Beware of that excess baggage . . .
“We live on top of a garbage heap.” AW used to say. “Every day we bring in arm’s full of stuff, but not one of us ever takes arm’s full of stuff out.” I was shocked, and knew he spoke the truth.
He meant that our closets, drawers and basement were full of things that were; too good to throw away; would come in handy someday; curtain rods; old lamps; picnic equipment replaced by new and better; pop corn shakers; wall pictures we’ve tired of; equipment for hobbies we long ago put aside; and I could go on forever, but you also have your own list of stuff you’re saving.
The habit of ‘saving’ is born in us, and continues slowly, but relentlessly. and before we know it, it’s not only a problem, it’s a PROBLEM.
Think it over. Gifts you never found a place for? Stuff brought from childhood homes? Each child’s baby mementos? Saving reaches so far, that I’d fight anyone who might even suggest re-painting the inside of a ‘broom closet’ door where I marked my son’s heights and ages on their childhood birthdays.
And life is sad because death reaches all families, and we’re faced with a closet full of their clothing. (I called D.I. quickly) But handling their personal items from desk, drawers, shop or den is something else. It’s not only heartbreaking, it’s cruel.
I finally found a partial answer to ‘regular’ stuff. About twice a year, I’d take a great big sack and prowl. Closets, drawers, downstairs, garage, you name it, I poked, picked out things to garbage, and started making a dent. And, with careful choosing, and crossed fingers, not a thing was ever missed.
Then, one day I put out a screen door. Too good to toss out, but after five years??? Well, I put it at curbside for passersby to see. Everyone knows what you’re doing, and before evening came, the screen was gone. Since then I’ve done the same with other things, and it always works.
Once in a while someone will ring the doorbell and asks if you really want to get rid of it, and with your affirmative nod, they grin and are on their way with your ‘stuff’. And you grin, too.
The ‘saving’ problem grows, like when your kids leave home for school, to marry or take a job someplace else. Happens all the time, Your grown up kids just leave the stuff, thinking that ‘one day’ they’ll do something with it, but for now??? Yeah, it stays in your home..
It’s a hard task, it always hurts. and I have a few rules. I will keep some things that are of no earthly value at all, except, that is, if they’re beautiful, or an antique. And then there are always those things that fit no rule, but, again, if it’s something that someone I loved used and treasured, I keep it.
And, like most mothers, I’d like to save every toy and fingerprint those sons of mine ever made, but it gets to the point of whether you want to live surrounded by yesterday or to cut the hooks and begin to live for today. And often a compromise is the answer. We’re odd creatures.
But the next time you see an old table, lamp, TV, chair, or whatever, at a curb side, just grin and know that someone else is trying to lessen their own ‘garbage heap’. However, you must watch yourself, for instinctively you’ll find yourself slowing down ‘just to see’ if it’s something you might want, and I swear, you will.
Better beware, for this is the season when everyone is doing the same thing. With every turn in the road you’ll see more and more wonderful ‘give aways’ at someone else’s curb. Be prepared and disciplined. Firmly, shake your head NO. Keep your eyes on the road, not the curb, and your foot on the gas, not the brake.
Be strong and you’ll make it home without having to unload more than you got rid of. I know, I’ve been down that road it’s a tough one. Good luck.