Where did all this ‘stuff’ come from?

Forty years ago, my husband designed a house–a modest yet beautiful house.
Although he showed me the plans, I basically had no input. I wasn’t especially interested, though, because this was to be a “spec” house.
We would live in it for a year or two, and then we would build our dream house on a lot we already had selected.
Now, it’s 40 years later—and we still live in the same house!
Fortunately, my husband was very forward-looking. Our living room, which overlooks our backyard, has a modified cathedral ceiling and picture windows on two walls.
We have little space for pictures, but we have lots of light.
All that we needed to bring our house into the 21st century was a new bamboo floor.
Had we known 40 years ago this would become our permanent residence, we would have added a few feet to every room. Otherwise, it’s almost perfect.
But there’s one problem. We have too much storage space!
Our kitchen cupboards reach to the ceiling, cupboards are tucked under the steps, and I have a walk-in closet with multiple shelves.
Every available nook and cranny is used for storage.
Many people would appreciate all that storage space, and I did years ago. But now all those nooks and crannies are full of “stuff,” most of which we haven’t looked at for decades.
The rule is: If you have space, you will fill it!
Since we live in “tornado alley,” the large room under our kitchen is a reinforced concrete tornado shelter. The shelter has floor-to-ceiling shelves for suitcases and seasonal holiday boxes.
Most shelves are full of “treasures,” like a bright yellow bridesmaid’s dress I wore 50 years ago.
Sadly, both Abe and Dorothy are gone, but I’m still stuck with the dress.
If our house ever blows away, all those worthless treasures will be safe!
In “The Clutter Cure,” Judi Culbertson warns that discarding something “perfectly good” is not a moral issue. She says that “no one is busily writing down everything you discard.”
Reading on, I saw a picture of an old-fashioned upright typewriter–the kind I learned on years ago. A typewriter that should be saved in case “the country is no longer able to produce electricity.”
I could relate to that! Just before the big millennium scare, our friends Norman and Ethel had a garage sale and I bought their typewriter for that very reason.
“Where is that typewriter?” I mused. A few years ago, Ethel’s librarian daughter wanted to use it in a library display. Hopefully, it is in her possession.
Just to be sure, I called Ethel. “No,” she said. “We thought you wanted to save it.”
How negligent of me!
“You can have it,” I told Ethel. But when I left the phone, I thought better. “Maybe I should save it–JUST IN CASE.”
That is one of the dangerous phrases that Culbertson warns about.
“It belonged to my mother.” “It was a gift.” And the worst excuse of all: “It’s never been used.”
Think about your house. What would you be better off without? List your excuses.
And then one by one, squash those excuses and get rid of all the “stuff” that complicates your life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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