This morning, before the heat of the day set in, we marked the end of my eight day intersession effort to clear out our lower level and the beginning of my husband’s ongoing effort to straighten up the garage, by making our second and final dump run of 2017. Tomorrow I’ll be back in the classroom.
From my eight days of work to clear out the lower level, I amassed…
Seven canvas totes full of thirty years out-of-date middle school science, social studies, and math texts — libraries and resale shops won’t take out of print textbooks —
and five trash bags filled with equally ancient newspaper clippings, magazines and a ream or two of related classroom worksheet duplicates.
From my husband’s garage-clearing efforts, he culled…
Two busted drying racks
Uncounted ratty plastic buckets and containers
A pile of filthy mats, rugs, pads
And a sizable array of rusty, broken yard tools.
And that’s it for our 2017 allotment of “get into the dump free” vouchers.
It’s Total Eclipse Day.
We watched on television.
Then we went to see Dunkirk.
Then it was time to find some closure.
Just simple, repetitive, box-breaking
Over and over and over
Battling all stray notions that some of those boxes will be JUST PERFECT someday for something
Because they certainly will not.
There they are.
HELLO Long Buried Bed!
Tomorrow we return to actual decluttering as we head to the recycling center to discard the boxes and to the dump with a load of trash from the garage and back deck… (And there are still some shelves to clear.)
Our moonlighting house painter was exhausted by the time he finished squeezing the work he did for us into his dwindling free time. It took him three months while he dovetailed painting our house with the increasing demands of his primary job and dodged inconveniently timed rainstorms.
But in the end, he left behind this unsightly pile of used paint buckets grumpily grumbling to my husband, “If you make me take these, I’ll have to charge you for the dump fee.” I was not happy when I discovered this mess and the story of his parting words.
But irritated as we were, we quickly figured out that we could add those buckets to a stash of broken useless stuff we’d been assembling for our own trip to the dump — one of the two free loads we get to discard each year.
And tonight. Tonight, given the appalling triumph of institutionalized mean-spiritedness against the weakest among us we have just witnessed, I must start building the counter-revolution by forgiving our house painter.
In the end no harm was done, buddy. You are a really good painter and our house looks wonderful.
We get two free trips to the dump each year. Our 2016 vouchers have been sitting in the glove compartment while un-reusable un-recyclables wait patiently for their turn to leave the house. Although we’ve hauled out bags of tradable books and some clothing to donate fairly recently, we haven’t dealt with the trash. Releasing and recycling things feels light and happy but a shadow of failure clouds the decision to consign anything to the dump
A couple of posts ago I wondered, “Whither next?” as I marked the end of having dispersed the greatest part of the sea of materials left behind by my husband’s first wife. It turns out that both my husband and I have ideas about what to do with the storage space we’ve begun to clear out. The satisfaction in having a plan for the space eases any sadness about heading to the dump.
And it’s already November! We must not waste this year’s dump vouchers!
But I don’t have the final say over what can be dumped or recycled, or what must be saved. My husband, the direct inheritor of this house full of stuff, must make all the final decisions. Until today it’s usually been I who have done the sifting and sorting and suggesting while he comes in at the end to edit or ratify my decisions.
Today was different! Today we sat together while he sifted and sorted then I stowed and stashed. Together, we amassed a dump load; together we selected out a boxful of rummage sale candidates; together we began to assemble a wall full of boxes intended for delivery to his deceased wife’s relatives.
The picture is of a quilt we found at the bottom of a box of forty years stored curtains. It might have belonged to my husband’s mother. Of COURSE we are keeping it!
We just discovered that our local Salvation Army drop off center has closed in response to facing $400/week in dump fees to dispose of people’s unusable discards they would dump at the site after hours when nobody was there to reject it.
So…. every thrift shop for miles around is stuffed to the gills with the legitimate contributions which are no longer being taken by the Salvation Army. Nobody will accept as much as a donated shirt. We had to turn around and bring home again the four bags of clothing we’d gotten motivated to cull from our closets this weekend. Although they have no holes or stains there is no easy way to get them into the donation stream.
What do I think of all this?
Well, while decluttering is well and good and necessary it is far better yet, to avoid accumulating piles of stuff in the first place. Unless we will keep it, love it and use it.
On the other hand, thinking about the folks who would discard unwanted things where someone else has to deal with them…
Our county transfer station will only allow active customers of an established solid waste disposal company to bring “hard-to-handle” solid waste to be dumped — folks who handle their own waste disposal — country folk who burn or bury — can’t bring decrepit furniture or worn out appliances to the county transfer station. (And only two “hard to handle” loads per year are allowed.)
The second is that the transfer station is only open during the hours when working people work and in this county, working people need to work.
I’m getting very angry about a consumer stream that hasn’t required the manufacturers of all this overabundance to be responsible for repurposing or recycling worn out furniture, cars, and appliances.
On a brighter note, the Humane Society did take a bag full of frayed towels to use with their furry orphans.