Come September , we will be moving to an Active Adult community and that means we are due for a major upheaval in our lives. In the twenty-one years that we have lived in this house , we’ve never had a garage sale . As a result , a lot of stuff has accumulated in the garage , in the basement , in the closets and much of it will have to be gotten rid off. We’ve been pretty careful about not buying unnecessary things but , at the same time , we’ve never thrown out stuff either . Now it the time has come to pay the piper.
I said we have been careful in buying things but when I look at some of the things that lie untouched , still in their original packaging , I wish we’d been even more disciplined . Why on earth did we feel it was necessary to buy three china sets ?Even if they were on sale and the price was right ?And those clothes , so many of which we haven’t worn for years ?And those magazines … I know I’ll never read them again but it’s going to be so difficult to throw them out .
Our friends, Vincia and Tony , have one of the most beautifully kept ( and beautiful) houses we’ve seen . Everything is so well-chosen , so harmoniously arranged , so neat and clean . It’s mostly Vincia’s doing . She has an ironclad rule. If anything is left out on the table or not in its proper place , out it goes. As soon as the new issue of the magazine comes in , out goes the old one . Ditto for newspapers .The pots and pans are always washed and neatly stacked , the kitchen sink is always empty. In the pantry , all the spices and condiments are immaculately arranged in neatly labeled jars and you could eat of the kitchen floor if you so desired. Vincia goes through the house every year and if she finds anything that has not been used even once in the past year ( or two) , out it goes.Common sense , yes, but so difficult to put into practice.
Much as I admire Vincia’s housekeeping abilities , I just cannot emulate them . Even when I finish a magazine , I can’t throw it out because I ” might” want to read that one article again ( I know in my heart of hearts that I never will, but nevertheless..). Old clothes and shoes we hang on to because we don’t want to waste them . N week , next month , next year we’ll gather them all and give them to one of those charities , ditto for shoes .
It’s not entirely my fault that the garage is so full. About half the stuff belongs to my son . He is a chip off the old block , unable to get rid of paper. There are boxes full of his textbooks from grad school and university , two or three years worth of New Yorker magazines , comic books and lots and lots of class notes. We’ve spoken many times over the years about discarding, or at least thinning out, some of the stuff but it hasn’t happened yet. Now , however , it’s time because I’m not going to haul that stuff to the new house. (My daughter ‘s been very good . She’s given me the go-ahead to throw out the couple of boxes that she has in a closet.)
Of course there is one way we could speed up things when we start cleaning up. If my wife were in charge of throwing out the magazines and the books , and I was tasked with getting rid of the clothes and the shoes , the clean up would go very smoothly . Unfortunately , it’s not going to happen .