The short answer: You don’t, at least not without a lot of help from friends and family.

We woke up this morning at 7 am and started our second full day of clearing out over 20 years’ worth of “stuff.” Despite already having spent weeks giving away bags and bags of household items and clothing, we found little things everywhere.

Luckily for us, our very good friends Lauren and Debra, who helped us sell our car on Friday, lent us their car for the weekend (their idea, not ours). We were able to make two more runs to give away four large contractor bags full of stuff we decided we would never use again and run other errands. Since their car has a manual transmission and is fun to drive, the use of their car was the best parting gift they could have given me, and I was a little disappointed the local thrift store was so close.

Some of the things that turned up were truly astonishing: The most surprising example was a vinyl record with recordings of Beth’s sisters labeled: “Recorded August 1947” with the names of her sisters. We weren’t able to listen to it, but we stored it for later.

About halfway through the day, it dawned on me that we might not make our deadline. By about 2:30 pm, we had finally cleared out our living room and my old office and related closet and attic. So I started cleaning the room: dusting, vacuuming and washing the floors. Since our renter was interested in learning how to play bass, I left my 5-string bass with cables, tuner, instructional books and sheet music.

The rest of the day was more of the same, cleaning and taking armloads of stuff to the basement, until we finally called it quits at 1 am and set our alarm for 4:30 a.m.  Thankfully, our daughter Madeleine had texted us on Saturday that she had enlisted help and would be taking care of anything that was left to do in the house. A very generous offer, which we gladly accepted.

At 5 a.m., we got into a cab and went to the airport. We were already in Hawaii when we g0t a text from Madeleine with an itemized list of everything she and her friend Chris did in our house. It was extensive, way more than we were aware needed doing, and we were embarrassed by having left such a messy place for someone else to clean. Thanks, Madeleine and Chris!