Home excavation… or How I learned to stop hoarding and love the dumpster

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Cleaning, home improvement, Yard sale

(Beep… Beep… Beep…)

Yes, that is the sound you used to hear as I would exit my erstwhile office and full-time dumping ground. It was where junk mail went to molder. Notice I said “Used to…”

See, in the five years that we’ve occupied this house, I’ve done a lot to it. I’ve finished the basement, replaced the fence, rebuilt the guest room, built the Nerd Lair, etc. I always seemed to neglect my office. Not because I had any particular desire to see if junk mail mated and reproduced in the light of the full moon (it does), but just a case of procrastination. Seems both The Management and I are guilty of this. I just find it hard to get motivated to do something mundane, like take a shovel and see if I can find the floor in that room.

It all started on move in day. This became one of the spots to dump stuff that we weren’t sure we knew where we wanted it. This laid the seeds. I kept a paper shredder up there to dispose of unwanted paperwork and I would take the junk mail up to be shredded. I just never got around to the shredding. So stuff would be piling up and we’d get company. The office became the dumping ground for stuff that we didn’t really know where to put but it needed to be but had to be away so our friends and family didn’t think we were complete and utter slobs.

Not quite that bad, but could be without an intervention.

It got to the point that I couldn’t really reach my computer anymore, so I began using the Management’s on a regular basis. I sold that computer and that left the Giant Corner Computer Desk from Hell as yet another place to pile things upon. It is my desire to sell the aforementioned Desk from Hell as A) I no longer keep a desktop in that room; and B) I never had a corner in the room large enough to fit the aforementioned Desk from Hell. There’s a window, a door or a closet.

Since I set upon the course to sell the desk, I had to first find it. I’m exaggerating, but not by much. That translated into a full-scale excavation effort to rival the Panama Canal. The Management always claims she’d like a dumpster. I’m more of a flamethrower fan myself, but that’s beside the point. Through digging all sorts of old papers out of the closet, including BJ’s coupons from 2008 and a reminder card to get the driveway resealed that’s two years old, I’ve been able to find some cool stuff that has gone missing. I even found my old high school cap and gown, which there’s no way I’d fit in. I found some character sketches that The Management and I made at the Art of Disney Animation attraction, as well as a certificate marking our fourth wedding anniversary that was provided to us when we were named Family of the Day at the American Adventure pavilion back in 2008.

I’ve found instruction books and warranty certificates, electronics boxes, extension cords, coupons, even some cash ($0.87, to be exact). And the process is still ongoing. I’ve shredded enough paper to fill six garbage bags and there’s still more to be done.

I’m taking this as one of my small steps toward a better quality of life. If I can change one small thing about myself, then other small changes will follow. Pretty soon this will add up to big, positive changes. If I can make this work, then I will have no problems making more lifestyle changes. Maybe it would be nice to fit in that graduation gown again… after all, I wasn’t always as large as I am.

The moral of the story is this: If you have a room filled with enough shit that there’s a chance you might find Jimmy Hoffa, you might want to consider cleaning it up. You spent a lot of money on nice floor coverings, might be nice to actually see it from time to time. If you are a shredder fan, don’t wait years to attack the shredding pile. Do it more frequently before those innumerable credit card offers start getting busy and spawning smaller offers. Be dispassionate. If you haven’t missed it in five years, chances are you can probably sell it, donate it, or dispose of it. This way you won’t ever have to hear your spouse, domestic partner, mom or whoever describe you as “housekeeping challenged.” Plus, dumpster rental ain’t cheap.

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