If you give a Mir a basement

If you give a Mir a house with a basement, eventually the basement will experience catastrophic flooding, and everything will be terrible, and she will be sad and rent a dumpster and throw away tons and tons of ruined things.

If she throws away tons of stuff, you’d think it would be easy the next year to pack up what’s left and move 1,000 miles away, but—amazingly—she still has a ton of stuff and it takes forever.

If it takes forever, once she moves she will actually be relieved to end up buying a house which has no basement at all, because no basement means she cannot 1) fill it with stuff or 2) experience any sort of flooding.

If she doesn’t have a basement, she’ll just fill up the attic! And the spare closets in her son’s room! And the regular closets! And also the master bedroom!

If she fills up the rest of the house with various detritus, eventually her husband Otto will start sighing heavily every time he looks around.

If Otto starts sighing heavily about the mess, Mir will eventually do things like clean out a closet or five, but after a few months, all of the contents become sentient and creep all over the house. Again.

If the mess gets really bad, Mir might go through another round of cleaning. MIGHT. Or maybe life is kind of overwhelming and she doesn’t. For, say, a few years. Many years, maybe.

If it’s been many years since Mir cleaned out all of the places where the definitely-not-in-a-basement stuff is now overflowing, she will completely ignore it until it reaches critical mass or Otto’s sighing becomes EVEN LOUDER AND HEAVIER than usual.

If Otto sits Mir down one night amidst the loud sighing and explains that their bedroom feels less like a refuge from the world and more like a busted warehouse, Mir will feel very guilty.

If Mir feels guilty, she still won’t clean anything up, because why solve a problem with a logical solution? Far better to just throw herself into even more thrifting/selling on Poshmark, because reasons.

If Mir is spending the bulk of her time on Poshmark stuff, she will continue filling up the house with more STUFF, plus Otto will continue the heavy sighing, plus Mir will continue feeling guilty, and eventually—EVENTUALLY!—she will get off her ass and get to work.

If Mir finally gets off her ass, she will start by completely reconfiguring a spare room her adult child has tried to take over and setting up All Things For Poshmark in an orderly way (clothing racks and bins and shelves all organized, plus a packaging station), and restricting said adult child’s sprawl to a single corner, plus selling unnecessary furniture to make more room.

If unnecessary furniture is being sold, Mir will have multiple adventures in Why Are People So Dumb And Also Weird About Buying Things.

If selling things gets super weird, somehow Mir will also find herself buying stuff, which means More Stuff and More Otto Sighing.

If Otto’s sighing and reproachful looks increase, Mir will apologize profusely for a while but eventually start Serious Cleaning both upstairs and down.

If Serious Cleaning takes place upstairs, it means emptying an entire linen closet housing a seemingly endless supply of sheets and blankets and other random things.

If the closet gets emptied, items are evaluated and culled and reorganized, and many giant bags of linens are packaged up for donation.

If there are bags of blankets and such for donation, Mir will contact the local dog rescue where Licorice came from to see if they would like some blankets for their dogs.

If the rescue writes back, Mir will also check the rescue site to see if they have any dogs she needs, because Mir is not bright.

If Mir texts pictures of a smushy-faced little dog to her family with a note about how HE NEEDS A HOME and ISN’T HE ADORABLE, Otto will sigh even more loudly.

If Otto is sighing so loudly Mir can hear him from the next room, she will remember that her two existing dogs are already both bankrupting her and also serious pains in the butt, and she will return to cleaning.

If Mir returns to cleaning, once the upstairs is done, she will actually list things to sell and send off donations and START ON THE MASTER BEDROOM WOO HEY LOOK AT ME DOING THE THING!

If Mir starts digging through the boxes in the master bedroom, she will find hundreds of items everyone had forgotten about—bottles of Coke from the visit to World of Coke in 2007! Christmas kitchen linens! A pile of coloring books! Contact lenses which expired in 2004!—which can be thrown out because what the actual hell?

If Mir and Otto are throwing things away at a breakneck pace and Mir is feeling especially productive, she will then start running across adorable little gifts from once-little children like thumbprint cards reading “Thumbody loves you!” and clay figurines and a large wooden heart painted and decorated with about a pound of glitter and capped off with a picture of a scowling (??) 3-year-old Chickadee.

If Mir allows herself to stop and admire these tokens of adorableness, she will cease tossing/donating and instead start moving things into smaller piles for a while.

If Mir is just moving things around and not making much progress, Otto will loudly announce that he’s taking these five giant bags of stuff to the donation center and will be back soon.

If Otto departs with all that and suddenly the bedroom is actually starting to look a little less cluttered, Mir will snap out of her reverie, get back to cleaning, and actually clear an entire wall which used to be lined with boxes and bins.

If Mir clears an entire swath of the bedroom, she will then take some of the remaining piles and… well… pile them on available surfaces and swear to keep cleaning in a little bit, after a break.

If Mir takes a break, she will go put something in a cabinet on her way to get a cold beverage, and—graceful creature that she is—she’ll crack her elbow on the cabinet somehow.

If Mir hurts her elbow, she will yell a little, get her beverage and an ice pack, and go sit on the couch and whine for a while.

If Otto returns to Mir whining about her elbow and the dangers of cleaning, he will sigh heavily.

If Otto starts sighing after ALL THAT WORK Mir did all weekend, Mir will suggest that maybe they should move. Possibly to a house with a basement?

* * * * *


If Mir suggests moving, Otto will point out that first, they have to clean out the attic.

If Otto brings up cleaning out the attic (which is also filled with crap, SURPRISE!), Mir will beat him to death with her ice pack.

Kidding! She will not. But she will make him go pick up pizza for dinner. After all, it’s not like she can cook with a busted elbow.


  1. Jamie

    This is so fitting for many of us!! Hope the elbow has stopped hurting. Purging feels so good, but what a whip it is to do it!

  2. Fabs

    I can totally relate! I think I am going to purge all the stuff, but wind up “reorganizing” it to different areas to hide it, haha.

    Also, what do you do with all the stuff your kids made in school for you??? I can’t bear to throw it away, but it does take up a lot of space!

    Sorry you hurt your elbow. You are a delicate flower, don’t forget that. Maybe Otto needs to build you a she-shed.

  3. Sheryl

    You’re inspiring me to clean out my basement, which I’ve been meaning to do for about 3 years.

  4. kellyg


    We moved about a year ago. We bought new to us house before we sold old house because I said it would be easier to go through all the stuff with everyone out of the way. So 4 months after moving into new house, I gave up and just hauled what was left in the old house to new house so we could stop paying 2 mortgages. The sad part is how much stuff I really did get rid of. But it doesn’t look like it. And now I have boxes in the garage, the living room (still) and the guest room to still deal with.

    I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Sigh.

  5. Jan

    It’s bad, isn’t it, that my takeaway from all this is to remember that it’s been weeks since I looked at all the animals available to adopt at my local shelter.

  6. Brigitte

    One of the reasons I have no desire for a bigger house. I know myself, and I’d just accumulate more stuff!

  7. Mary K. in Rockport

    You have a spare room?!

    • Mir

      I can’t remember if I ever explained it but actually this house is set up really, really weird. Both of the kids’ bedrooms have a room leading into them. We’ve always called them sitting rooms, and had someone been smarter we could’ve had 4 bedrooms upstairs instead of 2. Anyway, yes, LOL. (The other one is Otto’s office. This one was the kids’ playroom back in the day.)

  8. Jeanie

    Oh, dear! That sounds so much like me, but at least you have an outlet for selling. I just look at stuff (still in bags, i.e., clothes/shoes/purses) and whine that I literally have no where to put these things. And, unfortunately, that’s a true statement.

  9. Katherine

    This sounds very familiar. We spent a good portion of our summer vacation clearing out our basement to make a mother-in-law suite, actually for my mom. This involved many trips to the transfer station m with both recycling and garbage, multiple trips to goodwill, various groups coming to pick stuff up. All of this was good. But it also involved stuffing an awful lot of stuff into the bedrooms formerly known as kid bedrooms. My son’s room is now doubling as my sewing room (he’s halfway through college and spent a grand total of 5 days in GA this year, sleeping in his sisters room).

  10. Micaela Presti

    You’ve just given your kids a tremendous gift. I’ve spent the last 4 days with my sisters-in-laws clearing out my wonderful mother-in-law’s home. She was 102 and lived in the same large house for 61 years. She had done a great job of clearing out all of her five kids “stuff” years ago, but it’s amazing what one accumulates and then forgets over the years. For instance, there were boxes and boxes of flashbulbs for old cameras, cassette tapes unopened, video tapes unopened, cleaning supplies probably from the 60’s, etc!

    • Anonymom

      Yes! My in-laws 4500 sq ft house nearly killed us. For goodness’s sake, keep at it! To keep from doing the same to our son, we’re trialing a one in, one out policy and it makes it so much easier… If I don’t need/want to replace something, why am I shopping? For me, it’s to avoid feeeeelings. It’s surprising how much more money I have in my discretionary shopping budget just from feeling my feelings. I’m skinnier, too.

  11. Little Bird

    Is there a Buy Nothing group in your area on FB? Because that can be an incredible asset when you have piles and piles of STUFF.

  12. Amanda

    I spent 6 months getting rid of stuff before this last move. Many bulk waste pick ups, a rented dumpster and several charity pick ups. The movers start unloading here and I start seeing stuff and realized that I paid to move stuff I forgot to get rid of. 4 months later and I still need to make a trip to the dump so more than one car can fit in the garage.

  13. Daisy

    It’s not Poshmark, but ThredUP also takes gently used clothing and resells it. Go to their web site and request a clean-out bag. Good luck!

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