Have you ever cleaned your house and thought, “How are we alive?” I found bacteria on the underside of the dish drying rack and when I sprayed it with bleach I think it sneezed and ran under the cabinet. I have pulled a hair plug out of the shower drain. I’ve cleaned the screen on the dishwasher. I’ve seen things man…
But mostly I get discouraged by all the stuff. My garage has been on a five year downward spiral that accelerated when the automatic door motor shorted out the electrical system. We had been hoarding random things into the garage for years but with the door stuck in “manual” mode it became harder to pay attention.
Right now, at this very moment, there are about eighteen Tupperware containers of clothes that are sorted by size and awaiting a mythical yard sale. There is a full sized pool table somewhere under an assortment of discarded cardboard, mattresses, disassembled baby furniture and a fine layer of dead bugs that swarm the fluorescent light until they die of exhaustion. There are two shelves of amateur pottery from our three year stint in a pottery class. Bags of stuffed animals. A quick-up, ten man tent. An inflatable princess castle. Three battery powered plastic vehicles. A china cabinet from somewhere. Old wine making supplies. A wayward two by four. An antique sewing machine. A broken stove-oven unit. A pottery wheel. A weight bench and a bunch of cracked plastic weights. Parts to a homemade ice cream maker. Half a package of shingles that don’t match our current shingles for some reason. And when we run out of room for some random shit in the house we still think, “Hmm Let’s put this in the garage.”
You may find yourself asking at this point in the story, “Why don’t you just give this stuff to Goodwill?” Allow me to enlighten you.
The short answer is that fate doesn’t want me to be clutter free. Fate wants to trap me. To suffocate me under an ironic pile of excess.
There was a day that I put my foot down. There was cleaning. There was a mass bagging of things that we needed to part with and I took them off to Goodwill. Two van loads of stuff. Most of the items were kid related toys. (I know what you are thinking, why would you donate adult related toys? Get out of the gutter. I’m telling a story here.)
I issued a decree: NO MORE TOYS. My mother listens as well as her oldest son and immediately violated the rule. Each time the kids went anywhere near a retail location with Mamaw they would goad her into some small memento of the shopping trip. Most of the toys were redirected to Mamaw’s house but as the months went by my decree faded into a distant memory and all the grandparents were back to their toy buying tricks. I found myself again wondering where everything had come from.
I struggled to keep my head above water until one day I was finally defeated. Mamaw stopped by Goodwill on the way home and told the children they could each pick one small toy for being well behaved. They proudly showed me the things they bought and when Threeto revealed her selection I burst into laughter.
She had picked out the same small plastic phone that we donated several months before. I had given Goodwill the product that my mother re-bought as a reward. She basically paid Goodwill for a few months of storage for something we already owned. I wonder if I donate it again, can I claim it three times on taxes? Donation + Purchase + Donation? Maybe this is a loophole that the IRS should look into.
I no longer worry about getting rid of things. Other things will just fill the space. Those other things may be something I donated before and I can’t afford that kind of money pit so we will just live with the heaving pile of toys that migrates through the house.
If you have ever purchased something that you previously gave away, this post is for you. I think Dave Ramsey would call that an idiot tax. You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.