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Small Talk: My attic full of joy

My heart is joyful. My need for a little order in this chaotic life is sated. I just spent the day cleaning my attic.

I had the attic wonderfully organized a few years ago, but then my husband and daughter began making visits there. They had absolutely no respect for my perfect system, and things began to migrate.

Our attic is not a crawl space. Our attic is a 30-by-12-foot room, finished by the home’s former owners as a place for their wayward son to live. Oh, and it has a steep staircase. For many years it was a storage for holiday decorations and a playroom for my kids.

After they grew up, we inherited my parents’ collection of dishware, glassware and whatnots, adding many boxes of things my children thought they might want … someday.

So, fortified with a triple-shot latte and absolute determination, I set about examining the contents of every single box. I sorted and sifted and filled many bags with things I will never use, and knew my children would never take either. It was hot, exhausting and glorious all at once, as I consolidated, rearranged and cleaned to a fare thee well.

I went up and down those stairs for four hours, carrying some or dragging what I couldn’t just throw down. I wore a mask the whole time, just for dust-control. And, oh my, there was dust, and packing peanuts, and flotsam and jetsam of every sort. I cleaned until the hand vac battery died, and then I swept.

My husband had launched his messy roof repairs from the attic window and spent a great deal of time setting up a telescope so he can occasionally see the ocean.

My daughter mostly rearranged her bags of Beanie Babies and large Barbie collection … still in their original boxes. And yes, it took every shred of my will power not to leave the lot by the curb, but at least there’s room for it all up there.

After leaving it to sit for more than a week, I am planning a giant, “You Touch it – You Take It” driveway giveaway. It gives me great pleasure to offer these objects to someone who loves them. Since I hate garage sales, this is a definite win-win.

My next project? The garage. Untouched for decades, there will be a lot of unhappy spiders (and maybe an unhappy husband) before I am through.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer on a serious summer cleaning mission. Contact her at [email protected].