count, not a ceramic dog. Still, I find it hard. Peter Walsh and my mother are arguing in my head.

I’m wrapping said ceramic dog up for my husband’s white elephant gift exchange. Last week’s white elephant gift exchange was still in the moving tub from when we moved into our current home more than eleven years ago.  I was pregnant and throwing up when we moved in and continued to throw up everyday until my daughter was born. Somehow those eleven years have passed in a blur.

We are getting ready to move in a couple weeks and one of the many good things about moving, is that it really does give me a chance to Clean Sweep my house. We aren’t going far-just from out in the township/country back into the village which is where we lived when we first got married. I’m also giving myself a mandatory blogging break for the two weeks of holidays/packing that are fast approaching.

While I am excited about getting rid of detritus, the weak part of my brain argues with me that I am being wasteful. If I feel myself weakening, I tell myself I can always call fellow teaching colleagues who are known for their spartan like lack of junk and let them grouch at me. They don’t have the charming accent of Peter Walsh and certainly won’t be as patient with me.

Here’s a few examples of a crazy things I’ve found since beginning to clean sweep:

Turns out I never finished Breaking Dawn. I stopped on page 700 of 754.  WTH? Do I just read the last fifty pages or do I need to reread it since it’s been so long. Maybe I don’t even bother.

My viola is in the basement and it hasn’t been played since 1983. Do I honestly think one of my children will ever want to play it?

Throwing away art projects from when my kids were three isn’t the same as throwing them away, even though it feels mean and bad.

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4 Responses to “Clean Sweep for the New Year”

  1. I cleaned my home office over the course of the last couple of days (still need to tackle my desk drawer) and I can feel your pain. I found postcards from the 82nd Annual NCTE convention (next year is 100, just for perspective), and name cards from my HIGH SCHOOL graduation announcements. Yikes.

  2. rlgibson Says:

    confession . . . i have a box of baby food jars in the basement . . . do librarians do the same hording thing? have also been trying to organize/purge . . . today found my 1st grade report card, memos from THE royal wedding (I remember getting up about 4 am to watch), letters my grandmother wrote me in college (only read the 1st so far, hope to have time to sit down sometime and read them all) . . . and it’s exhausting! I did throw away my “I love Duran Duran” bumper sticker. Are you laughing yet??? :)
    my treasure was a reading brochure called “Reading for Pleasure in High School” published by Mt. Holyoke (where I had ambitions of going at one point) — with notes by the ones I had read . . .


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