We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, March 6. 2023
Spring cleaning rules around here
Around ten years ago Mrs. BD made me leave the house for 8 hours. Sent me hunting or fishing or whatever. She had a dumpster outside. The guys took away everything in the attic. It is bare, still.
So it seems that the basement has become the storage place. Excess. A firetrap. Sentimental stuff mostly, but 2 brass beds and a nice carved wooden trundle bed. A pair of antique rockers. Sets of china. Punch bowls. Photo albums. Photos and prints. Books. Kids' memorabilia they don't want.
- If you don't use it and your kids don't want it, donate it or junk it. It's difficult to donate stuff nowadays unless it is desirable. In NYC it's easy because any stuff you put on the sidewalk evaporates in an hour or two. I don't live there though.
- If you don't use it ever, will it end in a dumpster when you croak? Save your kids the trouble, now.
- Extra shoes, boots, coats, clothes? Will live long enough to wear them out? Garbage. Donate only if in perfect shape.
- What about all the stuff from past hobbies? They are past, aren't they? Dust-collectors.
How do our readers do these things? Often, people wait until they move, or die.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:39 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
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Mrs. BD is pretty smart.
We've mostly decluttered / dejunked in the past at moves. Now that we are retired and settled we pull together a pickup load once a year and trash it.
This is sage advice. I even have my great-grandmother's rocking chair in the basement. What am I going to do with it?
My wife and I lead a small non-profit parks organization, so small we don't even have a treasury, let alone a budget. One of our mentors--a parks policeman--suggested we sponsor a National Night Out event. So what could we do for said event? Devoid of cash, we brainstormed ourselves into an annual White Elephant Giveaway--like a rummage sale, only free!
We solicit our friends and members to de-clutter and contribute all those old books, ugly neckties, unopened bottles of aftershave, and whatnot. Every year we worry if we'll have enough stuff, then worry that no one will come to take it, and finally worry about what to do with the 5 oddball things no one wanted. It's amazing the weird and useless things that people see value in and scoop up when the price is ZERO. We've been doing this for 12 years, with no end of contributions and giveaways in sight. Nowadays, our park patrons ask "Will there be another giveaway this fall?" Fame, of sorts.
Give that old stuff away. Like my wife says "Don't hoard somebody's dream."
Moving works. However there are always these two questions in the new location. Why did we move this? And, where is
the____ ? You never know.
I'm an outdoors guy so I have lots of stuff. Who gets the hunting stuff...don't know but maybe my grandson. Same with my fly fishing stuff. All has a story and means something to me but that doesn't transfer.
Accumulated lots of stuff from my career as a geologist and again, means something to me but is a mystery to most. My grandson is interested so he gets that too. There a few things that he really seems to like or is at least curious about. My Brunton compass is one; my slide rules from college (they are a mystery to him and I was never sure I understood them either); My mechanical drafting set from college; and lots of artifacts from my overseas assignments.
So does moving all the furniture to install hardwood floors. Holy crap! what a bunch of junk I tossed!
"Three moves are equal to one fire." (Mark Twain)
I suffered through a fire in my college apartment that destroyed pretty much everything I owned. Later I moved so many times early in life that I could do it all in one small pickup truck.
Then I bought a house and my wife and I lived in it for 27 years; even after renting a dumpster and winnowing through it all it took half a semi-trailer to haul it across the country. Our rule of thumb was that if we hadn't used it in the last five years, out it went.
Yes! Moves for the win! My biggest moves came in the 2000s with moving to and from the US to Japan and back and then to Okinawa and finally back to mainland Japan. So many people I’ve known stash hordes of furniture, clothes, books and other personal and household items in a storage site in the US while overseas—Most likely outgrown or mildewed and never to be used again. No long term storage for me. Having purged when moving across the US in my earlier career, I knew I had to whittle it down and just do it. I have no regrets and neither will my children.
I try to keep clutter down, though given its a farm there are things not used for years that are suddenly needed. That hydraulic hose hanging on the wall for ten years saves the day when the baler blows a fitting. Electronics and computer parts is where I declutter frequently, there is no point in keeping old cables or adapters that don't have any purpose.
...there are things not used for years that are suddenly needed.
That goes double for us suburbanites. My wife teases me about all the scrapwood I collect and save. And then raves about my handmade wooden giftboxes and workshop fixtures.
I make a lot of YouTube videos and do projects so my apartment is pretty cluttered. However, I have moved a lot over the years, which entails getting rid of stuff. The only things I can think of. I regret having tossed were record albums. Would Lordy they are heavy. Thrift stores have become very selective in what they will accept which upsets me.
Don't just discard - first try posting to the many 2nd hand web sites. My son got a lot of nice kid's furniture from these sites.
This is especially true for hobby items. Sometimes special equipment or materials are expensive. I got a nice sewing machine when someone's mom moved to a nursing home.
And if the economy really does fail catastrophically, many folks will appreciate your second hand clothing. Won't help anyone in a landfill.
Also consider documenting before you discard. I sorely miss many family related records and artefacts that my mom discarded. Photograph and scan... A blog/publication based on family heritage may spark interest.
Also consider a bit of creative marketing... Those punch bowls could be very useful for today's buffet and barbeque entertaining - or serve their original purpose in the current renaissance of cocktail culture. Do the kids even know about them?
It took my 20 year old nephew and me two weeks to clean out my great aunt's house, two garages, and workshop. Her husband/my uncle was a craftsman and a hoarder. Whenever he'd see an old storm window at the curb he'd take it home, take the glass out, and store it. Result: a quarter ton of glass we had to toss. It took three, 30-foot rolloff dumpsters to get rid of his stuff.
I will never do that to my relatives.
I, who live alone in a four bedroom home with three cars and a cat, am happily waiting until I die. Then it's the kid's problem.
Unless the cat dies while I'm still reasonably mobile. Then I'm out a here like a herd of turtles.
go ahead and toss, if you think that style won't change again your wrong. Blond furniture is just a recycle of mid century modern and that too went and came back. Just makes what is left more valuable. On the same note my mother in law died and how she crammed so much in a 50's slab home is unreal. But that being said my wife came home with two mid 50's circle chairs.
Designed by Joseph Cicchelli and made by Reilly Wolff Co.
Not exceedingly valuable but some value and she reupholstered them ( they had been done twice before) look good and we'll keep them
We are mindful about getting rid of stuff after having to downsize my mother-in-law's possessions when she moved from her house to assisted living, then to memory care, and finally passed away. My wife is still going through her stuff, although it is mostly just photos and jewelry now.
We have lots of stuff in our house, but we consciously look at what we have and whether we need it, so our kids won't be stuck with it when we pass on. We have grand kids that are just starting out, so they are a convenient way to dispose of household goods. Two of them have already laid claim to my LP and CD collection, and one of them is being gifted with an extra turntable that I first bought in college.
We keep big plastic bags in our closets that we put stuff like clothes and other goods to give away. When the bag gets filled, it is off to the thrift store with it.
You have to be careful about junking stuff. People often literally throw away money when they do.
I have a friend that is an estate auctioneer. Last year a man we know died and his children didn't want any of his stuff so they got a dumpster and started emptying the house and workshop into it. They enlisted the help of a friend who happened to know my auctioneer friend who he called and asked to come take a look.
One dumpster had been hauled to the landfill before he got there. To make a long story short, he persuaded them to let him auction the estate. The auction brought in a little over $60,000. He estimates that $10-15,000 went to the landfill.
I still have room in the attic...I have no earthly idea what will happen to this place, in seven generations people have never moved out, but they have returned stuff as family lines have died out. On the idea that this is a cross between a museum and a junk heap. Maybe when my father dies, I will start shedding stuff. My mother would certainly like that. My nieces who will get it when I die certainly don't care. Hopefully they will recognize the artwork, furniture, and books for what they are...but if they don't, they don't. But who does need 16,000 volumes of books and counting? Or a very coherent cross section of late nineteenth/early 20th New York City illustrators/artists? Or three Steinway concert grands?
Maybe my grandmother had it right: burn the place down in a big Viking funeral, that has always appealed to me as the last of the line.
If there's something in question of keeping or getting rid of, and if it's movable, like a box, put it in a place that you walk by more than occasionally, and if in a week, you don't notice it, well, it doesn't exist...toss it..!