Cottrel: Cleaning up to host holidays leads to discoveries

This is the calm before the storm, the day before we dive head first into Thanksgiving and officially enter the Christmas holiday season. Note: This may be the last time you will be able to sit down until 2018.

Months ago when the spinning wheel of responsibility pointed to my name, I bravely began preparing to host the huge family Thanksgiving Dinner. I expect to be ready by February.

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Seriously though, the reality check of more than two dozen relatives descending on the house and expecting to be fed something delicious has motivated me to do some serious deep cleaning. It was time to leave my life as a “hoarder” behind or to at least start my recovery.

I’ve learned a lot during this process, achieved a few minor goals and look upon this long term-process as an adventure. Here’s some of what I’ve discovered:

1. I have found wondrous things in my archaeological explorations — lonely lost earrings, charging cords for something, the DVR remote we thought had gone into the trash, photographs of a young thin couple with our kids, single Barbie high heels, foreign coins, expired dog tags for pets long ago departed, puzzle pieces, keys …

2. The extensive VHS collection is finally gone, well mostly gone. A few favorites have been kept back for watching on the old VCR until it or the old TV it’s attached to give out. My hubby won’t part with the boxed set of “Victory at Sea.” I cannot give up the Disney classics. By the time all the VHS tapes are gone, DVD will be obsolete and we will start all over again.

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3. Brown marmorated stink bugs are a modern curse.

4. Family movies on VHS have been gathered together to be organized then copied onto DVD and flash drives eventually. We will then be able to more easily embarrass our children. And they can have their own copies to embarrass us.

5. The mouse is now gone. The cat observed the gray furry body in the trap with disinterest. I think she was wondering why I expected her to catch it since I could get it on my own.

6. Boxes of loose photos are stacked and ready for me to sort, label and put them into albums … eventually. Don’t hold your breath.

7. We need less hobbies and interests.

8. I’m amazed that M&Ms stay edible for such a long time.

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9. How many T-shirts can high school athletes and runners accumulate? The numbers are mind staggering.

10. I cannot wait to take this purse full of accumulated and assorted change to the bank. I want to do something special with it, like play the stock market. It’s a big bag.

11. I’m thankful for the letters and cards I’ve rediscovered from departed family and friends. These are blessings and have been gathered into one place for savoring later.

12. I couldn’t have accumulated all of this by myself.

13. I never thought so before, but it truly is possible to have too many shoes.

14. Expired coupons and other tokens of lost opportunity shame me for my disorganization. I pray for forgiveness.

15. How many plastic leftover containers does a couple need? The answer is much less than we have.

16. Local thrift shops tell me they have been getting a tremendous volume of donations this fall. I’m proud to say we’ve done our part.

17. Big improvements have been made. Our house has move living square footage than before but this entire project will keep us busy for a long time.

18. I’m thankful for all the memories that sorting through all this accumulation has brought me but I’m ready to let it go. (Cue music.)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

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