Friday, December 27, 2013


My grandfather had a small white house with a large orchard we would spend summers at when I was a little boy. Back then it was enchanting. As years gone by lack of modern amenities such as indoor plumbing, color TV and electricity without frequent outages kind of lost its charm so we eventually stopped going. One of the most magical places on his property was the shed full of things he never allowed to throw out. You may call it junk, I called it his treasures. Furs, furniture, machines of yesteryear, everything had some value to him, I actually he believed some of those things have value or may be useful in the future. Either way  it felt like he never parted with anything and it was just added to the pile. There was no order or logic to this collection- it was just a lot of stuff. My dad is similar in the sense. In our three bedroom apartment most if not all of the cabinet space was taken over by his nick nacks, parts and tools. To his credit, he did use some of it though as he was single handily responsible for all the remodeling and home improvement. Also, back in the day in Communist times everything was really hard to get, so I understand the hesitation of letting things go. But the problem was with all the things useful and not piled together, you couldn't really find anything and quickly you'd run out of space.  When no one was looking, my mother- the practical, level headed cleaner of the house would raid some of those places and indiscriminately throw most of it out. For years we had a large pile of newspapers in the living room. What for? Who knows. In that sense I take after my dad. I have the" I may need it at some point" or "It's going to be useful at some point" instinct.  Having a pile of junk is one thing, but keeping it organized is another. If my mom saw a mess in my room when I lived with my parents she'd clean it and dispose large quantities of it. I now think, quite frankly that I'll need it at some point in the future (and never "now") is a code word for never. Yes, I tend to be a hoarder myself. It's not even that I think I'll use most of it for anything, it's just that I don't have time or the energy and I just really, really don't want to go through the junk mail that comes in every week or the law magazines I just put on the top of my bookshelves always thinking: One day. But I really don't have the space in my one bedroom apartment to store any of that stuff. A very attractive offer from National Geographic came in the mail- an annual subscription for next to nothing, but all I could think of was another pile people will be tripping over a year from now. I guess I have a bit of my mother in me as well. Once in a while I take one of those lawn and leaves plastic bags and take on an "everything must go" attitude. I did that just before Christmas. Programs from the theatre, catalogs, mail, cards, I don't have room to be that sentimental. Some of the things from my old apartments- will I ever use it? Loading things in those bags and setting them in front of my door for pick up actually made me feel good. I was freer and lighter and I was letting things go. My mom uses cleaning as a way to process through some things and channel her stress into something productive. I did it to distract me from the work I should have been doing and yet it made me feel good. I was thinking of my dad and my grandpa  and how much better I feel not being tied down to a lot of things I don't need anymore anyway. It's a New Year, isn't it? So out with the old...    

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