I watched another all-day “Hoarders’ marathon recently, a showcase of craziness about people who can’t throw away any of their crap. It takes just a few hours of seeing someone cling to empty bread bags and Target receipts before I start to feel better about every aspect of my life. Compared to Lois from Ohio, my mountain of dirty dishes seemed utterly meaningless stacked up against the cat carcasses she kept in her freezer.
I am moving soon. On anyone’s list of Life’s Milestones, tucked as a sidenote under ‘Buying a New House” or “Leaving for College” there is always the task of actually transporting all of your belongings to some new destination. Moving is the worst. It can certainly be a more daunting, or less daunting, task to tackle… depending on how much stuff you tend to collect. I linger down around the end of the spectrum where the OCD people hang out. I have always been proud to be my mother’s child in this respect. We throw stuff away effortlessly. Almost too effortlessly. I am not lying when I say I could mentally inventory every drawer and closet in my house strictly by memory if a tornado or hurricane suddenly and unexpectedly swept away everything I own.
Two irons and six ugly lamps
Now, today, I am looking at two irons. I don’t know how I accumulated two. I don’t even iron. I also have ten new pillows stashed in a closet and I don’t remember where they all came from. They’re still in the bag, which makes me think I need to use them. And funny thing…the disappointment of knowing you’ve lost your valuables in a storm or a fire doesn’t seem to cause as much stress, strange as it is, as thinking I should give away something I paid for but never got to enjoy. I also have six ugly lamps. I hate them and I want them to go away, but do you know how much it would cost me to replace six ugly lamps?
There’s angst. It’s no joke.
I am not going to donate this stuff to the thrift store. I just can’t. Thrift stores are to hoarders what bars are to alcoholics. When I drop stuff off there from time to time, I feel very much like the guilty accomplice to a junk collection phenomenon that silently plagues our society. When I plunk my bags of discarded crap on the back patio of the store, all I can think about is the poor deranged plunderer (hoarder) who might come pick through my junk later on. I always wonder if I might see someone in Winn Dixie wearing one of my old sweaters and to be quite honest, it’s kind of creepy. Junking, in general, is creepy if you compare it (like I do) to the crows and buzzards who come behind and pick at roadkill. So I decided to be more creative this go-around. I am going to find a poor college student or a young, newly married couple just starting out, who will love my stuff, and I am going to adopt them. I haven’t forgotten those lean years when I existed on ramen noodles and popcorn, and I hope you haven’t forgotten either.
“FOR SALE. Full size burgundy velour couch, in excellent condition. Very well cared for, no stains, very clean. All cushion covers are removable and washable. Not heavy at all. Comes with four throw pillows.
$300 for most shoppers but FREE to a hard-working female college student. You must: (1) be taking a full load of classes (2) be getting good grades (4) working and going to school (3) not be a slob.
College kids are of two varieties that are appealing in this respect. One, they’re poor, as I’ve mentioned, as we all were at that stage. They’re too poor, most likely, to get their nice clothes dry-cleaned. Hence, the two irons come in handy. I will give them one of mine to use until they can finally join the world of light starch, please. Secondly, they have no refined decorative taste yet so nothing in their apartment needs to actually match. This is a perfect combination of circumstances for someone who might need my six lamps. I’m even going to give them my brand new pillows. (I have’t met anyone between the ages of 5 and 25 who cares about the luxury of a new pillow like I do). I also intend to toss in a box of old dishes, ones that match, which beats the pants off the assortment of commemorative McDonald’s cups I used when I was 23. My point is, I would urge you to adopt a college kid, too, or a young family who is just starting out, when you decide to purge your belongings. Contribute to this time in their lives when humility is nurtured and an appreciation for the sky-high price of fabric softener is a real issue. College is an era when dollars are stretched to their max and resources are limited. Kids that age can’t drop $100 at Walmart like adults can. Budgets are so tight and textbooks and groceries are usually more than car payments. If you know any college students who are about to embark on this new life all on their own, throw some of your good junk their way. Adopt an incoming freshman and give them your perfectly wonderful but horribly dated velour couch, your old coffee maker, the extra television in your garage.The thrift stores are full enough already and anyway, the kids will actually use it. The hoarders will not.
And if you figure out later that you were wrong about those new pillows, the good news is at our age, thankfully we can just go buy new ones.
UPDATE! I hit the Jackpot with this couch giveaway! Two adorable young girls IN FLIGHT SCHOOL took me up on my offer to scholarship my couch. I got to meet and help two badass chicks who are working hard and doing a great job! I couldn’t be more pumped!!
Thank you for your service, ladies! GO NAVY!