Anyone remember where we parked the car?
Unless I do something about it first. Unless we all do something about the enormous collection of junk we think is so valuable and precious that it must be stored away forever. Like this crap:
4. Tape cassettes, VHS Tapes, and DVD's
This one I can't even understand, but I'll be damned if I don't have two full cases of cassette tapes, a box of VHS videos, and two boxes of DVD's in my basement right now. I don't even have a device capable of playing 2 out of the 3. Do I really need a copy of Full Metal Jacket taped off commercial TV in 1994? Am I really going to listen to the Spin Doctors deep tracks (on warped cassette no less)? As for the DVD's, I can't remember the last time I thought 'I just have to see _____ again.' In the days before cable and on-demand, and Netflix, and RedBox, sure. There's nothing on TV, let's watch 'Dude Where's My Car?' again and finally polish off that bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 (Grape) I found under my carseat. But the choices these days are pretty much limitless and re-watching shitty movies just doesn't make sense.
Hello darkness, my old friend.
I'm terribly guilt of this, but I realized something the other day while looking at my bookcase. I'm never going to read any of the books on those shelves again. They are going to sit there forever, just gathering dust; sad reminders of the far more literate and culturally aware person I used to be, until I die. Those aren't books, they're trophies. Would I be less complete of a person if I gave away my entire collection of Lewis Carrol's collected works? Fuck no. Because 90% of the shit on my shelves can be downloaded for free. The rest can be had for peanuts on the digital reader of my choosing.
What to do with them instead: If you try to sell your old books, you're going to be horribly disappointed. With few exceptions (text books, genuinely rare volumes), you are going to get pennies on the dollar for what you paid for them. Even used bookstores will only take a portion of what you dump on their counter and Goodwill has been known to leave the boxes of the books sitting on the curb after the far more useful clothes and furniture have been carted away. My advice is to recycle whatever is left and get over the notion that every book must be preserved and cared for until the sun goes black.
2. Old Clothes
Parents are probably most guilty of this. It is a scientific fact that kids automatically grow approximately six inches every time you bring a new bag of clothes home . So I get the frustration at getting rid of something that's been worn once. But clothes,like food, have a shelf-life. If you're thinking of 'handing down' those parachute pants to a younger sibling, you're only setting him up for a life of failure, ridicule, and writing bitter, angry blogs.
Likewise, it's also time to give up your collection of band tshirts from college. Do you honestly think there will ever be a time when it's not shameful to wear a Hootie and the Blowfish tshirt out in public again?
Of course, some things are just timeless.
What to do with them instead: Give those clothes to a charity or a women's shelter while they're still fashionable and can be used by someone who will truly appreciate it (and won't be scarred by them later).
1. 'Important' Papers
The only important paper you ever need.
"Hey dude, what grade did you get in Mrs. McRobie's home economics class in 7th grade?" asked no one, ever. So why do you have a complete run of old report cards dating back to kindergarten? Likewise, do you really need a series of love letters from that girl with the lazy eye that stopped abruptly after she finally had surgery? Those boxes and boxes you have of paper aren't fond mementos, they're tonnage of crap you're passing on to someone else to hoard after you're gone. Because throwing away a departed loved ones old composition notebook is next to impossible without a lot of Vodka, tears, and a possible exorcism. Spare them that burder now and dump that shit. The world will be better for it.
What to do with them instead: Go straight to the recycling, do not pass go, do not collect $100. And while you're burning your school papers, go ahead and toss in any receipt, tax form, etc. older than seven years. Not even the IRS wants that shit.