Thursday, April 19, 2007

NPR - Cleaning house

Well, it's spring, or the calendar says so. The weather here is another matter. But I finally decided after years of piling things in my rented garage-sized storage area to go through everything and use the triage approach, recycle, trash or keep, in that order. And I can hear the tone now, "Yeah, right." Well, I can try can't I?

It's always been my interest to only have what I keep in my place and small adjacent storage area. But then that got full and I rented a small storage area. That got full, and you can guess the story, until I finally rented a garage-sized space. It's now completely full of stuff years to decades old. You see I can't throw away a box when I buy something, because I've always planned to move and wanted the original box, "just in case."

And now 20 years in the same place I have boxes going back over 30 years, from my first move including the boxes from my first stereo system. I've tried in the past to clean it out and after a few days and little progress, I usually quit, only to fill the new empty space again with stuff. So why should I think I'll succeed now? I don't except I want to so I can get back to where I don't save beyond my place.

And the plan now? Well, it's to work incrementally, one day per week. One task or small space each time. One errand at a time, and slowly over the months I'll be down to the stuff I have to make real decisions about. You know the stuff you put personal value on because it's been with you a long time, a family heirloom, or maybe something you'll use. Well, how long will I keep saying that and haul it around for another storage space?

And what is that? Well, I have a 1960 stereo cabinet and stereo from my Dad. The stereo is really junk being early 1960's technology and not reparable or worth anything. The cabinet is a different matter. It was built by a German cabinet maker who used only used hand tools and dove tailed every joints and hid the hings (piano hinges). The back is made of 100 year old Oak. It's really cool and neat, but very retro.

After that it's my childhood German one-speed bicycle and a 1960's Peugeot 15-speed racing bicycle, both of which are in parts and not reparable or worth anything but junk. After that it's boxes and boxes, all folded from moving or empty for the stuff that was in it. And then it's just the accumulation of stuff of life.

In reality, cleaning house isn't a physical exercise - ok, it is - but it's more a mental exercise. How much stuff do you want? Me, I'm working on that this year. No hope I'll do better, it's simply do better or face the reality of seeing it every time I open the door.

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