cleaning up and cleared out

The sheer amount of crap leaving our house over the past week is simply amazing. Really. I wouldn’t have said that we had that much stuff. Okay, I knew we had a lot more than we actually use. But, I didn’t realise.

Last week, I cleared through 2 large boxes in less than an hour a piece. The first came from the sideboard and was relatively easy.

The second? Well, I pulled out all the Christmas decorations and cleared about three-quarters of them into the box rather than scattering them around the house. And, I had already tossed a bunch of stuff when I packed up last year.

On Saturday, we went through the master bedroom (and the ensuite bathroom) which took most of the day. Surprisingly, my partner went through his entire wardrobe and got rid of clothes upon clothes upon clothes, shoes, belts, and more.

This is where things get tricky. How many bags and boxes did we pull out? That’s a little unknown. To the best of my reckoning, it’s something like 18 large garbage bags (plus a side table) of stuff to give away – not including the stuff that went into recycling or the garbage bin.

And, between Saturday and Sunday, I got through the master bedroom and bathroom, the kitchen, the dining area, the lounge, the guest room, and the kids’ bathroom. Needless to say, I was (erm, am) a little exhausted from it all.

Of course, it feels good, but I think it will be better when I’ve managed to clear it out of my house.

Which – at this particular moment – is going to be a greater challenge than I thought it would be.  Why? My mother-in-law has decided that she would like her fabrics back, so now I need to go through bags to find them and then redistribute what goes off to the domestic workers that are in our house today. That is totally unnerving.

And, I just realised my assistant is only coming to work tomorrow – not today. So, I need to make the drive to the kids’ dad’s house to drop off their stuff, his stuff, and a pile of stuff for Gogo. Yargh. Those weren’t things I was expecting to deal with today.

At the same time, I need to clear through the tonnes of food we have at the same time. So, that’s the new (and somewhat simultaneous) challenge. We’re not going to buy food until we’ve depleted our current supply.

This is not going to be easy. We have a lot. But there are some exemptions in place. Here’s what we’re allowed to buy:

  • Food for work and workers (this is South Africa, after all)
  • Food for holiday entertaining (but only a bare minimum)
  • Coffee, tea, wine, beer, soda stream mixers, and the related beverages (milk)
  • Super basics: flour, eggs, oil, sugar, onions, cheddar cheese
  • Cereal and noodles for the boys (but only when we really need them)

Then, we can only buy new food when we completely run out of that category. For example, when all the fruit and veg is gone (fresh, fridge, freezer, and canned), then we can get more – but only three types. (Onions, you’ll note, are totally excluded from this; they’re a total necessity in this house.)

The same goes for grains and pastas. And, when it comes to meats, we need to exhaust what we have (which is remarkably little, to be honest), but also all the freezer meals that I’ve pre-made (which means we still have a way to go).

This grocery challenge is beginning today – and there is no time limit, though I would very much like our home to be on just the minimum when we leave for holiday in January.

Let’s see how it goes. For the moment, I really need to get into work. There’s quite a bit to catch up on!