Throw Out Fifty Things

I have made purges of my stuff at several points in my life: my 14th birthday, after I moved from home, before marriage, after marriage, before every move (7 total, 2 after getting married). All were significant purges; I filled half a dumpster when I moved from home (no furniture even, just stuff). We currently live in a small house and, although it is cramped with our stuff, I thought we had purged ourselves to the minimum. I got excited about the 50 things, and took the challenge. Here's what I ditched:

#1 - 2 pair shoes including the pair from our wedding day, I haven't worn them since (7 years); #2 - Pull back Easter racing cars; #3 Combs that hurt my scalp; #4 Spare flashlights to my mom who is a flashlight junkie; #5 Random Owner's manual; #6 Belt; #7 Ripped clothes; #8 Nuts bolts and hardware in our bedroom, #9 Homemade Diet guide (didn't work for me); #10 Knitting sample; #11 VT Hoakie Sunglasses (my Father-in-law would kill me if he saw them; he's a UVA Cavalier); #12 Random Glasses Case, #13 Hang-up clothes I don't wear, #14 Sweaters and sweatshirts, #15 random old shopping lists, #16 Ties I don't like including one from a friend of mine who died of cancer (something tells me he's okay with me getting rid of the tie.); #17 Sweat-stained undershirts; #18 Ripped Socks (made my wife very happy to get rid of them); #19 Only pair of jeans (I don't like to wear jeans, my wife likes me to wear them, but she said she'll deal.); #20 Too small T shirts; #21 Toilet seat; #22 Disposable razor case; #23 Old gauze; #24 Bottle of unknown soap; #25 Flosser holders; #26 my first guitar (I have much nicer ones now); #27 Razor guards; #28 Old toothbrush; #29 2 Winter coats; #30 DVD cases (DVDs in folder); #31 Pair of broken sunglasses; #32 2 prong extension cord; #33 Varoius DVDs and VHS tapes; #34 CD jewel cases (also in folder); #35 Spice rack (spices already in shelf); #36 Dust mop head; #37 Novels; #38 Salt and pepper shakers; #39 Broken laundry basket; #40 Desktop paper holder; #41 Decorative trash can; #42 Broken telephone; #43 Blank/damaged CDs; #44 Board games we don't like; #45 Bookshelves; #46 Flat head screws; #47 Yucky electrical tape (I already have other rolls); #48 Soap pump (we have a couple for every sink already); #49 scout uniforms that don't fit (I don't like to get rid of clothing that is like a uniform because I have this idea that someone else will get it); #50 TV and converter box (This was the big one. I don't like going out and getting the newest thing if what I have still works fine. However, as I thought outside the box, I realized that my TV from 10 years ago takes up 2 feet of space from the wall in our living room. We decided to buy a flat screen TV and hang it on the wall, reclaiming 2 feet of our small living room.)

What I haven't had time to do yet, but will do soon, is get rid of my textbooks from college, and most of the acquired material from 7 years of teaching.. Most of the texts are source material and are available online if I want them. The teaching material is not really useful because it needs to be adapted every year to the different kids anyway. That will be a big load off.

Thanks for reading.

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Comment by Patrick MacCubbin on June 1, 2009 at 9:53am
Thanks for the Kudos, Gail! Thanks especially for the idea to begin with! My wife and I feel much more liberated in our own house.

For anyone who is following the story here, I have now gotten rid of my textbooks from college, and my old teaching materials (hard copies and transparencies). All told, it is probably 200-300 pounds worth of paper. I thought I was keeping the stuff (especially the college texts) because I would go back some day and read all the materials I was supposed to read in college; that somehow I had fooled the university into giving me a degree without truly deserving it. I left that behind, accepted the fact that I did earn the degree the first time around, and ditched the texts.

Thanks again!
Comment by Gail Blanke on May 31, 2009 at 6:36pm
Patrick, wow you're terrific. And you're right, it's okay to let go of the tie your friend gave you...he'd definitely understand. Wouldn't you? One of the things we all need to let go of is the guilt that comes from throwing out things given us by people who are dear to us. They would be cheering us on if they knew we were freeing ourselves up to move our lives forward...

Keep us posted!


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