Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Collyer Brothers: A Cautionary Tale

  I know it has been spring for quite some time now, but spring cleaning is far from over at my house. For the Lesser Recovering Pack Rat of eastern Ontario (Cue the "Hinterland Who's Who" theme) spring cleaning usually continues into the summer and early fall, broken only by frequent trips to the park where the young of the species can be observed partaking of baseball and Popsicles.

  Now, I know exactly what some of you are thinking: "Mrs. Beazly, spring cleaning is merely another of the ridiculous vestiges of Victorian society! They had to clean their houses...er, have their scullery maids clean their houses from top to bottom every spring because they were full of coal soot and street dust and the bugs that liked to live in their horsehair mattresses. Modern Dumb Old Housewives should implement a regular schedule of daily cleaning so that the work doesn't pile up!"

 Oh, if I only had a ha'penny for every time I've heard that one around the community water trough! Well, naturally, I do have my daily housework and other jobs which I try to complete on a regular basis. I have made up two schedules, one for the jobs I have to do and one for the jobs our children have to do. (See? I write fiction and fantasy.) I still like to do a big cleanup in the spring, though, and I think it's especially important when you are trying to de-clutter your home. Every piece of junk you can get rid of is something you don't have to move the next time you're cleaning, and if your junk is someone else's treasure, then so much the better: you might even be able to make a profit from it...provided it has cost you less than five dollars' worth of time, energy and frustration to move/clean around/store that old TV stand for the last fifteen years.

  Of course, the thought of cleaning out an entire basement or garage can be daunting, and that's where the Collyer brothers come in. I first heard of them while watching a documentary called "World of Compulsive Hoarders" which I viewed here, courtesy of Mrs. P. The Collyer brothers were a couple of New York eccentrics who truly took pack-rattiness to the next level...and beyond. Go and see for yourself - it's not only an interesting story, but good motivation for the reluctant spring cleaner. When you have read about the Collyer brothers, your cluttered spare bedroom probably won't seem so bad. You'll be ready to venture into those corners of the basement that have not seen a broom in this millennium, or to throw out those university notes that are old enough to legally gamble in Nevada. However, as always, do watch out for falling bundles of newspaper.

No comments:

Post a Comment