I can’t get control of my stuff.
I’m unsure that this is yet one more sign of old age, an inability to recuperate after the holidays or simply that I’m a slob.
It is probably a little bit of all three, but the fact is, I’ve got a pile of stuff here and a pile of stuff there – and a little here and a little there has added up.
Don’t get me wrong. We have washed the dishes, done the laundry and put it away on schedule. The kitchen and the bedroom are not just livable, they are clean.
But the newspapers have stacked up in a couple of places, unread books are here, there and everywhere and some things that need to be filed are lying about the home office.
The best excuse I have is that I’ve been either gone or working two of the weekends since the first of the year. And last weekend was Super Bowl weekend – that’s an excuse, right?
I wish I could blame my wife, but her only fault is that she does not nag me enough.
As I sifted through things to read, things to file, things to toss out – a great system if you actually remove the piles of stuff – I coincidentally found an article on de-cluttering.
Based upon the book written last year by Marie Kondo, a Japanese professional organizer the message is “purge ruthlessly, then quit buying so much stuff.”
“America might be a little different from Japan, but ultimately it’s all the same,” Kondo says, “we’re all the same in that we’re enticed into the false illusion of happiness through material purchase.”
Ah-ha! Now she’s referring to my double-drawer collection of T-Shirts. OK, that problem stems back to the days when I lived in a town which produced T-shirts by the ton. Everybody got free T-shirts. Go to the movies? Get a T-shirt. Order a slab of ribs – T-shirt! You get the idea.
We have used old T-shirts to dust, clean the bicycles, fill donation sacks – they just won’t go away.
Then there’s my CD collection I no longer use. With the advent of digital music on Spotify or Pandora, who needs CDs? Apparently I can’t get rid of them – or the books in the box next to them.
My wife finally curbed one collection this past weekend when she filled the kitchen counter with dozens of coffee mugs. Most of these mugs have come from other newspapers or professional meetings with their names plastered on them. And for some reason over the past two decades we have been horrible about not dropping and breaking them or pawning them off on our daughters.
“Pick six,” was all my wife said. “We have room for the lovely coffee cups which go with our everyday dinnerware and six more mugs. That is all.”
Goodbye Chattanooga Free Press. Goodbye Fort Collins. So long Iowa City Press. The mugs were stacked in a bag sent to work with me.
Now what to do?
The mugs are ceramic and have some weight to them. They would make great clay pigeons for someone with a shotgun or, you could consider drinking from them.
I can’t bring myself to actually throw them in the trash – it seems so wasteful.
The purging will continue. If you want a CD full of jazz music or a “lying media” coffee mug, give me a shout.