Thursday, August 2, 2018

Of Decks, Dominoes, Dust, and De-cluttering

This is another story about dominoes. Home remodeling or repair seems to do that. You think you’re just replacing carpet, but really that’s only the first domino in asbestos abatement, floor replacement, stair reconstruction, etc. etc. I’ve written about that.

No, this time it’s about a deck. For years, we hashed and re-hashed the deck idea. If we put it off the kitchen, it wouldn’t catch maximum sun. If we put it off the living room, we’d have more sun, but we’d have to schlep from the kitchen. Over and over. No deck.

Finally, last summer, we DID THE DECK. Or rather, Lance (“I’m Your Handyman”) did. We love it. It’s beautiful. So this summer, it was the second domino’s turn: turning the window from the kitchen into a sliding glass door to the deck.

Third domino: The baseboard heater is under the window. Pipes have to be moved over so the door can be put in. Tim goes downstairs to the laundry room, moves stuff into Sophie’s room, and cuts a hole in the ceiling. After the plumber moves the pipes, Tim drywalls and paints the ceiling. (Yes, I constantly think of my mother sighing at Tim and murmuring “Oh, he’s so handy!” in adoration.)

Fourth domino: The laundry room – and all the shelves, pantry, storage – are covered in a fine layer of dust. Everywhere. Dust. This is my domino. I own it. I attack it.

Interruption: I LOVE the deck and the sliding glass door. It’s my favorite New Thing. I love how it adds more light, opens out our space as if we have another living room. I even love how global warming means it’s in the perfect location because elsewhere it would be too hot. I love how “lying on the deck” somehow means more than “just vegging out” because I’m OUTSIDE. In our Third Third, we may think we should have done this in our Second, but it’s here now.

But the deck I love came with dust. Lots of dust. This amount of dust requires a major operation: removal, scouring, organizing, replacing. And de-cluttering! I am in my element: I am The Organizer! I will Clean Things and Assign Them Their Proper Places.

I proceed shelf by shelf. First to go is the Sno-Paint set. Sophie didn’t like it; the paint froze when they went out to spray it on snow. But Dawn’s grandchildren will love it. (Easy de-cluttering: not wanted, good place to give it to). They also got the box of the bazillion bubbles and wands. (De-cluttering score: 100!)
But then, realizing the punishment I inflicted on my mother for alleged de-cluttering, I started photographing the Sophie-childhood items and texting Sophie just to be sure. Have to hold onto the Build-a-Bear bear, the remote-controlled truck, the Storyblocks.

But the easel can go to the Alaska Literacy Program preschool; art work and wine glasses to their silent auction. Record albums sold or donated. The seven celebrity waiter aprons can go to the synagogue preschool, the bowls and lids to Sarah for her potlucks, the Harry & David boxes to Irene for her art kits for kids. (De-cluttering score: 100!) The bags and bags of bags have been sorted and will be recycled. (Recycling earns only a de-cluttering score of 90.) There are still too many jars and boxes – good jars and good boxes – but I think I come in at a good 95 all around.

The dust is a challenge. The steel shelves come with little curly decorations that won’t yield to a vacuum cleaner. I have to wash each curl one by one.

But the victory! I open up so much room that I can store my dozens of bottles of ginger beer. I have all the camping food supplies in a neat tray. The crafts are all together; picnic supplies are easy to reach. Things are off the floor!

I am a de-cluttering phenomenon! I am on a roll! I have reached a new level of what I’m willing to give away or recycle. I am motoring through other rooms, other closets – I am a de-cluttering fiend!

Uh, oh. Danger, danger. There’s a reason why they say all things in moderation. Next post: Discard Remorse. Or, if they’re still in the recycling bin, do I dig in and retrieve?


  1. What is the Universe telling me through this blog post? We have been considering a new deck, also. Is this confirmation that we should go forward with that project. Or is this a reminder that I need to do some major de-cluttering? Or should I learn to play dominoes? Or just do some dusting and call it good?

    1. Yes, do the deck. I LOVE ours! Dusting that serves a higher end is worth dusting for.

  2. Yeah Barbara on the door! Good decision.


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