Defeat the Dragon in your Attic

My Six Steps to Defeating the Dragons in Your Attic


Eventually,it happens

that we need to face our inner-dragons & purge them from our home.


I began to recognize the amount  of booty the Dragon brought into its lair. It bulges with mystery contents. In the darkness of secret places, the treasures await our attention like a dragon swimming in an underground lake. I can almost hear it singing with pleasure as it floats around the bundles of accumulated booty inside my attic.

“All mine,” it proclaims, “this is all mine!”

I knew I needed to have a plan in place so I could make changes.



My PLAN to Defeat the Greedy Dragon


STEP #1: Talk to the Dragon.


Face it! You need to clean out your accumulated items.

Speak to the Dragon about what you are about to do.

I said it out loud, “I am going to clean out this space, NOW! It cannot wait another year.”


Don’t look around for someone to blame for the clutter. What matters is that you have too much stuff and you need to move some of it out of your life.

Don’t wait for anyone else to do this job. You are going to fix it.


STEP #2: Invade the Dragon’s lair by stepping into the space where it dwells.


Don’t think about the entire collection. Begin by looking at only one box and bring it out. Keep your thought centered on only one box at a time. Carry it out. One by one, you will bring each item out of the Dragon’s secret, dark place and into a different room where you can sort through it later. Stay calm. Never mind the Dragon’s urgent demands to “Leave this stuff alone !”


Last week, I opened the first door to the interior of an attic in my upstairs bathroom. I disregarded this hissing dragon that tried to convince me, “ You needed it all. You know you WANT to KEEP it all! It’s all yours. You love it all!” But I was determined to clean out my attics and closets this spring and summer. It cannot wait another year because I am too overwhelmed to even begin this daunting job. After four days of hauling objects out into the light of the other rooms in the upstairs, I began to feel pangs of anger. “How could I have waited ten years before taking charge of this little attic space?” I thought. I am no longer going to complain  and give excuses about how this collection of treasures filled my attic. Instead, I went to work and by just thinking about one box or one tote at a time, I got it all removed from the space


Step #3: Sort the Dragon’s treasures into Piles.


Begin by making 3 or four piles in another room or two. You will take each box or bag to one of the designated piles.


As I sorted, I took the object to one of the 4 piles I made in the living room and dining room. The piles are:

_one for an upcoming rummage sale

_one for donating to charity_

_one for my yard sale next month

_one for returning it to the attic.



I must admit, I had help from my husband in getting this project completed. WE only had one argument during this job – and it was over an antique wash stand that he wanted to keep. After considering his passionate refusal to sell this chest, I decided it would be a great piece of furniture for my library if I replaced another table with this chest. It actually is a better choice. The table that we took  out of the library did go into the attic but it is a great place to keep some objects that were on the floor. It looks good and I took a deep breath and felt pride in what we accomplished in only one week.


Keep in mind that cleaning out the attics and closets is like losing weight. You have to concentrate on just one small bit of progress at a time. Don’t let your mind think about the immensity of the entire project.


My internal conversation went something like this:

“I will keep only a few of these towels. I’ll decide which ones I really want. I’ll keep all the pink towels and all the others will go to the rummage sale next week.” Of course, the greedy dragon inside of me demanded that I keep every towel. I refused.


Immediately after you decide just what you will keep from the tote, take the remaining ones into a pile. Disregard your dragons, and tank nothing back from a pile once you have placed it there. Be firm in your intention to really clean out the clutter in your life.

STEP #4:  Take a break.

I took a week off from this project before I moved onto the next attic I wanted to attack.

I needed to rest my body and most of all, my mind. It was overwhelming mentally, and strenuous physically. I needed to take a break to regroup to face yet another attic.


Yesterday, was Day 1 of my next Attic Attack This one is located in my bedroom.

With the first one all cleaned out and behind me, I moved into the bedroom to begin again. I’ll continue by following my 6 steps.


Step #5:  Sweep out the Dragon’s empty lair.


Now that you removed everything from the attic, begin to clean it from top to bottom.

Yes, you will have dead bugs on the floor! And, yes, you will even have some “cob webs” to be swept up. Use your sweeper to get all walls, ceiling and floor cleaned up.


After I do this, I go into the closet and give it a mist of Raid House and Garden spray. Close the door and keep it shut for about a day. Be certain you won’t be breathing in the fumes. If you have pets keep them away from this room.

After spraying, open the door, and lit it all air out for a few hours or overnight.


Step #6: Bring your own treasures back to the attic


You should now have only a small portion of the totes and bags you had before you started purging. I aimed to have only about 1/5 of my items back in the closet.


I achieve this by looking at only one collection at a time. For instance, I had an entire tote filled with my collection of Santa Clause figures dressed in green. I started this collection about 30 years ago. Each year, I brought out my cheery green Santas and had them on display throughout the house.


I asked myself if I really wanted to do this every year.

The answer is “no.”

I took only the 6 figures that really meant something special to me. One belonged to my grandmother when I was a small child. One was my first green Santa gifted to me by a friend in the early 1990s. Another is a vintage chalk ware Santa gifted to me by my cousin who found it in an antiques shop last year.

I chose a couple more; the stacking Santas I bought in Prague; a couple of hand painted ceramic Santa’s that I really admire. All the others will be sold in my yard sale next month.


By culling out only my favorite Santas, I eliminated an entire tote from the attic.

Just keep doing this elimination process with each collection you have. You will feel like you have really accomplished something terrific when you look in your newly cleaned out closet when you are finished.


When I opened the door to look at my newly clean attic, I realized there were no more dragons in there. What a good feeling it is!


by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Copyright 2017.  Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Lynda  McKinney Lambert

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Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press), 2002. View this book here!


Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017 

Lynda is a Peer Adviser  and writes articles on sight loss and blindness for  Vision Aware Blog


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“Our truest life is when we are in our dreams – awake.” Henry David Thoreau



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