Spring Cleaning

We are lucky enough to have a storage room in our basement, but lately, it had been such a mess that I couldn’t even go in there. Every time I had asked the kids to clean up in the living space of the basement, they had just thrown everything behind the door, until you could barely walk in there. Just going in there to get whatever I needed gave me the willies.

How did we get so many LEGOs and doll shoes? The first thing I did was just start bagging the LEGOs. It killed me when I thought of how much money we’d “invested” in LEGOs, but here’s the cold hard truth: all of those random pieces taking up space in all those bins were never, ever going to go back together again. After I got about 20 bags together, I posted their availability on Facebook, and sure enough, a nascent LEGO club at a local school was in need of pieces. They went out my door within a day.

Next, I looked for anything they had bought on impulse and never touched again. I took apart miles of Hot Wheels track, dumped any doll without a head or ones that were missing limbs. I saved the things I knew they loved and would never want to part with. For example, Clooney is still into his cars, so I saved a plastic bin of them. I also found some long lost treasure of my own:

Clockwise from top right: High School English text (introduced me to William Blake and e.e. cummings); box of cassette tapes, including an XTC compilation gift, a mix tape made by an old friend, two demo tapes by old friends, and (randomly) Neil Young’s Sleeps with Angels; a pile of magazines I freelanced for in the late 80’s — the top one features a piece I did on one of The Hooters! — and finally an inflatable Trabant sent as a promotion for U2’s Achtung Baby from my days working in the record store.

Things went out in waves. I took some things to a local charity that distributes home goods to the needy. I was surprised when the man there asked me if the vacuum cleaner I was donating worked. Yes, it works. People give broken vacuum cleaners to the needy? Shame on them!

Anyway, some went to the landfill as well. I saved more than I had hoped to, but the kids are all still at home, so I didn’t want to get rid of anything I thought someone might still miss. If anything, this was a conservative purge.

It was also really good to get down there with a Shop-Vac and clear away the years of dust and cobwebs that had accumulated since we moved in. And now, we have plenty of room down there…

…for any more junk we collect.