You know those movies, where the teenagers are all hanging out at a camp or at a friend’s house and then suddenly: THEY HEAR A NOISE?  From the deepest corners of the house, a noise that is clearly not human and not mechanical.  A noise that says something is seriously wrong.

One brave soul (usually dressed in a really tight cheer leading uniform) goes to investigate, and opens the basement door.

“Don’t do it!” we yell!  DO.  NOT.  GO.  DOWN.  THERE!

But she always does.  She goes down there, and what happens?

She gets chopped up into tiny pieces.

Why can’t she just look away?  Run? Hide?

Well, that wouldn’t be much of a movie now, would it?

The funny thing is, in real life, I think we often do look away. We  do run. We do hide. But in the end, those monsters in the basement get us anyway.
Because my friends, the monsters are us.

They are our childhood dreams, turned into resentment at lost opportunities. They are our life’s disappointments, turned into anger that things didn’t work out differently. They are our missed opportunities, turned into fear that no more opportunities exist.

In the movies, there is always scary music to let us know that danger lurks below.  In life, though, there is no scary music to tell us to when those monsters are about to attack.  They lurk for years in our psychological basements until they grow so big and powerful that we cannot ignore them any longer.  And by then, it is often too late.

Who knew I could turn a simple organizational project into a metaphor for the darkest parts of my own psyche?


Seriously, I think that we should all be in the discipline of cleaning out our basements – literally and figuratively – more regularly.  We shouldn’t wait until the basement is so out of control that it is unmanageable.  We should face it, regularly, so that it is not such a big f*ing deal.

In addition to enjoying an organized pantry and a workbench free of clutter, these past weeks of spending time with my basement monsters has provided me with some incredibly useful insights and lessons.  It has been painful and a bit scary.  It has definitely not been pretty.  But I am still whole.  And I don’t need to run and hide.  AND, I have a clean basement.



Filed under Divorce, Life, Organizing, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Scream!

  1. Kristin

    Same applies to garages and closets! Thanks for your insights here Shelby 😉

  2. Elaine Radcliffe

    Congratulations! Now do you wish to come and help with ours? Love, Elaine

  3. This may be further than you want to go, Shelby, but I think basement cleaning is an example of how modern statistical/technological thinking can go awry. The ancient Egyptians and others lived on riverbanks, knowing full well that the river would flood — indeed, they counted on it. Nowadays, we are strongly, actively discouraged from living on riverbanks, and it’s practically impossible to build a new dwelling on a riverbank, because the river might flood. This is the work of actuaries, urban planners and the liability averse, but it’s wrong-headed for so many reasons. You deprive yourself of the beautiful lifestyle associated with living on flowing water; you deprive yourself of the most fertile soil on earth; and you deprive yourself of the enforced cleaning of the basement that occurs with every flood event. Some would say I am reckless and irresponsible for living with my family where we know it’s going to flood on a regular basis (6 times in the last 8 years) — I say, “I know exactly what’s in my basement. Do you know what’s in yours?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s