Death and taxes (in some form or another) are inevitable. But I am writing about the one other inevitable event that will happen in the life of each and every one of you.
There exists, right now, an item that you have been meaning to rid yourself of for some time. No, it has to be inanimate. You can’t count your spouse, the overgrown teenager living forever in the spare bedroom, Betsy the dog or grandpa. It’s inanimate but something to which you attach value – dollar value, sentimental value or business value – that gnaws at your psyche because you haven’t done anything about it and for which you know something needs to be done.
It can be an old car that, given enough time (like a half-century), will become an antique. Same thing with that old coffee table that you got from a family member or at a yard sale that does nothing but collect dust and gives you a nasty bruise in the shins when you rap against it after going down the steps into the basement. Or it could be that box of old accounts at work that your previous boss (or you) couldn’t throw out because someday, somehow the accounting department will want to do research on it. That item exists and you know exactly the item I am talking about.
And, finally, the day comes. Today, and I really, really mean it, I will 1) donate that old clunker to charity; 2) put that coffee table out for the trash or 3) dispose of that box of useless accounts. You steel yourself up for the event, pick up your courage and DO IT. Done! Forever! Gone! Thank God it’s over!
Within a week of THE EVENT, the following happens: 1) Hey, whatever happened to your old junk of a car? Do you know that there is a collector paying TOP DOLLAR for one of those cars regardless of its condition? The guy is nuts but I just made a killing selling him mine. You can, too. 2) What happened to that old coffee table in the basement? I keep Grandma’s priceless brooch hidden in the drawer and now the table is not there. The whole family would be heartbroken if something happened to that brooch. 3) Boy, it’s a good thing that you held onto the Amalgamated Company records. We’re being audited and without those records we are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
Now it may not be a car, a coffee table or a box of old accounting records. Whatever it is, you are going to make a decision about it and regret it almost instantly.
Death. Taxes. The item. Yes, it will happen to you.
Have a nice day.
Thanks (not) for reminding me of all those oversights I was hoping to forget.
I’m not satisfied until you’re not satisfied.
I just tossed out a bunch of research data that was more than 7 years old. A week later a paper about it got published and I am currently terrified that someone will find a flaw in it and ask me for it. I’ll keep you posted on whether I get accused of academic fraud or not.
Congratulations on the Freshly Pressed status, it couldn’t happen to a more curmudgeonly curmudgeon.
Thank you for the kind words. You provide yet more proof of my theory. It HAS happened to you.
Congrats on the FP and glad to know I saw this post before the honor. Then again, sorry to see you leave my kingdom of NonFreshly Pressed Nation.
Thank you very much. I was stunned and shocked to find myself FP’ed. Though I leave your non-FP kingdom, I have no intention of leaving your blog.
Many thanks Mudge …. and I have no intention of changing what I do. Like I told Le Clown, I don’t even write with an edge … and 1030+ posts under my belt, I’m not counting on FP. But will sadly abdicate the throne if necessary. 😦
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I agree…let the hoarding thoughts take over!!! I was just cleaning out a closet in the spare bedroom last night, and though I’m not a hoarder (phew!) I had a few moments of, “yes, I know I haven’t used that bag in 3 years and I know it’s slightly broken, but I MAY want to hold on to it…who knows it could be a huge regret – it IS leather after all…” That bag is still with me although I am pretty sure it’s never going to see the light of day again, but I was at least able to part with 2 large garbage bag of accumulated crap.
I understand your thinking.
Great piece and SO true. I can’t help but think there might be a good idea for a website which lists these treasures/junk . Maybe “I’mFinallyGettingRidOf.com”
All items must be on the site for 30 days,
I’m sure there is plenty of other criteria we can think of.
While we are at it, Mr 1400 Views, anyone want to buy my magazine collection?
You CAN’T get rid of that collection. It will become valuable the moment that you do.
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Reblogged this on KrAzZyMiNd.
Great. Not I will never get rid of anything!!! 😉
Always happens to me. It’s why my wife doesn’t throw anything out.
As a result, she keeps all your stuff …and you.
Reblogged this on ample sanity.
Hey CaL, I just noticed you got FP’ed. Congratulations! Nice to know that for you that clunker of a thing you regretted throwing out reaped more than the usual Metaphoric Middle Finger of Life award.
Well, thanks. My notebook of phrases keeps increasing. I now add the “metaphoric middle finger of life.”
If I had kept my iron, would I have been Freshly Pressed too?
Congrats on your very worthy recognition.
Thank you very much. I actually do my own ironing but I doubt that it helped me.
Thank you for your post; the clutter may say that old things have to go but it is never so easy…
…especially when you know what will happen when you throw that clutter out.
I love the Curmudgeon! I have already been there with the regrets and that is why my basement is bursting with crap!
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! At least it isn’t a real award that would collect dust in your basement….
Thanks for your comments. The award collects dust only in my mind.
Read this post yesterday. Came back today to comment. Because it just happened to me. After keeping some old toys in the storage room for a couple of months, I yesterday gave them away to a friend with young children. After not mentioning them for months, TODAY my daughter asked for some specific toys, that are not to be found among our belongings any longer…
Coincidence? I think not.
Congrats on the FP!! Well-deserved. 🙂
Well, thank you. I am still stunned.
Congrats on your fresshly-pressedness!!
I thank you from the bottom of my shallow heart.
I’m pretty sure that’s where your awesomeness comes from! 🙂
Congratulations on your FP! And great, now I need to keep the dollhouse shelf unit in the basement. I was this close….
Thank you and I’m so glad I kept you from doing something really drastic.
So true! I do this all the time yet am buried in “stuff”. Never listen to those people who say “if you haven’t worn it in two years throw it out”.
You’ll end up needing that stuff in two years and two days.
I’m so sure this is going to happen to me so I never throw away things and am on the receiving end of my mom’s yelling.Now I have your post to show her.Cheers!
Yes, you can blame me for keeping all those things. One day, you’ll need them.
I just received correspondence from Harper. I think my harassment strategy paid off. He left me a cryptic message – “Soon!”
I knew that just the right amount of needling would get a response.
All is well, all is well.
Good, I was getting worried.
I can’t wait.
Neither can I. Not sure what I’m waiting for but it’s bound to be worthwhile.
C@L, Le Clown speaks of you with great affection, and now I see why. He married me, and I’m part curmudgeon (on my father’s side). I think he has a thing for our people. You can count me amongst your new flock of followers.
Le Clown was one of my earliest followers and I am grateful for that. As he should be in marrying you. Thanks for the comments.
Nice post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. This seems to be a very long and painful process for me. The trunk of my car always seems to be full of stuff that’s on it’s way to the Goodwill, but never quite makes it there. Sometimes even making its way back in the house to be revisited and agonized over one more time. By the way, can I have that book on Nebraska economics? I live in Nebraska, and can’t seem to get ahead-maybe because I buy too much worthless crap. But maybe the book would help me, I’m pretty sure not much has changed here since 1939.
I’d give you the book on Nebraska economics but then I may need it.
Oh crap. I understand. Why don’t you just scan the whole book and print the pages. Then you can stuff them in a big envelope and leave it on your dining room table and forget to mail it to me. That works for me!
The number of time I have rummaged through the garbage to find that bag of stuff I chucked, when I am looking for a receipt for the stereo system that stopped working….aargh. But a thought occurred to me. is that why you shouldn’t throw away old clothes when you lost weight? Cause, true’s bob in 6 months you will be looking for that pair of jeans! 🙂
Potential weight loss is yet another reason to hold onto all clothing.
So well put! I had no idea you had the gift of prophecy.
You mean like my prophecy that cellphones would not catch on and not to buy Apple stock?
This was brilliant and FP was very well-deserved, CaL. Congratulations!
Thank you. It was most unexpected and now gives me the opportunity to complain about success.
So funny, and so true it makes me cringe to think of it. I am sending this now to my parents who are the tidiest hoarders ever.
This happened to me a lot of times. I’d keep them for the longest time and when they’re gone you suddenly have a need for them. But eventually, you really have to throw them or you won’t have space left for new and better things. 🙂
You just need a bigger place to live and hoard.
Hummmm…? I have still have med shirt I can’t fit anymore. why do I keep it, I don’t know” maybe I just like to look at it. forcing my self to believe that it is still some good.
You will know for sure when you let it go but then it will be too late.
I don’t usually have this problem – I get rid of anything and everything without abandon. My boyfriend’s family, on the other hand, definitely experience this (if they ever get to the point of getting rid of something!) His grandparents, back in the 80s, thought that smoking cigarettes was going to become obsolete due to the health risks, so they started collecting ashtrays thinking they’d be extremely valuable and rare some day. Now they have an enormous ash tray collection in their basement collecting dust! But were they to get rid of it, people would probably stop smoking and ash trays would become some highly sought after item. Haha.
We all seem to keep the items that will never come back in style and throw away the ones that do.
The corollary to this is … “I think I threw that out/donated it/gave it away so I’ll just buy another one…” and right after the replacement is purchased, the original shows up in the corner of the closet…
Life is an adventure. Sigh
This will ALSO happen to you.
I don’t have that item you’re talking about? Have I thrown it way? Or is 20 years old too young to be thinking about that object? I now fear I’ve thrown away that object. Have I?
Probably but you have plenty of time to get and throw away many more.
I am not a hoarder; I am a chucker with a sentimental streak. I will hold on to completely useless stuff until the chucker in me kicks in. And yep, a day later I will find an extremely important use for discarded item.
Keep everything, destroy nothing. Even if you do end up living in just one inch of available space.
That’s the spirit!
reminds me of someone. Oh wait – me!
Its what my mother refers to as sods law… like buying a new umbrella one day and it not raining, carrying it around in your bag fir weeks then one day leaving it at home, that day, ‘sods law’, it will rain so heavy on you that you can wring your clothes out and fill a bucket with the collected water… x
Sods Law, I like it.
Touch wood, I have managed to avert throwing anything away anything of my own that evoked feelings of regret. It’s normally something of my girlfriends that I throw away and it ends up being of great sentimental value. It’s a good job she’s patient with me!
You are a very, very lucky man. I hope your luck holds.
Yeah I do this exactly. i hoard things for years because it might come in handy and then one day, I just snap and purge everything. And then…
Fate is a cruel mistress.
You understand perfectly.
I once got rid of an old mobile phone, accidently leaving a memory card inside which contained about a hundred photo’s. I wasn’t entirely concerned about losing the memories of drunken nights out while hitting on some absolute growlers, but the photo’s from various family gatherings and days out was hard to take.
One thing about death, no more taxes for me!
Yes, but what happens to your stuff?
That is for my daughters to worry about. Cheers! http://www.segmation.wordpress.com
I purge, often, and usually without regret. I can’t get my parents to get rid of anything, even the things that they could sell for money. My daughter keeps everything. So I have to be what I call “Anti-Claus” — things disappear while my little ones sleep (they aren’t so little, though).
Your method will work just fine until the day that the little ones find out and then…
this is the perfect excuse for a hoarder! (ahem, self included)
Hoard wisely, my friend, hoard wisely.
For me it’s craft stuff. I hold on to everything that you could possibly make a project out of. Then I decide I will never do that project, toss it out, and my daughter says, “Hey, what happened to X? I need it for my project for school!”
This is how parents’ homes become permanent storage units for their children.
Which is why I find it so hard to get rid of things. It makes me break out in a cold sweat. Unfortunately, my DH is the opposite. He wants no “junk” around. He doesn’t understand that what SEEMS like junk will become absolutely priceless a week or a month later when you need it desperately. 🙂
You understand perfectly: Your DH, not so much.
Reblogged this on Stephen Franano.
I once had 90% of an application finished, but the client changed their minds and tried something else. I hung onto it for 2 years in case the client wanted to start up the project again. One day I just said screw it, they’re not coming back to this. A week later…”Do you still have XYZ’s application from a few years ago? They’ve finally decided to fund it.”
Made for a very long week rebuilding the whole thing from the ground again.
My point has been proved.
Fuck yeah. Congrats.
Really… FUCK YEAH.
Thanks. You always have such a nice way of putting things, Your Magnificence.
Fucking right I do.
If my mum tried to get rid of me, I certainly wouldn’t be impressed!
For a funny blog about the life of a British teenager, go to uniquelysophie.wordpress.com 🙂
I’m sure you’re part of her permanent collection.
I did keep it! I just can’t find it right now!
You have cleverly found a way to prevent yourself from throwing it away.
Not only has it happened … but it will happen again and again … then again, it’s always time to throw out stuff!
…and the regrets just keep mounting.
This is why my house has no spare space! Everything will be extraordinarily important one day, I’m sure of it….. 😉
Yes, hold on to everything.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this. Stuff that I’ve had for eons, and I finally thought, “Why am I hanging onto this? I’ve never needed it, I’ll chuck it.” And then a few weeks/months later I’ll suddenly have a need for it, for the first time ever. And I spend the rest of the day stewing and fuming.
This is exactly why I hold on to books like “The Economics of Nebraska – 1939.”
Always. In fact, it’s happened to me so frequently that I’ve developed a defiant bravado: “Watch me throw this item out. Ha! I don’t need no stinkin’ million bucks!”
*discovers it really was worth a million bucks*
*kicks the stuffing out of the 230-lb punching bag*
Better that punching bag than me.
Oh yes! I know exactly what you’re saying! Been there done that, as they say
Me too, obviously.
It probably already has happened to me. My husband and I are the opposite of hoarders. Off to the mission or Goodwill it goes. But I guess what I don’t know can’t hurt me. 🙂
…until Goodwill thanks you for the million dollar donation.
Haha. But if I was dumb enough to forget about a million dollars lying around, I deserve to lose it. 🙂
I may be able to avert this scenario as I’ve managed, in my 50 years, to only buy and maintain crappy, worthless items. Thanks for the warning, CaL.
By the way, I’ve started leaving harassing messages over at Harper’s place. Just sporadically. I suggest you do the same. I don’t think he’ll be able to resist a good taunting for too long. I’ll get some of of his other followers to do the same.
Just wait until you get rid of one of those crappy, worthless items and then see what happens.
I’ll take you up on your suggestion for HF.
Hey, all of you, quit harassing me! By the way, Mr. C at L, good stuff and glad to see you’re getting the recognition you richly deserve. HF
Thank you very much and glas to see you’re still around. If we didn’t harass you, we’d be left harassing each other.