Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cleaning Out The Family Junkyard

I want you to do something, right now. Stand up and look around you. Take in everything that you see and really ask yourself, "Do I absolutely need all of this crap in my life?" If aliens arrived tomorrow and told you to take a handful of things with you before they evacuate mankind from the planet, would anything you see be among your treasured items?

If you're like me, you'll find yourself amazed at how much stuff you have cluttering up your home. Most things that you thought you couldn't do without when they were sitting on the store shelf, all new, sparkling and luring you in by the wallet, now seem more like expensive dust collectors, once their luster wears off.

For almost two weeks, we've been swamping out our three bedroom homestead in the transition to our new lives as apartment dwellers. We're taking only the bare essentials to fill a few rooms and jettisoning the rest. The experience has proven to be a real eye-opener into our family's habit of junk hoarding.

Thankfully, we have plenty of relatives in possession of a whole fleet of trucks, who are both willing and able to collect our old furnishings for their household junkyards. Additionally, we're probably responsible for choking curbside garbage pickups with the sheer volume of our trash, despite the lessening of their burdens by scavenging passersby. If the city had an inkling of the forest of plastic bags filling my shed at the moment, waiting on the availability of a truck so I can transport them to the dump myself, I'd probably be slapped with enough citations to see me moving into the poorhouse.

Since we started The Great Purge, I've grown accustomed to beginning my mornings with a cup of coffee and a trip to the local charity with carloads of bric-a-brac, clothing, doo-hickeys, and what-not. This was the first morning in days that didn't require an excursion to the donation door of the nearby thrift store. My schedule was so out of whack that I almost forgot to make coffee also.

Between our efforts and the occasional good Samaritan dropping by in response to my online notices of free furniture giveaways, you'd think that not even a shed full of garbage bags and clutter would be enough to block out the light at the end of this tunnel that we've been systematically polishing clean for days. Not so! Despite achieving near-Spartan levels in our remaining decor, our junk detectors are now firmly stuck on on overkill. Sometimes it seems that only a cleansing fire to the gods could provide the means to escape the web of junk in which we find ourselves trapped.

If you're still reading this, you really should stop and begin tossing out those non-essential things within reach, before the garbage begins to multiply exponentially. It creeps up on you before you know it, until one day you're standing in a deep valley, surrounded by mountains of trash bags, and wondering what you were thinking when you dragged all of this useless stuff into your life.

We're looking forward to the day when we can settle into our much smaller apartment, occupied only with those things that made the final cut. I wonder how long it'll be, before the urge to splurge on something new and shiny to help fill this space overwhelms us. After the monumental effort it took to reach this plateau, I'm hopeful that we can at least last a week.


Not that you asked for it, but here's some of the highlights of my exploration into our family's twisted treasure trove:

- Seventeen handsaws with varying degrees of rust on the blade. Because one rusty saw just won't suffice!

- Five broken watch straps. I guess we must have been thinking we could somehow connect them and make a belt or something.

- Enough batteries to power three city blocks for a month, if any of them actually worked.

- Nails... NAILS! My God! I'll have nightmares of nails of all sizes chasing me for the rest of my life!

- Power cords and adapter thingies for appliances that were off the market before I was out of diapers.

- A 50-ton kerosene heater, still in the original garbage bag that we wrapped it in when we dragged it over from the last place we lived. I'm gonna miss that!

- Old TV's and old stereos, every one five sizes too big and twenty times heavier than a walrus... and for some strange reason all of them stored downstairs.

- Paint. Cans and cans of it! I'm thinking about painting my car and calling it motion art.