Where there’s a will, there’s a pumpkin
It’s after Labor Day: officially pumpkin time.
I’m somewhat crazed about all things gourd-related, as we know, but I do force myself to wait until September before turning my house into its own little corn maze. The Johnson residence is bland for nine months of the year, but fall? Christmas? I don’t mess around.
The only trouble, of course, is trying to decorate on top of clutter. It’s just compounding an existing problem, you know? But with a toddler on the loose, I’ve had to release some perfectionist tendencies to preserve my sanity. It’s not pretty, but it is necessary.
Like many folks, I create pockets of “storage” in available nooks around my house. It would make too much sense to, you know, have all my clothes and accessories in one closet. I prefer to have them scattered haphazardly across multiple rooms. Really adds variety, you know?
Some of my seldom-worn-but-want-to-keep items — like my wedding dress — are currently in the closet of a spare bedroom. This is the same cesspool of misery I’ve referenced when getting ready for our yard sale, going through old high school memorabilia, etc. You would think shaming myself by writing about it repeatedly would inspire some action . . . but you’d be wrong. Cute, but wrong.
When Spencer and I were moving in, anything that didn’t have a logical home — pots in the kitchen; linens in the closet — wound up either in the basement or Hulk Room, said spare bedroom so named for its green walls and purple shag carpet. There wasn’t yet an Oliver, but the bedroom closest to ours was already considered the nursery. The Hulk Room was left to rot.
I’m being dramatic, but it is frustrating to walk down the hall and see that disorganized, ransacked space every day. Again: normal folks might be compelled to, like, clean or something, yet every weekend rolls around and finds us with 1,118 things we’d rather be doing.
I’m great at that: finding other ways to occupy my time. Less productive, inconsequential ways, typically . . . but in my own defense, our toddler requires constant eyeballs — and the days of us tackling tasks together have been suspended. It’s much easier to get stuff done with multiple people keeping each other motivated. Alone in the Hulk Room? Well, I’m probably just checking Facebook.
There is nothing baby-safe about the spare bedroom. The floor is littered with staples and sawdust from previous home projects, the supplies for which are abandoned in a corner. Stacks of plastic bins contain the detritus carted over from my childhood bedroom, plus everything else I’m not sure what to do with.
Many of my clothes are there, too. In the past three years, I’ve worn five different sizes — plus maternity wear. As I’m back on the, er, larger end of that spectrum, I finally removed from my closet anything I could barely wear even back in my extreme weight loss days. Only current sizes allowed. No sense living in the past.
We spent our Labor Day weekend talking about making changes around the ol’ homestead, and I did manage to find my duster to clear out some of the resident dust bunnies on and under tables and chairs. With Oliver crawling all around the house, I’m more aware of our floors than ever before. In a bad way.
But I think I started and stopped 10 projects over the course of the three days we were home. It was the first year in many that we weren’t traveling over Labor Day — and though I’d planned to view it as a stay-cation of sorts, I couldn’t bring myself to sit on the couch. Not with so much unopened mail screaming at me.
My son is in an adorable phase where he says “bye!” quite cheerfully to anyone entering or exiting a room. As I ran around scrubbing and disinfecting the downstairs (and a smidge of the upstairs, too), Oliver was whipping around to wave at me so often I feared the kid was getting whiplash.
But I want to get things under control. Fall feels like a clean slate, and we’re heading into the busiest time of the year. If I’m overwhelmed now, how will I control the descent toward Christmas? How will we ever get our house in order?
Well, in “order.” Because order is definitely relative these days.
Some folks embrace spring cleaning. But me? I guess I’m all about autumn cleaning. Mostly so I can set all my ceramic pumpkins out.
“You can’t decorate a mess,” my mom always says — and I believed that. Until I had my own house, anyway.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.