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.
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 …