I am a compulsive purger of my household objects. If I’m not using it and it’s taking up space and I can’t see being able to use it in a reasonable amount of time, it goes. This is a good habit for me because I have so many interests that my house would be unmanageable if ever I stopped purging. My house with regular purging is about like a normal person’s house. I would quickly fall into bonafide packrat status: the scary “I-have-a-ten-room-house-but-I-can-only-use-two-and-a-half” type. I can’t do that.
My stepdad is like that, always hoarding. He’s got more useless junk, and the good stuff he has is always broken or missing pieces because it’s just shoved in with all the rest. Being military, I can’t believe his shipped all this crap around every few years. My mother would have garage sales when he was gone, or just take truckloads of stuff to the dump. As children, we would have “OOPS IT BROKE IN THE MOVE” boxes that we were encouraged to throw and break obviously useless stuff. I’m not sure he ever noticed. Even when she threw away a full set of kitchen cabinets he had pulled out of an apartment. He still does it: his latest “find” was when he was dumpster diving for a couple of old gortex jackets. They had to be washed a dozen times before the stink wore off. Yeah. Not gonna live like that.
I’m pretty no-nonsense when it comes to helping others out. I can always lend a good organizational hand, or a devil’s advocate for either keeping or discarding items people are resistant to making decisions on. I’ve really enjoyed helping sort at the farm for this reason.
Since I like to purge, and since I like to see my stuff going to people who would use it better than I (and sometimes get paid for it as well) I am completely in love with craigslist and freecycle. I firmly believe that networking is a valuable tool, and these two services broaden that network of people who are looking for and selling stuff.
Recent adventures include rehoming the hand-weights that have been taking up space in my living room and finding a waiting room that wants my old magazines. I had one that trumped them all. Jeanette and I had come across a bunch of old unbuilt dollhouses and furniture that her husband bought 20 years ago, and have been moldering in the barn loft for nearly as long. She was just going to toss them, but her dumpster was full. A few days afterwards, I stumbled across an ad for a lady who refurbishes dollhouses for charity auctions. I sent her Jeanette’s info, and I ended up bringing the dollhouses into the city the next time I went out to the farm. The woman was thrilled! Her mother was coming up for a few days, and now they had six dollhouses and boxes of accessories to sort through and work on. She said it would have cost her over a thousand dollars to buy and ship everything I had dropped off, and that it would probably fetch three or four times that at auction. Jeanette could have gotten perhaps $150 for the lot at a garage sale, but this way the farm’s name goes on the houses as a sponsor and awareness is spread. The arrangement made everyone happy, and I get the glow of facilitation.
I told Jeanette there were other ads on craigslist and freecycle that pertained to her excess things, and I told her I’d be happy to help her move some of it. Not just happy: gleeful. Just gleeful.