Friday, July 11, 2008

The True Meaning of Junk

In the past few days I've had a bee in my bonnet to get rid of the clutter in my house.

This is no simple matter. For one thing, if it were easy for me to get rid of clutter, I wouldn't have collected it in the first place.

It is a love-hate relationship, between clutter and me. I cherish my piles and bins of stuff, while resenting the messiness and sheer volume of it.

So the day before yesterday I took step #1. I targeted the most offensive site - the bedroom which was Sean's. All the boxes, bins and piles came out of their hiding places.

I don't know about your clutter. Maybe you don't have any. If you don't have any, I'm not sure that I understand you. But I guarantee I'll admire you!

My sister-in-law gives me a subscription to Martha Stewart's magazine and the one thing I marvel at is the sleek lovely barren beauty of every room featured. That's what I like. That's the goal! But still I wonder, what does a person who lives in such a home do with all their junky treasures? They can't fool me. Come on! They must keep their kids' report cards, special baby clothes, VCR tapes of events in the 80's, letters, and the like. I'll bet off-camera there is a bin lurking around the corner. Or 11 of them stuffed into a closet. Gotta be.

Anyway, the project is on. Hubby comes home for lunch every day and scowls at the piles on the sofa. It's like a living thing. I clear out and toss 3 lawn and garden bags of junk in the daytime and when I awake in the morning it has spread down into the hallway. Like an amoeba.

Just in case you have any interest in what the piles consist of, I'll give you a rundown;

Tea lights, in bags and loose.

Cassette tapes. About 50 of them. Gotta listen to them all because there might be some with my precious childrens' voices on them. My children are now parents themselves.


A shirt a size too small with stains on it. I was going to shrink myself and take it to the cleaners and wear it again. Right?

Shoes that look like a refugee's footwear.

Recipes! I mean a lot of recipes! I am not lying here. I spent hours watching Fox news and looking at each one. The weight of the paper, clipped out of newspapers over a decade+ and ripped out of magazines is estimated to have been about 8 pounds. No kidding. 3/4 of that pile is going to the curb. I am never going to make Oysters Rockefeller.

Now I have to confess a small sin here. I think it's a sin...? If you ever go to the doc's office and are leafing through a magazine and can't finish the story about whether or not this marriage can be saved and discover a hole where the counselor's assessment would be, then you will know I have been there.

I am stealthy. I can tear out a recipe with almost complete silence. It's a fine art. Like pick-pocketing, maybe? The trick is to go slooooow. I would consider selecting a doctor based on the quality of the magazines in his waiting room. Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and Good Housekeeping are on my hit list.

How ironic. Good HOUSEKEEPING.

Is there a support group out there for recipe addicts? I really want to get help now.

Next post I hope to be able to show you how sentiment drives a GREAT deal of my hoarding problem. If an item reminds me of a happy time, however mildly, I want to keep it. Maybe I can get Missy to help me post a photo of the wierdest item I have kept - I mean since, oh, 1962?

All for now. The pile is marching into the breakfast room and leaping up onto the table...


Texana said...

My dear daughter Julie left this open for me to read and then asked whether I had. I suspected it was something to which I could relate.

Even though we cleaned out a dumpster-load of "keepsakes" and true junk before we moved to the east coast a couple years ago, she thinks that the closetful of treasures I still possess is excessive.

Someday when I am gone, she will understand that there are some things you just can't get rid of (because I am leaving them to her!), and there are myriad things I let her (and others) talk me into trashing that I still regret losing.

I don't think of most of my clutter as junk, but as history. I am the family historian. I bet you are too!


BTW, this wasn't the only post that sounded like me.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...


I love you even more after reading this post.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are plenty of things worth keeping. Even if they make no sense at all to anyone else. But There is one thing in our house that I still can not get my husband to adequately explain to me: the five POUNDS of old keys.
He keeps insisting that they will one day be a mobile for a baby. when I point out that this is unsafe, he say "oh, well maybe a wind chime?" grrrrrrrrrr we have all wooden wind chimes dear.

oh. right.

he says. and puts the five pounds of keys right back in the drawer.