Extra Trash or a Stash?

First published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of January 31, 2016

Something About Nothing

Do you have a stack of magazines you haven’t read from years back? I do. It wasn’t an intentional stash. I would receive my AARP magazine or my Good Housekeeping and intend to read it the day it was delivered. Of course, something else would come up, and I would put it on the stack. Today I am sorting through the stack.

Let me clarify that I love magazines. They are part of my reading world. The first magazine I picked up was an AARP magazine from 2015. I glanced through it and put it in recycling. I felt what was relevant in 2015 won’t fly in 2017.

The next magazine was a writer’s magazine. I put that in the to-read pile. I plan on reading it today. I decided to go through my stack and designate today as a reading day.

I have a little eccentricity problem. I also keep magazine pages. I will read a magazine and find an article I think I might want to reference in the future, so I tear it out and put it in a folder in my file cabinet. I do the same thing with recipes I want to try. With the recipes, you might remember I don’t really like to cook, but I love to save recipes for the day when I am going to become a master chef. And then — wait for it — I never look at that folder in the file cabinet again until I am cleaning it out.

Once a year I clean out my file cabinet. I pull the folder out and decide I probably don’t need anything in that folder and decide to toss it — but then I stop and think that I might have stashed something else in the folder in a moment of hurry, I check the items in the folder. You guessed it ­— when going through it, I look at the articles or recipe, and it is almost like the first time I saw it, and I decide to put it back in the folder. The same goes for product or appliance manuals. Does anyone ever go back and read appliance manuals? I have appliance manuals from appliances I don’t remember ever having.

This year has been a better year. My house is getting emptier. It hasn’t been hard to let go of some things, but anything to do with reading makes me feel as if I am giving or throwing a part of me away. That includes books. I love books.

E-books have simplified my life. When I take a weekend or longer trip I don’t carry around the suitcases or bags full of books that I usually do. I put the Kindle in my purse, and I have plenty to read for as long as I am gone. Getting rid of books and magazines I can touch and feel and smell seems sacrilegious — there is something about the smell of books that make me feel as if I am eating and smelling a gourmet meal. It is the book lover inside of me that has an insatiable appetite.

My magazine stack isn’t just one type of magazine. I have Good Housekeeping, AARP, Do It Yourself, Guideposts, Prevention and Writer’s Digest. I have varied tastes. If I am in Barnes and Noble or a bookstore, the magazine section is a magnet for me. It happens in the grocery store, too, and in the grocery store those magazines are there tempting me to buy as I check out. What’s another little item purchase on my grocery bill?

You would think, considering all the magazines in my stack, they would make me smarter. You would think I could ace those trivia questions on trivia night because of my magazine stash. The problem with that scenario is I first have to read the magazines, and then I have to remember what I read.

My stash is going today. Some will go to the library. Some will go to recycling. It is going to be a marathon reading day. If you catch me tonight I might actually remember something I read, but if I don’t, it actually doesn’t matter to me unless it comes up in a trivia question next week. I am reading for the pure joy of reading. I will immerse myself in fluff, facts, home improvement, decorating, inspiration, meditation, and stories that will give me a brief respite from what is happening today in our world. And if I don’t remember it and I keep the books and magazines, when I go through them again to toss, it will seem like the first time I have read them. Sometimes having a short memory is a plus. Look at all the new reading material I have.

Add on note: My paper stash of magazines is almost gone. Yikes, now my Kindle is full, and it is telling me I have to delete some books and magazines. Does that mean I can’t keep the last year of DIY on my Kindle? How can I ever let it go to the cloud? What if the cloud fails and it rains out to cyberspace all my reading material? My vision is cloudy. Will that vision become reality? Will my cloud get full, too, and they will tell me to get off of my cloud? I guess The Rolling Stones were visionaries when they told us to get off of their cloud. Who knew?

How Did I Accumulate All This Broken Junk Jewelry?

Again, it is amazing what you find in the piles of stuff in your basement. I had the idea at one time that any jewelry I picked from a garage sale or inherited from dead relatives that were broken  could be fixed. If it couldn’t be fixed it would be a beautiful addition to a bird house or painting or whatever my mind could dream up.

I tossed all these little trinkets in a box in the basement. When I found it again the little trinkets were woven around one another. Do you suppose old junk jewelry has a life of its own and grows and weaves around each other something like a snake? That must have been what happened because I certainly wouldn’t have done that.

I picked up the bits and pieces and sorted them. After I sorted them I thought “What am I doing to put these in? Why am I keeping these? The creative part of keeping junk hasn’t happened yet.” I kept on sorting and sorting and sorting. I found some really neat stuff.

Some pieces would make good earrings. Some pieces would make a good play piece for my grandchildren. Some pieces could be re-strung. I got things sorted and decided what I needed to get rid of.

I picked up all the pieces that I sorted  and put them neatly back in the box together. We will see if they grow around each other. Yes, you guessed it. Those old junky pieces are going back into the pile in my basement. I am not ready to give up the creative ideas I have with the old pieces of junk. I got rid of zero pieces. What can I say. Do I say not as I do?

How Many Hooks Do I Need?

One of my basement pipes decided to leak this spring. It happened  in my craft room. This is the craft room that I had semi-organized. In my life that means I know some of what I have and more of what I don’t have.

When the pipe leaked I had to dump everything into small containers and then into one big container to get them out-of-the-way. It was a big dumpfest. This week, after recently staying in a house with no clutter, I decided to tackle my basement clutter. It may have more to do with getting rid of an old buffet to make room for more clutter than decluttering. I have to move the clutter before we can see the buffet to move it to the curb.

One of the boxes was full of hooks and doo dads. I looked at all the hooks in dismay. I had just purchased new hooks for hanging pictures. It was money I apparently didn’t have to spend. I had many hooks in this heap.

I wondered how many hooks I needed. If I used all the miscellaneous hooks and nails etc. I would probably be very old.

I threw some and then I sorted and put them in a case with see through windows. I will label the drawers. If I need a hook I will know where it is. My hardware store is going to miss my hook business.

I did part with some, kept a few and let out a big whew! Now on to the broken jewelry mess.