Every so often we’re forced to come face to face with that never ending problem, cleaning out our closets, cupboards, garages and sheds. No matter who we are, sooner or later we have to acknowledge the reality of owning TOO MUCH STUFF.
Neatniks and slobs, we’re all the same, things begin to own us, rather than the reverse. Some few among us are able to maintain a little control, but if we were never overly tidy to begin with, we can get in real trouble. I’ve long felt that any storage unit left unattended for as little as a day, will become a breeding ground for whatever might be inside.
I’ve never understood those unusual people who deliberately search out things to collect. I never needed to collect anything, I just accumulated. Without half trying, I’m likely to find myself buried under mountains of things I’ve accumulated.
If I were clever enough I could arrange little displays of my more interesting pieces of trash and call them collections but I’ve long since filled up all available shelf space and table tops, and I’m afraid most everyone’s reaction would be, “Doesn’t she ever put anything away?” I’ll leave the collecting to the real collectors.
So, what can we do, those of us who are in real danger of suffocating under all the junk? Well, a house fire would work, but there might be too many complications there, insurance companies getting nosy, police investigations, or the odds of ending up homeless, Fire can be recommended only in the most extreme cases.
There are always the time honored garage sales, yard sales, and such, but there again, not a good idea. Too many of us have a tendency to buy more at other sales than we sell at our own. Definitely counter-productive.
Donations to thrift shops and charities have a two sided effect, too, They get rid of a lot of junque, and we feel good about ourselves afterwards, but this again is apt to be counter-productive. The last time I gathered up a huge donation for my favorite thrift shop, I had to go down and buy back things I’d unintentionally given away in the spirit of charity.
Taking a minute to think seriously about the items and objects we own, we should ask ourselves just why they’re so hard to let go of. Most of my clothes are almost as old as I am. If I could get them on I’d probably still be wearing them. Faded, holey, seams out, I don’t care. There’s an emotional connection there that keeps me hanging on to them, and I still treasure them all.
What is the oldest item or object you own? Speaking for myself, I can’t think of a single thing I own that’s older than me. I’m it, the oldest thing I own. I can’t remember at what age an object goes from being called “vintage” to becoming a genuine antique, but I’m pretty sure I’ve passed that milestone.
Rather than having increased in value over the years as a hand carved piece of furniture or a rare tapestry would, I’m afraid my personal value has decreased to the point where even the DMV no longer wants my remains. As for worldly goods, I never did own jewels, furs or old masters. I do have a pair of shoes that are so old I have no idea when or where they came from, but I don’t think they qualify as antiques yet.
So I ask myself, “Why am I this way?” I can’t be the only one like this. Call me miserly, call me cheap, or call me a hoarder. I confess I’m all those things.
And what is your excuse?