Sunday, April 25, 2010

50 Things?

Saturday I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in several weeks. After chit-chat and discussion of life's many quirks, twists, and changes, she mentioned she is reading a book called Throw Out 50 Things.

This friend has recently moved, and so had had the opportunity to box up and throw out a multitude of things. Many of those boxes ended up in her new basement or garage because she ran out of time to sort through them.

And so she finds herself with boxes of stuff. Stuff she wants to be rid of. Somehow she is not rid of it and finds the chore of getting rid of it daunting.

I do not have boxes of stuff, per se, although I do have things in boxes that would probably be better off in the trash.

Mostly I have piles. And drawers. And cabinets. I have, actually, 46 years of stuff in this house, some of which I brought with me when I married, and some of which I have accumulated in the interim. We've lived in our house for 23 years and I guarantee you that somewhere in the attic are leftover pieces of two-by-fours from the initial build.

So I am pack rat. My husband is also a pack rat. That means we hang on to things that have memories, things that might "someday" be useful, things that "look like something" even though we have no clue what that something might be.

I have warranty papers and manuals for small appliances that have long since died and made their way to appliance heaven shoved in my "warranty file" in the spare room. We have two junk drawers in the kitchen, full of nails, screws, matches, tape, garage ties, batteries, etc. etc. What do we need all this stuff for?

The book apparently also addresses other stuff. Mental stuff, like old thought processes that might have been good when you were five but which now need to be trashed. Habits might fall under the purview of this book, too - driving the same route, chewing your fingernails, twisting your hair, chewing your cheek, whatever it is that people do that they have done for years. Maybe you're stuck in an old relationship or two. Based on the website, all of this stuff needs to go (though I find the relationship one rather a difficult thing to consider myself.)

My friend offered to loan me her book when she finished, but I went ahead this morning and ordered a copy of it from Amazon. I do not need another book - books are part of the stuff of my life - but I thought this might be worth it. Besides, even if I do not NEED another book, there is always the wanting.

Fifty seems like a big number. I don't know how many drawers, files, cabinets, etc., I have in this house but I daresay it is more than 50. So if I just rid myself of one item out of each drawer, that would be that much less clutter.

Off the top of my head, I can think of these things that need doing:
  • go through a huge box of floppy disks and toss them (maybe try to sell the old program? is there a market for this?
  • box up all my old articles and newspapers
  • clean out junk drawer #1 in the kitchen
  • clean out junk drawer #2 in the kitchen
  • clean out the pots and pans cabinet
  • go through the drawer with the plastic containers and toss out anything that doesn't have a lid
  • clean out the warranty file
  • clean out the desk in the living room
  • clean out my dresser
  • clean out the cabinet in the bathroom
That's nine things that I can think of without breaking a sweat. Things that I could spend a lot of time doing to rid myself of clutter, but also it is clutter that is doing no harm by sitting where it is.

Which makes me think of inertia, but I suspect that's a blog entry for another day.


  1. I am anti pack rat. My husband is a pack rat. Some things I understand have sentimental value but his dresser and his side of the closet are jammed with clothes he doesn't wear. I see no excuse for not thinning it out other than laziness. Our 2 lids are slobs. It stresses me out.

  2. Clutter... aaaaaaaah, drives me crazy. As for those floppy disks... fuh ged aboud it. They are dead... history... garbage....just toss em OUT!


    The Blue Ridge Gal

  3. Back when I was trying to stick with, I threw out lots of stuff; I regretted tossing some of the stuff later on, and ended up buying new stuff to replace what I had thrown away.

  4. I'll confess, I do have pack-rat tendencies. That is, I have a hard time throwing out something because I am convinced that someday, sometime, somewhere, I (or someone else) will need that very thing. So I stuff it in a drawer or shelf or closet and then, when I need it, I can never find it anyway because there is so much stuff. *Sigh* Maybe I need to read that book.

  5. After watching those reality shows about hoarders I've become more quick to just toss crap out. In fact as I throw stuff out I now announce, "I am not a hoarder!" Thankfully I'm really not...

  6. I go through spells of decluttering. At present I'm about halfway through going through everything in the house. I live in a small house, so I have to throw out things that are not used.


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