i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

My teenage daughter called me a liar

A load of items for the thrift store.

“Mom, that is all lies. You just put everything back in the house. You are a terrible person. Mom, you have to tell the truth. You can’t tell people how you finally cleaned out your garage. Write it right now. Tell the truth.”

My daughter Piper insisted I tell you the whole story. And here it is.

Yesterday I wrote about how I cleaned out my garage. I didn’t lie to you. But, I didn’t tell you the whole story.

I did take three bags of clothes, three vacuum cleaners, a garden rake, a scanner,a backpack, and a picture frame I won when I came in third place at the dog look-alike contest at The Boyertown Dog Days swim party, to the thrift store. Here is a picture to prove it.

Donated old vacuum cleaners to the Thrift store.

Truth: I cleaned out the garage.

Truth: We parked our vehicles in the garage on Saturday as Winter Storm Electra showered rain and ice down on our driveway.

False: I didn’t take everything that was in the garage to the thrift store.

In the living room are four boxes of books I still have to sort through, and the Lane Cedar chest my youngest daughter and I found in front of our neighbors house on garbage da,y is in the dining room. We still have to carry it upstairs to her room. The cymbals to the drum that were in the garage I put in the basement with the rest of the drum set.

4 boxes of books to sort

Every day I get rid of a few more boxes, and everyday I try to let go of the past and focus on today.

Do you try to pretend you have your life all together? but really you are a mess behind the mask?

I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.
― S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

I lie to myself. You will never be able to clean out your basement. Just do it tomorrow. Take another nap, have a bath.

Truth: I want to be honest with you.

Truth: I want to be honest with myself.

Truth: Letting go of the past is hard. Making up my mind about getting rid of old VHS tapes is hard.

Truth: It was very hard to take the old vacuum cleaners to the thrift store.

Truth: God will help me when I don’t have the strength to do it in on my own. He will even help me get rid of old vacuums.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

I am sorry if I made it look like I did more than I really did yesterday.

Today I will take a bath and maybe I will take a nap, but I will also pack up some old VHS tapes and take them to the thrift store.

Do you have a hard time cleaning out clutter? Are you emotionally tied to your possessions? Please tell me in the comments. I really want to know.

p.s. I just went upstairs and asked my teenage daughter, “Does this sound okay? My teenage daughter called me a terrible person. No, it should say, My teenage daughter called me a liar. And she was right.”

p.s.s I have the commenting system Disqus. Here is an on-line tutorial about how to register for Disqus, if you are having trouble registering. Registering a Commenter Account.  



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Loved this post. My cousin was someone who really couldn’t get rid of stuff. The problem came when she needed her social security card. Enter Jess and Anne. We gave up a summer and went through her apartment. We found the Social Security card. Pattie’s stuff was because of all the pain in her life. Stuff didn’t just up and die. Pattie died about 5 years ago to breast cancer. I have a lot of Pattie’s stuff. Stuff I need to sell. She used to collect Dept 56 pieces.

    I have trouble getting rid of stuff people give me, even if I don’t like it. And if they die then I have to keep it for sure. What? Yep.

  • Valorie MacDonald

    Pamela, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!!! for being your own vulnerable and approachable inimitable self;)) I have a bold and brilliant yet compassionate daughter who is my biggest supporter (along with her 12 yr.old sister!) and will tell me when I need an integrity check. We are BLESSED!)) As for clutter? There are currently 7 empty pickle jars, 10 coffee tubs and numerous Crystal Light canisters hanging out in my cabinets, waiting with bated breath for me to find the PERFECT diy projects! I wonder, should I just walk over there right now and toss them all into a garbage bag, what items that are currently cluttering up my counter tops might find a home in all that cabinet space! Worse still, I have culled my vhs tapes at least ten times but always end up holding on to so many! It’s really a paralysis of sorts for me; there are so many more items I’m not even mentioning! I just can’t imagine how I would get past a starting point….so I don’t start…. UGH That makes no sense! But still….. 🙁

  • La McCoy


  • kathunsworth

    Pamela thank you for sharing your every day life struggles, to me it sounds like you are positively human, not a Cylon robot, a human with a garage full of collectables. I am about to start my yearly de-clutter in the school holidays and am amazed at how much junk we collect over the year. Even getting rid of a couple of things makes room for new things to clutter up my shed lol. I ask myself will I need it? Does it have emotional attachment? Can I sell it? Or what charity could I take it to? Oh what fun it is.

    • Good Morning Kath,
      Being human is kind of fun isn’t it? I wonder what you will find in your shed?
      From Christmas until the New Year I am going to attack the basement and I will use your questions to guide me. Please let me know how your declutter goes.
      Yes, oh what fun it is!

      • kathunsworth

        My husband has scored some old antique furniture. He is repairing and old cupboard, an oak dresser and a very old kitchenette cupboard, This a good reason to de-clutter before we put them in the house. We love to renew and re-use. The sheds are full of stuff as I don’t have a basement. I could not find the christmas tree, so we knew it was time to have a clean up and throw out the stuff we don’t use anymore… Kids happy when we we finally found the tree. I guess having a small house I have to keep on top of things and plopping my discarded stuff in the shed is a way of saying next stop is the tip lol. (except for the tree)

  • Pamela Black

    And how did you manage to throw out the KIRBY!!!??? Brave. Very brave…

    • Oh, Pamela, the poor little Kirby sat in my garage for seven months pleading to be let back in the house, but he just didn’t have the power anymore to get up the pet hair. He was free from freecycle in Minnesota twelve years ago.
      I pray he will find a new home and a new family to love him.

  • Pamela Black

    With each post I only become more endeared to you. You are truly my long lost soul sister. It’s probably a good thing we live so far from each other or both our garages (and houses!) would be even fuller. But, my life is fuller because of your words. Thank you.

    • Pamela,
      How fun that my soul sister has the same name as me!
      What do you like to save? Or what do you have a hard time letting go of?
      Thank you for encouraging my writing, and you are very welcome.

  • Robn Patrick

    You know what? I like you! So many things you say I can relate to. And there are times I don’t relate at all and that makes me think. Which is good.
    I used to pretend all the time about who I was and what I did – or didn’t do – because I didn’t like me. Now, I still don’t particularly like me, but I don’t pretend nearly as much. What you see is what you get. Well, if honesty is the name of the game then I should probably say that it’s a constant battle in my brain to be myself and not try to make someone happy or comfortable. And it’s especially hard to be me and not worry if they are going to reject me or not like me. GASP! So while it’s always a battle to just be honest I figure it’s the right thing to do. IF I have the strength to do it. Way to go Pamela on coming back and being honest. Although you get kudos to for getting all that done in the first place. I’m impressed about both!

    • Robin
      And you know what Robin? I like you too. Being you is the only thing in the world that only you can do. And you get to be you, the beautiful, kind, creative friend that I miss.God made you special and he loves you very much.
      I pray when you wake up and look in the mirror, you will see your best friend, and you will like her. Be kind to her and give her grace.
      Thank you for your kind words Robin.

  • Kristin Praly

    YES I have a hard time cleaning out the clutter because I know the truth. It is highly unlikely that my clutter will actually be recycled properly without further damaging the Earth. I have plastic bottles here and I have NO idea what to do with them. Why? because I don’t want to contribute to the underwater plastic TEXAS sized disaster of recycles under the ocean.
    For instance Renee’s cup? I’d probably make a paver out of it. etc. Just can’t help it!

    • Kristen,
      I am imagining your home completely full of plastic water bottles. Perhaps you could find a place to recycle that promises to keep them out of the ocean. Or you could mail them to Kansas, or another state that is not close to the ocean.
      Pavers out of Renee’s cup sounds like a fun idea. Maybe she hasn’t taken out the trash yet and she can mail it to you.
      Did you see the home made out of plastic bottles filled with sand? Maybe you could make a new horse stable?

  • renee

    ok, I’ll confess. My kid was snitching candy corn and broke a cup. My husband threw the cup out without letting me say goodbye. I dug it out of the trash. You see, it wasn’t just any cup–it was from a set–my first wedding present. It symbolized more than just something to drink out of.

    I hid that broken cup in my work area . . . for 3 weeks.

    Then I decided that I could let it go–I knew I needed to let go to make room for . . . whatever might come next.

    I got it!

    I need to let go of the past in order to live in this moment. Now I can look at anything in my house and ask, “does it serve me now?” There will always be more than enough. I am slowly believing that I am enough and I will always have enough.

    • Renee,
      Your broken cup wasn’t just a broken cup was it? Did you throw it away or bury it in the backyard?
      I will ask myself the same question as I go through my basement. “Does it serve me now?”
      You are enough Renee. And so am I. We can let go of the past and live today.
      Now what’s for breakfast?

      • renee

        I recycled the cup AND two broken bowls that I was hanging on to–I had this idea for a mural–to have all my broken beautiful dishes on the frame of a mirror. Then horrified, I realized I would be surrounding my “right now image” with broken bits of the past. Uggh! I want to look in the mirror and think “I am love!” not “who is this person defined by her broken bits”.

        For breakfast we are having these coffee cakes that will be decorated like reindeer! So adorable. I bought a little kit but you could do make them with just muffins and pretzels for antlers. I’ll post pictures . . . somewhere!

        Be Blessed.

        • Valorie MacDonald

          Renee, maybe you’re not defined by broken bits..? Maybe when I see before you the image of who you are today, those broken bits which your peripheral vision simultaneously feeds your brain can speak to you of God’s redemptive love which uses EVEN our brokenness to create something beautiful which we carry with us into our futures: wisdom, compassion, freedom…Just my thoughts;)

          • renee

            yup! I agree.