We knew we were going to have a lot of company this summer. In fact we joked about running the Floyd Motel. I thought about it a lot.
When I was thinking about it, I realized it was time to really clean the guest bedroom. This meant I had to find someplace to put all the stuff which was on the bed and the dressers. It also meant finding some place to put all the clothes I had on over-the-door hangers, not to mention half the clothes in the closet.
The little bedroom would be a good place for all this stuff, but then I would have to clean that bedroom first. Not a real problem, if I cleaned out the attic. But before I cleaned the attic, I would have to clean the basement so I had some place to put the stuff from the attic.
At this point it was too cold to work in the attic, so it was perfectly logical to start in the basement. I went down and looked at the basement. First, there were all the silk flowers. I inherited the job of doing the cemetery flowers for my family, so I bought silk flowers whenever they were on sale. I had a veritable garden in the washroom.
Where to put them was the question. The bedrooms and attic were out. Fortunately there are four rooms in the basement. All I had to do was empty one of them. The furnace room was elected.
Now a plan had begun to form. The first guest wasn’t due until June. It was only January. I had six months. No sense in rushing into this. I could clean between washer loads when I did the laundry.
By February I had the silk flowers pretty well sorted out. Under them I found the four plastic laundry baskets I’d bought to store them in, and I bought two more baskets for the Christmas flowers.
I had decided the furnace room was the best place to put the flowers. There was a decent work bench in there Bill no longer used and a nice metal four-shelf unit.
I adopted the attitude that if I hadn’t used it in the last year I could throw it away. Since most of the stuff on the shelves was Bill’s, it would be easy for me to clean them off.
The next problem was figuring how and where to get rid of old paint cans. I found a temporary solution by loading them into garbage bags and putting them into a safe corner.
After I cleaned those shelves I discovered another place with two nice shelves. In no time at all they were empty and dusted.
It’s really amazing how easy it is to clean out someone else’s area.
By late March I was able to move the flowers to their new location—one shelf for each season.
Then I was able to get to the old home-canning shelves. Surprise! There were 47 vases I had collected over the years plus all kinds of dishes, pans, and glasses I was sure someone would be able to use some day.
Time to get rid of them— or maybe not. By now some of them were probably antiques which might be worth a fortune in another 50 years. Obviously it was time to think again. As I thought I realized it was April already, and I still had the rest of the basement plus the downstairs, upstairs and the attic to get in shape before company arrived.
So I pitched all the broken dishes, and stacked the decent ones in back of the furnace for my kids to throw away some day.
It was time to work as often as possible in the basement, not just on laundry days. I found stuff down there my mother had saved for me from my school days. This slowed me down a little because I really had to read those papers before I threw them away.
By mid-April the basement was done. There was room for the stuff I needed to move from the attic to make room for the bedroom stuff so the guest rooms would be ready for guests. By June? Oh well, for me hope springs eternally.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Daily Advocate August 15, 2001.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.