When you live anywhere for any length of time, you accumulate. We’ve been in our house now for 16 years or so, just for an example, and there’s not a closet, a nook, a cranny, a cabinet, not a single corner of our unfinished basement that doesn’t have something stuffed into it. And that something, more often than not, is junk.
Which makes upping and moving, something we plan on doing sometime in the next few months to the next 10 years, a potential nightmare.
So it is, as pent-up and paralyzed as we are about our next move, that we’ve slowly started to take stock of all the accretion in our house. From the three old tube TVs in the basement that we will literally have to pay someone to take off our hands, to the old fax machine in the guest room closet. From a half-dozen unused gift backpacks in my office closet to who knows what’s behind that little door in the upstairs hallway. (Linens, maybe?)
I have, for some reason, a cucumber dressed up as a pirate on the top shelf of my office closet.
We have dozens and dozens of books that we never will read again. Why keep ’em? To jam onto some shelf in some unknown room in some yet-seen house in a still-a-mystery town, just to make us look well-read? We have boxes and boxes of CDs but, as far as I know, no CD player. We have furniture in the basement that has been there, unused and now all musty, longer than it was used and enjoyed in any house, condo, or apartment that either my wife or I ever lived in or left.
We have four old desktop computers, at least three dead laptops, a couple of computer monitors, 16 miles of cables, three old vacuum cleaners, a crib that is no longer legal to use in any state, six beach chairs, two beach umbrellas, a few framed pictures sitting on the floor, a twin mattress (sealed with wrap, at least, to fend off all the must), two boomboxes (wait! maybe one of those has a CD player), easily 10 empty boxes that once housed TVs and other electronics that we no longer own (or at least can’t find), a broken down pop-a-shot, one lightly used ping pong table (unless you count using it to pile a ton of other crap), and a virtual mountain of knickknacks, the things you look at and say, “What the hell is this and why are we keeping it?”
Some of this overload is easily enough remedied. The City of Alpharetta held an electronics recycling event in October, so I packed up a few old printers and at least eight miles of various cables, grabbed a 1984 JVC boombox (pre-CD days) and a VHS player that may or may not still work, threw them in the back of the family SUV and dumped them off at the city recycling plant.
(I kept, because I thought Luke might like to see and tinker with some old-school tech ^, an old Motorola flip phone complete with belt holster, a cool Samsung flippy that I loved, a couple old iPod Shuffles, one of those white brick iPods, a Blackberry — look at that thing! — and two Palm Pilots.)
All the shuffling around and shipping out didn’t make a dent, didn’t scratch the surface, didn’t cause a ripple. We still have way too much junk to move to … wherever. I mean, not everything is recyclable. Not everything is electronics. What am I going to do with four white, cheap, old bookcases? What am I going to do with those three old TV stands?
We have a futon, for god’s sake, with a green cushion. A musty green cushion.
Another problem we face is a familiar one, I’d guess, to many couples; what I consider crap is, often, a priceless bit of family memorabilia to my wife. I want to chuck; she wants to keep. It’s the old fight between the heartless and unsentimental and the nostalgic and pack-rattish.
I don’t consider myself heartless, of course, but I don’t see a place in our future home for every third-grade project that Luke ever glued together.
(OK, the desktop rock stays.)
To be fair, I don’t see a place for my entire set of 1997 Major League Baseball media guides in our new place. Or the three baseballs from the first World Baseball Classic. Or the boxed DVD set from the 2005 World Series.
We’ll keep Crash’s ashes, of course, because we want to and we have to. But do we need Luke’s Little League glove? That old volleyball? Every Harry Potter book on his shelf? The three and a half tons of LEGOs in his closet?
We will have some … discussions … in our future as we prepare the house, and us, for our next move. The sheer volume of stuff we have to sift through is staggering. Moving never is fun.
Luckily for us, we don’t even know where we’re going yet. So maybe we’ll just put it off a little longer. Maybe I should go ahead and buy a new CD player for all those CDs we haven’t played in years. I think we have an old CD rack in the basement.