A&E network is launching a new reality show called Hoarders. The trailer is an intriguing look at “hoarding” taken to the extreme. It's extrodinary look at "consumerism" at the extreme.
This week, my wife and I returned from a summer away.
We looked at our life’s collection (accumulation) of junk in a different way. What would an outsider view as of lasting value in our spaces?My wife and I have plenty of "stuff" we need to shed, so that those we leave behind others don' have to do the shedding. (We don’t plan on going any time soon, but its good to get an early start on any journey.
My sisters tell great stories of dispensing with my parents stuff in a forty foot dumpster. My wife dispensed with a lot of her parents stuff by having a contest called "stump the chump". The "good helper" relatives and friends would look at an object from the attic, they would try figure out what it was? or what it had done?. After making the best guess they put the object by the side of the road with a "free” sign and guess how long it would last before someone would drive by and pick it up. Try this when you are cleaning out the garage or basement. Pretty soon, complete strangers will be stopping by to help you get rid of your junk.
Don’t get me wrong, because my wife and I are "loaves and fishes" people. (the more you give away the more you get in return,) we have been forced to be brutal about dispensing with the unnecessary, trying to focus on "things" with intrinsic beauty that will find at least a single "new" life after we have moved on to some other plane.
Another helpful thing is that we have packed up and moved over twenty times in thirty two years of marriage. When all your stuff needs to fit in a Uhaul truck, you make good choices of what is necessary and valuable and what is just junk.
I am sitting in my new office at work. It’s a complete shambles with the detritus of a lifetime of work, absurd plastic awards and plaques, pictures of things I have worked on and hundreds of books (none rare) and a cascade of business training crumbs. There is a faded copy of my master thesis about a topic that is obsolete today. That's going in the paper recycle bin: a copy is in the library at the University of Missouri if I ever need it.
The crappy awards from defunct companies and from groups I can't even remember-in the recycle bin if there is any post-consumerism possibility.
There is hope for me. After the office let’s tackle one of the garages.
PS: TIPS for non-pathological hoarders.
Pack things in boxes, seal the boxes. If in six month you can't remember what’s in the box, throw it away without opening it. Chances are you won't miss anything.
Move often. And to smaller and smaller homes.
Buy a car with a smaller storage trunk or hatchback.
When promoted, throw away everything from your past work that will NOT enhance your career. Trust me, the cheesy award plaque from when you worked in the mailroom as an intern will not enhance your chances for the next VP slot.
Throw away your spouses “stuff” when they aren't watching. Apologize and buy something nicer to replace it, if you get caught.