Post by email@example.com
What caught my eye, at the end, was how one subject said she was
"scared straight" by observing the cluttered houses of deceased
people, some of whom had been in the process of decluttering. She
said everyone thinks they have more years left to live than they
really do. (I'm trying to get rid of stuff right now, every day,
even though I expect to live at least 30 more years, since you also
have to assume that you won't have a strong back for your last 20
years or more.)
A friend of mine died suddenly last November. She wasn't exactly an
out-there "hoarder," but she was a little weird about what she'd hold
onto. I went to Minneapolis to help her de-facto husband clean up
some of her crap. It was eye-opening. The main thing with her was
books -- crazy numbers of books. She didn't just collect them, she
read voraciously and wouldn't / couldn't part with anything once read.
I think the last count was upwards of 5,500 books. Where the hell do
you go to get rid of even 1/10th that many books in one go? The used-
SF-bookstore in Minneapolis is already a firetrap and they won't take
a copy of a book they already have in stock.
Furthermore, I was a firefighter in my city for 12 years, and I've
seen some pretty amazing "clutter" cases. Seriously, if I catch a few
minutes of "Hoarders" when flipping channels, I shrug and say to
myself that I'm not impressed. This problem is both worse than most
of you imagine and far, far more common.
These things were foremost in my mind recently when I moved my
household to the big city. I sold a 2,000-plus square foot suburban
home with an enormous basement and 2-car garage with two full
workbenches, along with ridiculous amounts of utility shelving and
cabinetry ... and I am currently moving into a sub-1,000 square foot
2BR apartment. So while others are doing Swedish Death Cleaning, I'm
sort of in a Norwegian Ragnarok Tidying-Up over here. The downsizing
so far has been *savage* ... and we're still sorting through crap we
never should have brought with us.
Anyway, that's my advice to anyone who wants to downsize but just
can't take those steps: move. When I was in the service, neither I
nor anyone I knew was overburdened with ridiculous amounts of crap --
because we all moved our whole households every 2-3 years.
Unfortunately, Big Corporate America paid for my move, so I had no
strong *financial* incentive to cut things loose. I was limited
mainly by my tolerance for storing / sorting through crap.
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it.-T. Lehrer