Cleared an End Table and a Bookshelf

I was not surprised at the sight greeting me in my parents’ living room Saturday morning. The couch was cleaned off. However, Mom had simply picked everything off the couch and put it on the floor in front of her recliner to sort and file. My sister and her boyfriend were visiting, and my sister watched as I ruthlessly threw out items on the end table by the couch. The ¼ inch layer of dust puffed up in little smoke clouds every time I moved an item, causing us to sneeze. I relocated a red vase to the mantle. I placed all of the coins in a Ziploc bag. I took a vote from Dad, my sister, and myself (Mom was still in bed) on whether to keep a Lenox vase made from china. It was a unanimous no. I threw away old receipts and tags that had been cut off clothes. I started a pile for things that belonged with the Christmas decorations, such as the porcelain grocery that’s part of Mom’s Christmas village. Then I took the old gold lamp outside and replaced it with a burgundy lamp with a paisley shade that I had given my mom during a previous move. My sister and I agreed that it looked great. Dad said, “I do not like that lamp.” My sister and I exchanged glances. He has an unfortunate taste in home décor. We have known him to screw a plastic paper towel holder into the cabinet, to bring a black particle board TV stand into the house, and to tape a toilet brush to the commode. My sister and I assured him that the lamp looked pretty and that it would be staying in it’s current location, and he went off to walk the dogs. “Where should I start next?” I asked my sister and her boyfriend. My sister said her boyfriend thought I should have started with the basement. “There’s no telling what kind of stuff you’ll find down there,” he told me excitedly. I laughed, knowing that the basement is Dad’s stuff, and he’s just not ready to face his hoarding yet. I decided to work on the built-in bookshelves to the right of the fireplace. On the bottom there is a cabinet with two shelves inside. Four shelves are above the cabinet. I began working on the bottom of these four. I knew I could throw away some of the items, such as a used candle and a cheap figurine. I dusted the other items and placed them on the floor for Mom. “There’s just so much stuff,” my sister’s boyfriend observed. “It’s not like you have anywhere to put a keep pile or a giveaway pile. Where you gonna put it to sort through it?” “Yes, that’s exactly right,” I exclaimed, surprised that he understood the complexity of clearing the hoard better than my family. I continued working until around 4 p.m. and called it a day.

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