Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saving less

Lynn and I like to read to each other aloud.  It is fun to work at reading well and reading aloud allows the knitter or the worker a jigsaw puzzle to experience the same revelations at the same time as the reader. 

Lynn is a good housekeeper.  She has taught me the secret that it is wise to keep an eye open for overcrowding in closets, file cabinets, everywhere.  When you spot it, make a note on the calendar and when the date arrives, attack!  Toss!  Burn!  Give away! Donate! De-junk!

My favorite book on de-junking is "Clutter's Last Stand" by Don Aslett.  Aslett supported himself cleaning offices in college and the work turned into a lifetime occupation.  He built a company that cleans buildings and he knew that half of the time and expense of cleaning comes from getting rid of unneeded items that impede the cleaning.  His books are written in a lighthearted way with wit and imagination.  So, I wanted to read the book aloud to Lynn.  We needed to take a 40 mile trip and I took it along and read.

Just before leaving, we had de-junked a closet, finding worn-out towels and bath mats that needed to be thrown away.  The book was so good and so inspiring that when we got home later, we re-cleaned the same closet and ended up with two large bags of additional things that also deserved to go.

Aslett emphasizes that rather than rent extra storage or buying a bigger house, a little thought might show that really stripping down might be the better course.  If I toss the pillow that Aunt Sally gave me, the one that says "No Place Like Home", it doesn't mean that I don't love my aunt or that I didn't enjoy the pillow and the thought that came with it.  Quite a few people I know have given up the use of the garage for sheltering the car in favor of storing boxes and accumulated junk there.

I have an idea that the thrill of getting slimmed down and de-junked is much greater than people realize.  I guess the combined weight of the effort required to toss and the fear that Aunt Sally will be brokenhearted that I tossed her pillow keep me accumulating and accumulating.  It is easier to find just one little corner for the broken machine than to begin loading things for Goodwill and the dump.  But believe me, if you are older than 50, getting your shed back or that basement cleaned gives as big a thrill as good sex.

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