attics days

when we left the attic, it was still a mess.  the northwest corner had been cleared, and all the tools dumped back into the middle.  only the rakes had been hung, and the other long tools.  everything else still needed to be arranged.

it’s still like that.

jim decided he would be much less anxious if, 5 days before a studio visit, i were to turn my attention to the rest of the house and come on down out of the damned attic.

so i left it, a mess, and came downstairs to make more messes.  now there are piles on three floors of the house, piles in every room.  that’s ten rooms, thirteen if you count the bathrooms, and an even 14 if you count the porch.  the one room at the top of the house has taken me three weeks so far.  so how fast can i clean the rest?

yesterday i cleared the back bedroom of all the boxes of linens and fabrics i brought down out of the attic.  this means that i reorganized all the boxes so that they contained like objects, and then i freecycled pillows, bedspreads, comforters, sheets, curtains, towels, fabrics, unfinished sewing projects – all mildewed from the attic, and thus useless to me, tho others seemed anxious to get them.  also put on the porch and taken off by willing recipients – louvered window glass, plastic clothes hangers, a tackle box, plus eyeglass holders.  and the trash came today and actually picked up all the stuff i had parked out there for the past two weeks, primarily because i baled it.  if they hadn’t taken it today i was going to have to drag it around the corner so it wouldn’t be so unsightly.  why clean the house if the curb appeal stinks.

as if.

as if i’d clean the house just to impress people.

you don’t know me.

the reason why i’m doing all this cleaning and organizing isn’t because we’re having people poke around the house for less than an hour.  it’s all in preparation for the massive job of cataloging all jim’s works on paper, which number in the thousands, and are all now neatly stacked on tables in the attic.  when all the fuss dies down (45 minutes later on friday) i’ll be able to start cataloging and there’ll be nothing standing in my way.

other than all the excuses i come up with on a yearly basis.  but if i don’t work during the winter, i can’t even go up there during the summer, so it’s a real pressure.

i’m cleaning because i’ve been meaning to do it for seven years, the length of time i’ve lived here.  and now’s my chance.

especially once i got down into the living area of the house.  2 bedrooms, a back hall, a living room, an entrance room, a kitchen, and 1.5 baths.

clearing the back bedroom of all that stuff from the attic took a full day.  i seem to be moving slower every day, especially in the morning.  but since the trick is just to keep moving, it doesn’t matter how fast i move.  first i reboxed everything, then i took it to the porch and labeled everything, then i freecycled it, then i moved it off the porch as people took things, and after 2 days it’s all gone, mostly.

and why did that take all day long?  it just did.  lots of laundry, lots of stacking things in other parts of the house.

then this morning i moved into the gallery.  the beds were cleared off, and the work table in the big bedroom, and then all the stuff from the back hall (gallery) was taken from where it’s been stored and piled on the beds.  this is my fabric stash, mainly.  and it all ended up in plastic grocery bags – jeans, t-shirts, baby clothes, leather, wool, silk, cotton, susie, mom, allison, avery, marie – designating either the contents or who they used to belong to.  these are all clothing bits to be made into quilts and other mementos.

when everything was out of the gallery, i moved all the furniture into the middle and swept and mopped.  the water was so filthy i should have rinsed twice.  then i rearranged the furniture, which is only dressers and tables.  i did this so that one particular painting could be seen to best advantage on top of one of the dressers.  and then we ended up swapping it out for another painting anyway.  but at least it was all done.

and now i have the spare ‘oom and the back gallery finished and repacked.  there was so much fabric to stash that i had to use a huge rolly bin for the overflow, but it fits right in between two dressers.

this took two days.  i have 3 days left, or really 2.5 days.  and in this time i need to clean the front rooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the studio space downstairs, where the formerly clean front room now has a pile of stuff from the attic and another pile from the living space.

and arrange paintings so that they can be seen.  yesterday and today jim walked around the house figuring where he could hang paintings he wanted to show.  and we spent some time up on ladders trying to get them to stick up on the wall.

i’ve been going up in the evenings to sort stuff back into the northwest corner of the attic.  on monday i moved the files into place, and today i put the kitchen supplies next to them, all neat and pretty, and moved the household goods into the middle with the tools.  that leaves packing those things and moving in the knicknacks and the electrical items and the art supplies.  and that should leave me with loads o’floor space in that corner.  i might have time to vacuum in the attic before the visitors come.

this last part is really the easiest.  the living space is mostly clear because we spend a lot of time in it.  so the main bedroom and the two front rooms will be dusting and straightening (but dusting the walls and ceilings, and moving all the stuff off the horizontal spaces).  the kitchen will be hell.

and then there’re the studios.  the main idea behind a studio visit is to visit the studio.  which is all over our house.  but the main studio is just a studio, and they will not be surprised to see things everywhere and dust and disorder.  and jim’s been doing his part down here, and is responsible for how nice the front studio looks.  he’ll be getting the stuff up in the middle studio in the morning, while i’m working upstairs, and except for my studio (and that pile in the front studio), it’s looking pretty good.  i’ll probably just throw stuff into the closet and sweep the floors  (and walls and ceilings).

the difference is between housecleaning and deep cleaning.  housecleaning is where you surface clean.  you clean the surfaces.  with deep cleaning, you move everything out of the room and start by scrubbing the bare floors as well as the other 5 walls.

i’m really fatigued when the sun goes down these days.  i’m achy and sore, my hip clicks painfully when i walk, i stagger when my little dogs pull me along the street.  and then i fall deeply asleep and wake up two hours later.  oh well.

tomorrow’s another day.  we have our art party tomorrow night (can’t clean then) and then another day to work before they come over and interrupt my cleaning on friday.  i’ll let you know.

everything will be ok.


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