Loving Our Big Blue Dumpster

There’s a big blue dumpster in my driveway.

No, we’re not doing re-doing our kitchen or adding a new room, or even re-doing a room we already have.

We’re cleaning up.

Now, I want to assure you that my husband and I are not hoarders. Walking through the rooms of our house isn’t a problem. Although Bob’s studio … and the ell room that holds our dryer and the cartons of my books .. and that other room in the ell where we have a freezer and a pile of empty boxes and odds and ends we used at antique shows (when we did antique shows). Yes, those rooms could use some help.

OK. We’re not hoarders. But somehow we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. (And nonsense.) We’re tossing a lot of the past into that big blue dumpster. Computer and audio equipment and televisions that stopped working years ago, but that we never got to the dump.

Papers that belonged to parents, former spouses, or former selves. Cans of almost-empty-and-now-hardened paint from ten years ago, when we were re-doing rooms. Appliances and tools that don’t work. Jars we might use to clean paint brushes or make pickles. But we haven’t. Bits and pieces of construction materials, also left from ten plus years ago, “in case we needed them.” We haven’t.

Broken glass we never recycled or took to the dump, but kept nice, neat piles of. Broken picture frames we never fixed. Metal and wooden stands and worn portfolios we used in the antique print business we now run solely out of the house. Hoses with holes. Plastic flower pots.

And etc. Lots of et ceteras.

Yes, recently both my husband and I have both had some health issues. But we’re feeling better. He’s painting. I’m writing. We went out for lunch today.

But this purge is improving our mental health more than any pill. Feeling weary or aggravated? Throw something out! Tired of sitting at a desk or standing at an easel? Clear that clutter!

Plus, there’s the bonus of re-finding long-lost items. (Bob found the original of his will yesterday. I found a needed surge protector in the case of a long-dead laptop.)

We’ve even purged our closets, and donated bags of clothing that doesn’t fit our bodies or lifestyles any more. (Clothing doesn’t go in the dumpster.) We have a pile of “still-good-but-not-for-us” items to donate to the Historical Association yard sale next spring. (We donated a van full this year, too.)

Next challenge? Trimming bushes I haven’t touched for over a year because of manuscript deadlines, and whose healthy new growth is beginning to cover our first floor windows and has totally eliminated our using one door.

I can hardly wait to get started with my clippers. But – first – I have to write my daily quota of pages. Then, my daily reward? Filling that dumpster.

It’s a challenge Bob and I can live with. We’ll live better without everything we’ve avoided dealing with for too long. (One of the hazards of having a cellar and an attic and a barn, as well as those ell rooms.)

And, who knows? Maybe I’ll find the clues to a future mystery in the debris we’re sorting through. Stranger things have happened.

I’ll think about that soon.  Right after I clear out that drawer full of non working tape recorders and cameras and wires that connected computers that are long-gone. I have my trash bag ready …

About Lea Wait

I write mysteries - the Mainely Needlepoint, Shadows Antique Print and, coming in June of 2018, the Maine Murder mysteries (under the name Cornelia Kidd.) When I was single I was an adoption advocate and adopted my four daughters. Now my mysteries and novels for young people are about people searching for love, acceptance, and a place to call home. My website is http://www.leawait.com To be on my mailing list, send me a note at leawait@roadrunner.com
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9 Responses to Loving Our Big Blue Dumpster

  1. Ann Hough says:

    Clearing out clutter feels wonderful. I have never been one to keep broken or no longer used items but every so often I do go through what I have kept from the last go through and get rid of more stuff. My husband died last October and I just now finished going through his tools. I’m in the process of “clearing clutter” in my life with the plan to move to Maine in the spring/summer of 2018. I’m looking forward to living lighter in the next stage of my life.

  2. Anne Cass says:

    Good for you! Sounds wicked fun.

  3. You’ve inspired me to do some clearing out here!

  4. Barb Ross says:

    I’m thinking of you. We’re doing the same thing as we’re moving. And then we’ll come to Boothbay and do it some more. As I often said to my mother-in-law (with zero noticeable effect), “If everything is important, nothing is important.”

  5. Hooray, Lea and Bob! Having a large, dry basement is a blessing and a curse, but feeling more of the latter than the former these days. Thank you for demonstrating leadership on this front. Someday soon I hope we will be following suit.

  6. Amber Foxx says:

    Clearing out does feel good. I recently downsized to a tiny apartment and don’t miss anything I didn’t keep. Getting rid of old electronics can be complicated and you can feel like a hoarder waiting until Earth Day or some other occasion when someone sponsors a collection, and it depends how remote you are, but there are sometimes e-waste recycling events in various Maine cities. In Virginia, I once hung onto an old computer for two years waiting for an e-waste recycling opportunity or a trip to place that would take it, and then my college’s art department solicited old electronics to be recycled into student art projects. It finally left.

  7. MCWriTers says:

    I got Ken something called a Bagster, which is a portable plastic dumpster you unfold and fill and then call Waste Management. It may be his favorite present ever.

    Meanwhile, I am staring at my closet, which is definitely overstuffed. Yesterday, a friend suggested an interesting cleaning method (not quite Kondo-I hated that book.) You get out all your skirts and try them on like you are in the store, then keep the one’s you’d still buy.

    Maybe after I finish today’s thousand pages and weed the new flower bed.

    Bravo for decluttering.


    • Julie says:

      What a good idea for closet cleaning! I should apply that. And I, too, hate the Kondo book. My step-son’s attempt to convert me to it was a signal failure.

      We are in the process of adding onto our house, but that has meant a temporary major contraction in usable space. 90% of the former attic’s contents have left this house forever. Today I’ll be handing along more items that are still useful, but not to us, to family members.

      One thing struck me about Lea’s post: in the Pacific Northwest, we are not allowed to mix our types of trash so blithely. The important push for recycling in an overcrowded region has made the disposal of anything more complicated. But I’ll admit to having been very happy to throw the 30-year-old vacuum cleaner into the construction dumpster when no one was looking!

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