There’s a big full box of stuff our son Dan left behind when he moved out several years ago that is finally headed back to him next week.
If all goes well next Saturday, an array of items like his old football and baseball helmets, sweatshirts, a bucket of baseballs, multiple sports jerseys, some books and more will be transported from our house to his. How much of it he will decide to keep will be entirely up to him — and his wife.
Those items will be delivered with a clear message — no backsies.
Dan had already moved out of our home in Virginia when we relocated here in 2015. Since he lived in modest-sized apartments, first with friends and later with his wife, Maggie, we agreed to both move and store his stuff until he had a home large enough to hold them.
Now he does, complete with a spacious basement.
With all the unplanned extra time we’ve had in our house during the pandemic, gathering Dan’s stuff together has been just one part of our effort to cut back on what we store.
Like many of you, we’ve gone into high gear declutter mode over the past year.
It’s incredible how many things we haven’t thought of or needed in years still occupy space in closets, on basement shelves and in our garage.
It’s especially amazing because we’ve moved multiple times over the years and have had multiple opportunities to shed what was unwanted and unneeded.
One time, while we were living in Virginia, our basement flooded, forcing us to part suddenly with a fair amount of damaged goods.
Yet, somehow, we’ve still got all of this stuff.
There are blankets and curtains we haven’t used in a decade or more. There’s an old kitchen table and chair set that my late dad refurbished that I haven’t had the heart to donate yet.
There are wall hangings we’ll never hang again, file cabinets full of my old clippings, suitcases we never even used when we still actually traveled and decorations for every imaginable holiday.
Have you ever heard comedian George Carlin’s classic routine about stuff? If not, it’s worth finding. It’s got some language in it, but it’s a classic.
Here are a few bits of it:
“That’s all your house is — a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”
...”That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff!”
... “Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.”
... “Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else’s house, you never quite feel a hundred percent at home? You know why? No room for your stuff.”
Two final points about this.
First, one of the reasons it’s a good idea to declutter is that someday you might move again and the more your stuff weighs, the more it’s going to cost you to move.
Second, outside of a few really valuable items, your grown kids really don’t want any of your stuff.
Trust me. They’ve already begun to collect enough useless stuff of their own.
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