Autumn Housecleaning

broom

 

 

 

 

 

 

By which I mean, The Autumn of Our Lives.  When I first burst upon the blogging scene, I found a site titled A Hundred Things – A Hundred Days.  It was the tale of a woman trying to make her house neater by getting rid of accumulated, unneeded, unwanted, stuff.

At first, I thought she was writing about one item a day for the 100 days, but soon found that she was jettisoning 100 items, each day for 100 days – for a total of 10,000 pieces.  It could be a bag of screws, or a pile of paper.  It could be no-longer-worn winter boots and socks, but, a hundred things went out every day.

Both the wife and I are a bit OCD.  Children of Depression/ WW-II-raised, just-in-case parents, we have also accumulated far too much stuff in our house.  Wooden mop and snow-shovel handles, bits of metal – I’m like a magpie – odd nuts and bolts, old dog tags, split rings, chunks of leftover, and found, lumber.  We add shelving and storage units till there’s hardly room to walk or work.

I was only semi-joking when I told the son that, when we die, he’ll need to get a dumpster, and spend a week throwing things out.  Something needed to be done.  I started with the garage.  We can’t get a bicycle in, much less a car.  Plastic plant pots – empty, but never thrown away, the boxes from a new humidifier and printer, now broken down and thrown out – repair parts for a motorcycle I haven’t owned for ten years – the broken automobile tail-lights I replaced.

There were three weeks where I put out two full bags of garbage, not just an almost-full one – three weeks of two Blue Box recycling bins instead of one.  We gave the Kidney Foundation two boxes of goodies and, a month later, two more boxes went to Diabetes.  I’ve dropped off unneeded but usable items at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on my way to get my daily newspaper.

I gave the daughter several keys to locks which no longer exist, as well as several short lengths of light chain, which she can use to produce mobiles, wind chimes and other crafts for sale.  I opened a small box about twice as thick as a deck of cards.  From the weight, I expected to find a random collection of fasteners, but instead got 8 feet of chain heavy enough, but not long enough, to tow a car.  Why would I save that??!

I got rid of 20 tee shirts I never wear to the grandson, 14 of them from Jethro Tull, Moody Blues and Billy Joel concerts. I have a box with newspaper clippings, ticket stubs and concert programs.  I plan to ask the second-hand music shop if the programs would be of any value to them.  Included were jokes, cartoons and other items, some of which you’ve seen and others which will be added to future posts.

I gave the coin dealer at the market a margarine tub full of duplicate foreign coins, and received two packs of quarter-sized mounting brackets in return.  The young store manager bought out the lady who owned my second-hand book store for years.  To him, I gave a box of my old science fiction books, and have seven more boxes I plan to take in over time.  Many books are in poor condition, but he should be able to sell at least some of them.

The more things I throw away, the more things I find that I regret either finding, or having to make further decisions about.  I found six half-inch worm-gear hose-clamps – just like the four I bought to hook my rainwater barrels together.  We’ve lived here for 14 years.  We lived at the last place for 13.  I found peg-board tool-hangers and storage containers from my workbench at the house before that.  In one of the little trays was a complete set of 1/16th to ½ inch bits for my electric drill, lost and unused for almost 30 years.

In the same box, which sat on and made using my table-saw in the garage difficult, I found the wife’s portion of the family silver.  She had forgotten that she had it.  It’s actually only silver-plated flatware, produced by Wm. Rodgers & Co.  Back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, when money was tight, people were enticed to go to the movies with giveaways; attend a show, get a spoon, see a flick, get a fork.  When a bunch were accumulated, you got a free blue velvet tie-pouch to store them in.

I threw out a leather business card holder.  It contained a business card from every job I held where I rated one.  It also had cards from fellow Purchasing Agents, salesmen and technical reps I dealt with for years.  These were guys I ate, drank and partied with.

While much of what is getting tossed is just unlamented junk, things like the card holder delineated our careers and lives.  They are full of nostalgia, meaning, and fond memories.  Sadly, now, in the autumn of our years, they only create and gather dust, and take up space.  The cleanup continues.

 

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24 thoughts on “Autumn Housecleaning

  1. I feel your pain. As I read I was thinking, oooh, send me those! LOL

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Which of my many pieces of junk would you like to clutter your home with?? 😕

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      • I’m starting up a project to build some steampunk style bits as a (hopefully) paying hobby. First up will be a music center with fm/am/sw/lw/wx radio, Internet radio, and video – fully modern with steampunk design. I’ve been working on all the bits and pieces that make it steampunk look and feel but how to make them all functional as well – through the use of clever high tech tricks. Things like pressure gauges that actually function as VU meters and matching USB drives etc. So any thought of old bits and bobs sets my brain thinking lately.

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      • Archon's Den says:

        Good luck with that. Sadly much of my stuff is gone, but I’ll stand well back and give you room to work. 😀

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  2. Like you, Archon, I’m also one of the children of depression-era parents, and what a high school graduation speaker described as the first bunch of war babies. I really feel old these days because I came before baby boomers. In moving from place to place when my husband changed companies as an R&D man, I was forced to get rid of a lot of things. In one house the basement flooded and a lot of things had to go. My husband was born in India in 1930 and is even worse at collecting useless things. He was also an engineer and is always going to “fix” things. 🙂

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Other than Jim Wheeler, I thought that I was just about the oldest blogger. I just turned 70. My Dad was invalided out in ’43, and I was born in ’44, like you, just ahead of the boom, although you may have a year or two on me. One does not ask a lady her age.

      I’m not sure which would have worked better over the years, moving often but having little, or living in the three homes we’ve had across 45 years, and the ensuing accumulation. 😯

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  3. BrainRants says:

    I’ve been cleaning too. I find it odd that it hurt to hear you gave away a box of SciFi as well as pegboard tool hangars. One man’s trash…

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    • Archon's Den says:

      It hurt me too! Beyond the OCD, I’d never got rid of a Sci-Fi book. These were what I grew up on – they and I matured together, but the son doesn’t want to read them. He collects the next generation, and has turned me on to some good, new(er) authors. The grandson buys a generation newer than that.

      Aside from the Heinlein and Asimov group of authors I’ve previously mentioned, I have a 1952 copy of Phillip Francis Nowlan’s 1919, “Armageddon 2419”, the original Buck Rogers novel. I also have a 1960 copy of Ralph Milne Farley’s 1926 story, “Radio Planet.”
      I must take photos of those for my ‘Old Stuff’ post before I let them go. 😦

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  4. Dan Antion says:

    If things are constant around the country, within two weeks you will need something that you just tossed out or your daughter will ask “do you still have that…” Oh well, you’re doing the right thing. Carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Archon's Den says:

      I assigned some of the conditioning to my parents. They had a garden shed with a bit of junk in it, but it must have been my ‘neat’ mother who kept their tiny house empty. Several years after she’d had to go to the retirement home, I found a stash of 12 Loonies (Canadian $1 coins), and seven $2 bills, long after Canada had stopped printing them, behind a dresser drawer in the house that Dad had sold ‘as is’.
      I’ve retained a few ‘just in case’ items but, yeah, you’re probably right. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ve been cleaning stuff out, too, with an eye to eventually selling the house and moving into a smaller one (yes, there are houses even smaller than mine – imagine that!). But my husband still keeps odd pieces of wood, leftover bolts, nails and screws, etc. Every once in awhile, he’ll be doing a home improvement project, and I’ll hear him exclaim, “I think I have just the part I need” and into the garage or basement he goes. Numerous times, he’s been pleased that he thought to save this, that and the other.

    I did, however, get rid of all those clothes that were three to four sizes too small, which I was hanging onto just in case I could ever fit into them again. I finally decided that I’m unlikely to regain my 20-year-old figure, so the clothes went to the local church.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      My place ‘looks’ bigger than yours, but I only own half of the semi.
      I once raised and evened the mismatched ends of two adjacent wall shelves by boring another hole, and bridging with last year’s dog tag, but enough is….too much. 😦

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  6. benzeknees says:

    I moved 3 times in 3 years, so we weeded out a lot of clutter during every move. But my hubby is a bit of a pack rat & sometimes gets it in his head to keep some things. For instance, when we moved to Alberta my hubby donated all his tools to one of his stepsons in Manitoba. When we arrived here he found he needed “some tools” so he replaced a few tools. This was fine when we lived in a house, but we’ve been in an apartment for close to 4 years now. The bedroom closet in our spare room houses a large tool chest with multiple drawers for those “few some tools.” He also got the idea he was going to go through our desk, file cabinets & spare closet & pack up some things so he started collecting boxes. These boxes started piling up on the futon we use for a spare bed in the spare room. For over a year (since our last visitor) these boxes were overtaking our spare room (which in all honest we hardly use). Lucky for me, our cousins from Calgary decided they would like to spend New Year’s with us 2014/2015 & we finally got all the boxes broken down. Some were discarded, some kept & shoved in the closet – but I can see my spare room again!

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    • Archon's Den says:

      The packrat habits of a lifetime do tend to pile up. We’ve just accumulated SO much…. We have nothing expensive, but I’m thinking of doing a photo blog of all the Art we have. Like you, there are rooms where I can barely see the walls. 😀

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  7. […] she has assisted me with our Fall Housecleaning.  She has been reluctant to do so, not because of the labor, or the allergies, but because of the […]

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  8. garden2day says:

    The Moody Blues…say it ain’t so….! 😀 I have been trying to de-junk and de-clutter my house and storage for a while now so I can move and get on with life. It’s bad when you inherit things and you are the last person to get everything but your kids want you to hang onto things until you have passed on–hahaha. Everyone said I kept too many things–I didn’t want to–and they are the same people who kept giving me things and then whined when I got rid of something I didn’t need but they had given me–people! That depression era thing really does a number on us…”I might need this so I’ll just put it here and see”–and it doesn’t throw itself away. I feel for you and all of us as we must go through items and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Afterall, the memory is going too 😀

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Ah, so you do feel my pain – and have a couple of pains of your own. My parents had little enough at the end, but perhaps Dad’s decision to just sell the house ‘as is’ was for the best. 😕

      Liked by 1 person

      • garden2day says:

        Awww. That’s sad. 😦 Yes I feel that pain. When you are an only child of two only children who both inherited quantities in excess rather than quality and everything has a dang story to it..oh, and everyone has passed away, it’s difficult sometimes to get rid of things. I’m trying to hang onto the furniture my dad made like a large Welsh dresser. There isn’t a price that can be put on such things because they are invaluable. Choices… 🙂 Good luck!

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  9. […] my ‘We’re Not Quite Hoarders’ and ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ posts have shown, I/we have been slowly getting rid of no-longer-needed, accumulated stuff.  I am […]

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  10. […] the ongoing Autumn Housecleaning, I came upon this, one of my first (and fortunately few) love poems, in free verse and archaic […]

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  11. […] This is another in the series of ‘Old Shit I Own.’ Do any of you know what this thing is, or what it was used for?  It’s another piece of long-lost memorabilia I discovered in the protracted Autumn Housecleaning. […]

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  12. […] thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it.  As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer […]

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