..."that's the whole meaning of life isn't it, trying to find a place for your stuff..' George Carlin
RO: All right, maybe not the whole meaning of life, but there are times when the dear departed GC seems to be right on the money.
I suffer from it in silence all year long, but once or twice a year I have a full-blown outbreak of TMS - too much stuff. Which, as Carlin pointed out, you have to store, move, clean, worry about, etc.
My solution to this affliction hit me a few years back when I had some work done on my house. There was a giant dumpster parked in my driveway for months. One day I tossed in a small item, ...who remembers, a broken flower pot or garden tool. A light bulb went off. I started combing the closets looking for small things to throw away that wouldn't get in the way of the sheet rock. Then I asked the contractor if it would be alright for me to throw in a wicker lounge chair that was threatening to fall apart. He looked at me like I was crazy - "It's your dumpster."
I flung the rickety chair into the dumpster. I was briefly overjoyed. Then I climbed in and took it out. Had I made a mistake? I'd made a similar one when a friend told me he knew how to use a chainsaw and the sight of him shirtless caused me to say "sure, take down that one, too." (I've spent five years trying to fill in that spot in my garden.) Two days later the lounge chair made it back into the dumpster.
Now every 2-3 years I rent a 6ft dumpster. But I'm smart enough to have a staging area. If an item sits in the driveway for 2 days, it goes in the dumpster. I've had neighbors come by and ask if they can go dumpster diving.
The dumpster is in the driveway....
JAN: I have often thought that the real appeal of vacation homes isn't the fabulous beach or ski mountain. It's the fact that there isn't that much of your stuff there. So you feel so much freer.
At any rate, I once subscribed to Flylady, which is sort of a manic housewife gone wild. She sends you daily emails, which can be irritating. But the one of most value was the one that made you go throw out something like 33 things in your house each week. It's so much easier than you think and it feels really good. Unfortunately, Flylady also wanted me to keep my kitchen sink clean and POLISHED. And when I tried that, I started to develop hostility toward anyone else who used the kitchen sink. Husband, kids, strangers who wanted to wash their hands.... Anyway, Flylady had to go. But now that you mention it....maybe I'll go throw out 33 things in her honor.
RO: Any significance to the number 33? Was she drinking Rolling Rock at the time? I think that's the number on the back of the bottle. BTW..I threw out 6 pairs of shoes and 4 handbags today. I feel as if I lost weight. That means I have 23 items to go.
JAN: I'm guessing Flylady for a daiquiri girl or maybe a whisky sour or mint julep. Definitely not beer. And I'm not exactly sure it was 33. It could have been 27. It was definitely a two digit, odd number, though. Memory is good for that much.
HALLIE: When Jan started saying "the real appeal of vacation homes isn't the fabulous beach or ski mountain..." I was sure she was going to say that the appeal is that they provide space for all the overflow junk that has no place in your home.
My husband has a terrible time throwing things away, and I try to ignore it--seems trivial relative to the pleasure he brings me on most other fronts. But we did have a small breakthrough when he threw away a teeny weeny red polo shirt that his mother had sewn a nametag into the collar. We're talking junior high. I told my daughter Molly about it and she immediately asked if it had already been picked up because she wanted it.
RO: Oooh, I can't believe he threw that away. That was a keeper.
ROBERTA: OOh Ro, we have a dumpster in our driveway too. But I would never order one on purpose! This is related to construction to repair some chronic leaks. I'm going down to the basement now and start to work on my 33/27. Question: if you throw away a pair of shoes, that counts as two items, right? And do they count double if they belong to my husband? (Ro: Absolutely!)
And this brings up a separate but related question. When is it ok to clear stuff out of your grown kid's room and make it into a decent guest room? I was astonished to learn that one of my friends completely renovated her daughter's room last summer as she was getting married. (She was 22.) I'm not suggesting tossing those grade school soccer trophies into the dumpster, just maybe move them to a box in the attic???
And hey, we can make this topic into a pact: In order to post on JRW, you have to report what you threw out:)
HANK: Whoa. Am I the wrong one to talk to. I have: playbills from all the plays we've seen. That's LOTS of plays. Tee-shirts emblazoned wtih every event I've gone to. I mean: BOXES of tshirts. (Bruce Springsteen at Fenway. The Police at Foxboro. The original HELP T-shirt with the Beatles from 1967 or whenever. The 1980 Olympics/CBS News (I worked for a CBS station then) when it turned out the US didn't go.)
It's Mom's fault. She threw away all my Beatle magazines and DC comics and MAD MAgazines from the 60's, and wouldn't they be worth a lot now? So you never know what's going to be valuable. I always say.
Our problem, if it's a problem, we have a third floor. It used to be an apartment, but after the lovely teacher who lived there moved, I decided we needed the room. Rooms. So: the living room is now a guestroom. One bedroom is storage. We won't go into that. (Wrapping paper. Gifts for all occasions. Stacks of books written by pals that I give as presents. Toys for all ages, jsut in case somene comes over who needs a toy.The out-of-season slipcovers.) One room is a cedar closet. One room is: oh, I can't even reveal this. Shoes and purses.
Last week I gave ten mammothly huge bags of clothing to a church charity. I mean--lots of great stuff. And it was so exciting. I'm now craving to get rid of stuff. Can't wait to clear it out. Shoes count as ONE thing, you guys.
And let me tell you--it's fantastic karma to give things away. Do it.
So question for you. How many white tee shirts does one person need?
And I agree, Roberta. Tell.
RO: And what gave you the most pleasure to get rid of...This time it was a chaise cushion that had somehow turned into my husband's blankie. It was disgusting. And now it's gone :-)