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Monday, May 20, 2013

The stuff that keeps us.


In my pantry I keep bags and containers of dried food, shelf after shelf of things that I will use one day. All  can be easily picked up  at the supermarket. An entire room with shelves like this one!

I have closets full of boxes with important papers, and more papers hidden in back drawers, piled under underwear, usurping space, keeping me busy year after year, when guests arrive and I need those closets for other uses. I'm constantly reminded of our modern obsessions.

I have papers I have written; and papers others have written, from people I will never meet, from people whose sole pursuit is to create trails of evidence, to point out that whatever goes wrong in life is not their fault.

Did you know the amount of insurance you bought in your youth, regardless of how much you paid, and for how long, that amount diminishes with age? At my present age, (forget those insurance claims that you can get guaranteed insurance at any age!) a onehundredfiftythousand life insurance is worth a meagerly onethousand dollars!

I was cleaning up a drawer, and there I saw the fine print, the print that was not sympathetic to my situation any more. Nobody can buy a cemetery plot for that amount, I thought.

What to do with all your stuff? Store if you have storage room. Let the supermarket store your dry goods. Just buy what you need when you need it, and keep your pantry shelves clean and bare. You are not going to go hungry these days.

Better yet, convert your pantry space to an artistic pursuit!

And for papers?
Read and shred. Feed your compost pile. If you want to keep them because you anticipate collecting benefits, be sure you read the small print, on some tiny line somewhere at the end of the document.


21 comments:

janis said...

So True! With our recent move, I just don't know how what or why I have all the stuff that is keeping me. With just one week of school/work left, and no summer job in the horizon... I have BIG plans to reduce recycle & shred.
Love to you~

ellen abbott said...

well, no worries for me on that account...no insurance of any kind. well, except for car insurance. if health insurance were as reasonable, I'd have that too. I'm not a keeper of papers and documents. my mother kept every gift tag off every gift she ever received in her life, left for her children to dispose of.

reasonscheerful123 said...

Happy Spring Clean! Do what I did one year, hire a skip, it feels wonderful!

Helga said...

A couple of weeks ago, for a determined two hours I was ready and willing to throw half of my house content (equalling my past) away. Well, for those couple of hours I, of course, needed first to bask in the glory of my wonderfully resolute decision (who could blame me; this kind of courage and certainty comes along once in a decade - for me). But, time is fleeting and, darn it, so was my single-minded resolution.

My solace, or is it my dread: one day, when I am not around, my daughters will have a block party and with delight will send my precious, useless stuff towards new destinations.

Need to go, I feel another moment of wanting-to-get-rid-of resolution ambushing me!

Brian Miller said...

recycle it as you can...ugh..we are spring cleaning as well....kinda glad i did not make such a discovery but we def recycled a bunch...

Linda Myers said...

I read and shred from time to time. My goal is only one file cabinet rather than two. And making it easy for kids, one day, to take care of things.

Kerry said...

All good advice Rosaria. I am a pack rat. My pantry is ridiculous & I need to go through it. As for official papers, bank docs, etc, I wish I knew how long to keep them; is it true you should keep them for 4 years? I don't know.

Eva Gallant said...

Amen!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Oh this is a very familiar song which I can sing with you! I have a stack of old documents awaiting shredding right now, old tax records we no longer need. Too much stuff held onto for what? I do tend to overbuy at the grocery stores too, shades of years back when we lived out of town. Today, as you say easy to go to the store. Sometimes I think I am saving $$ stocking up on a good buy! I am always trying to winnow down stuff sometimes I do better than other times. Trouble is when I tackle a ridding task, I spend a great deal of time looking through and reading whatever it might be and then distracted from task, I set it all aside!

The Broad said...

Yes, yes, yes! I agree whole-heartedly. The spirit is willing but the flesh puts it off week after week...

erin said...

we could all use with a whole lot less. even those pantries, we think (or don't think about closely enough) are insurance policies against the impossible to protect against.

insurance is a business. someone's getting rich. the rest of us... well, if we're lucky we're living in the meantime, really living.

xo
erin

ladyfi said...

So true - we keep far more than we should.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. thankfully I cleared a lot of stuff out a few years ago - and now need to embark on another clean up and paring down ..

Getting to it - makes life somewhat simpler! Cheers Hilary

the walking man said...

I want to live in a micro house. 150 square feet max with every inch of space wisely used. Then all of the clutter would have no room to clut!

Insurance policies I buy those the government forces me to buy and even them i have no trust in because as you say Rosaria...the fine print will do you in before they will send the check. Nope I already set it up my cadaver goes to the nearest school of medicine.

No muss no fuss and someone might learn something other than just how to PRACTICE medicine.

Maggie May said...

Best to keep documents as you never know.......

As for dried food stuffs...... well there must be a sell by date somewhere. Just keep enough for an emergency and bin the rest.
Good to have a Spring Clean as it makes you feel better, doesn't it?
Maggie x

Nuts in May

dianefaith said...

One thing about a small house, such as I have -- there is no room for extras. Well, except that my closet is way too full. The kitchen is OK, though. There are no cabinets in there, just open shelves.

Hilary said...

In anticipation of moving sometime in the near future (hopefully), I am doing that kind of cleaning up of spaces which have not been touched since I moved in 29 years ago. Many of the boxes include items which I moved from my parents' place, long ago. I even found some house insurance documents from the 1950s. Now, they're historical papers.. how can I toss those? ;)

RNSANE said...

This post really hit home. When my 21 year nursing position ended in Feb 2009 in massive budget cuts to Public Health in San Francisco, I stayed on in the four bedroom home I had rented for 14 years...though I was the only one left living there! I just couldn't bear to give it up and it ws full to the brim. My half pension, however, amounted to the rent for that place. My boys kept telling me to downsize, find a small place, etc. I decided to do the India thing and got rid of all but what fit into a large storage unit - for which I paid $381/month.

I had hoped to reduce that unit to half that size but, with my shoulder replacement, I just couldn't go through things. However, for Mother's Day, my oldest and youngest son spent the weekend with me making some reduction in things. With my forty pound weight loss since living part of the last two years in India, I was able to send ten bags of clothes to Good Will. I also eliminated a bedroom set and some other things. Next time I'm home, I hope I'll do better!!!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Thanks for your kind words at Maggie's. Eddie x

troutbirder said...

Paranoia effect my spouse the collector. Unfounded optimism me the space saver. We try to find a balance...:)

ladyfi said...

So true! We have far too much stuff that I can only throw out when there is no one else around to stop m e!