Monday, February 24, 2020

Decluttering again ~ my column from Sunday

A few years ago, I read a book on decluttering. Jilda and I spent weeks going through our home. With each item, we made a conscious decision on whether the piece was important and added value to our lives. The answer to that question meant the item would stay, go to the thrift store or the dump. The house felt larger when we finished, but now it seems small again.

One thing that many of us baby boomers struggle with is holding on to things "in case we need them someday." Usually, someday never comes, and we're stuck with closets, storerooms, and sheds that are hazardous to enter. Who needs mini storage when you have a barn?

Jilda and I are decluttering again, but we've expanded the effort to include the old house. I mentioned last month that we were beginning to get rid of all the junk in there, but the project was taking forever.

After a month’s work and several trips to the dump, I could hardly see that we'd made a dent. I decided to kick that project into overdrive.

I called Farley Recycling and placed my name on the waiting list to get a dumpster. We’re not talking
about one of those wimp dumpsters that restaurants use but a REAL dumpster.

My phone rang last week, and the woman said my name had come up on the list. I gave her directions to our house, and about an hour later, a truck showed up with an orange beast. It holds 30 cubic yards of junk. I could put Rhode Island in that dumpster.

Then I called a neighbor that does day-labor work. He came yesterday to help me clean out the rest of the junk in the old house and the barn.

When he rolled the wheelbarrow into the dumpster with the first load, he asked, "Are you going to throw away those old headers?" I told him they were going to be recycled. He asked if he could have them. I told him, of course.

By the time we finished, he also had an old chair, an old fence charger, bedsprings, and an apartment refrigerator his truck. These were things that we were tossing.

The old saying, "One man's junk is another man's treasure," came to mind.

When my helper and I had finished, I leaned on the trailer and sipped water. He tapped a cigarette from a pack in his pocket and smoked while he secured all his "treasure" on the bed of his truck. It felt good to finally see progress on something that Jilda and I've wanted to do for a long time.

Soon, I'll be able to store all my beekeeping tools and organize the spare hive components in the recovered space. I will also use one room to process honey. We will call it the Honey House. 

There will also be enough room for a writing space, an art space for Jilda, and an exercise room to use in bad weather.

It occurred to me as I walked back to the house for supper that getting rid of clutter opens up life for a lot of opportunities.


  1. Addition by subtraction.

  2. You sound optimistic.
    Getting rid of clutter opens life up for the next mound of clutter.
    Honey and art doesn't make it sweet.

  3. Woo hoo.
    I need to do something similar. My mind could do with a declutter too.

  4. Good for you and I think you need to find a plank and paint the words, “Honey House” in yellow, on the plank with a beehive and a bee as well. It would look so cute posted on your old house. My hubby and I need to de clutter big time but hubby loves to keep things for the just in case.

  5. I suddenly saw vision of a “Honey House”. How cool that’s gonna be. Glad you found someone who could use some of the unwanted treasures.

  6. Congrats on a job well done. Decluttering is good and I need to do more. Too much stuff and not enough house here.

  7. Dear Rick, what a helpful posting. I used to declutter every year between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Now, not so much and so I've begun, once again, to accumulate things I really don't notice and probably wouldn't miss if they were gone to a new--and better-- home.

    It's wonderful that you have plans for using the new space. And those plans--with the bees and the writing and the exercise and art will be so fulfilling. Congratulations. Peace.

  8. I love decluttering and do it all the time. I was Marie Kondo before there was a Marie Kondo. Holding onto a lot of stuff isn't important to me, but the things I care about are a different matter. I would be bereft if something happened to my autographed books or certain items that belonged to my parents.


  9. I know you will enjoy the BEE PLACE, I bet Jilda will do some great art also. I had a friend who actually swapped full basements with each other to clean it out. He said it worked great and I would be surprised how easy it is to throw the other guys stuff out. LOL
    Good article.
    Sherry and jack

  10. Congratulations for making the big step to decluttering. The new show on Netflix is called Tidying Up. It really helps with what should stay and what needs to go. My husband and I are moving to our farm house after living in our current one for the last 24 years. We definitely don't want to take 24 years of storage stuff with us so will soon be 'Tidying up' as we think about what we want to take and what we want to get rid of.


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