Breland: Some cleaning tasks can take forever

Published 12:07 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Once in a while, it is time to go through closets, cabinets, storage chests, even garages and attics, to sift through what has been stored; to save, give away or throw away what is found.

Where does all this stuff come from? Anyway, why is it still here?

I have to admit to being both a long-time gatherer and keeper. I very seldom throw anything away. If it is still useable, it is here somewhere and I probably still use it. It has to be in pretty bad shape to get tossed.

My son was getting ready to install my new computer printer and asked for a connecting cable for the printer. I looked at him a little dismayed as I explained I threw the old printer away.

“It is just a cord,” he said. “That is all I need. Otherwise I can’t get it installed.”

“Didn’t they send it with the printer?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “They don’t do that. You should have one.”

Since he is a computer-person professionally, did he have a connecting cord? I only got a “look” when I asked.

“One is likely here somewhere,” I told him. “I rarely throw anything away.”

I have a small basket filled with different cords, just in case one is ever needed. Some go to appliances which are long ago gone; just didn’t get around to throwing the cords away. I pulled out several cords and finally he said, “That’s it!” Cord is now-tagged and put away for future use.

While this was going on, I thought this would likely be a good time to start cleaning this room. I have my computer and accessories, the sewing machine and all my family genealogy information — stored in hard copy, discs and books. I have tons of things in various places, and surely some need to be discarded.

I spent the next entire day cleaning up various small things. Afterwards, there were several small boxes of discards to toss, but very little clean-up progress was in evidence!

It is hard for me to say goodbye to things and the process can be slow. I spent much time sorting stacks of papers as I am a note-writer with stuff strewn around on the desk. Rereading them was difficult, trying to figure why they were written and if I should keep them?

It is pretty easy for me to go through closets and discard clothing that doesn’t fit anymore, but small stuff stored away in boxes and bags and drawers is a much harder.

Never a super-organized person, it is pretty late in life to start organizing myself, but it would make clean-ups easier. I am a little envious of people who are so neat and have it all together. Surely they are born with that talent.

So, how do I decide what to keep and what to move from the house?

I finished the paperwork and, looking through forgotten old photographs brought such joy and tears, but certainly slowed down my cleaning project.

After making myself put the photos aside, I opened a plastic package and found a collection of my mother’s recipes. She didn’t use a recipe for most things; her methods were embedded in her brain.

Besides recipes, such interesting writings were there to read. Surely I had read them before, but forgotten. Time passes by as I read with delight.

There is much to go through in this room, seemingly never-ending. How long will it take me to finish? I may not live long enough!

Bob Ann Breland can be reached by email at