An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Let the anti-hoarding begin!

My mother has moved into a new apartment.

One might say that's no big deal, right? Well, at 84 years old, she isn't able to get around so well, which means it was left to her local children (my sister and I, plus our families) to actually move things. As a Depression Era child, she is even more loathe to pay some one else to do something she (okay, WE) can do than I am. And also as a Depression Era child, she is a little bit of a hoarder.

Now let's set the rest of the stage: The place she was moving into is about half the size of the living space she had previously, and didn't include the one-stall garage that she also had. You'd think that might trigger a bit of an off-loading mentality, right?

Nope. Not only did she NOT want to get rid of anything (which necessitated renting a storage space), but the few things she DID allow us to get rid of were mercilessly pawned on her children. In some cases we acquiesced simply to get it out of her house, and it has since found its way to other end-of-the-road destinations (landfill, Goodwill).

Also, since she'd known for weeks, even months, that she was going to be moving (she was adamant that she couldn't afford to stay in the place in which she'd been living), you'd think some preparation would be made in the way of packing.

Again, nope. All of 10 boxes had been packed when I arrived to move things. What should have taken a day at most took three plus some that my sister took over. And really, with the storage space, it's not finished until that thing is cleared out -- which, realistically, may never happen.

All this has triggered an environment of downsizing in my house. As we were loading box after box into two trucks, I promised my 12-year-old daughter that I'd never do this to her. She sighed and said she appreciated it.

So all this brings me to my real point (yeah, about time, eh?) -- I made a promise to my wife on our anniversary (which was New Year's Eve) that I would get rid of something every day throughout 2014, whether it was discarded, sold, given away, donated, or recycled. Three hundred sixty five somethings out of the house in the year. And no, that doesn't include taking out the garbage...

As I told my wife, I'm married to her, not the stuff around us.

Yesterday started off with a pile of old video tapes and a VCR that hasn't so much as been turned on in over a year. Today it's an old cracked bike frame that I'll cut apart and put into the recycle bin. And so it will continue all year.

I can't take credit for the idea -- it's something that I read on a blog some time last year. But I've implemented into my life. At some point I'll have to slow down the off-load, though being brutally honest, that could be years down the line.

It's said that the richest person is not the one who has the most, but who needs the least.

Who knows, maybe I'll get rich along the way.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I went through a similar thing about 20 years ago downsizing her from a house to an apartment. She had saved everything from aluminum paper to wrapping paper. It took us weeks to deal with it. I was in college so one benefit was that I furnished an entire apartment if my own with the hand-me-downs.