Years ago, I pulled into Iowa Falls for my first newspaper job carrying most of my worldly belongings in a Honda hatchback.
I enlisted my parents’ pickup truck to haul my college couch into the real world.
What a great couch.
And it only cost 600 cans.
Fast forward to last weekend. My wife has declared a spring offensive against household disorder. So I’m standing in my overstuffed garage, preparing to do battle with years of consumer overconfidence. It would take a legion of Honda hatchbacks, pulling flatbeds, to haul it all away.
Four jobs, two kids and several moves later, things have gotten complicated and crowded.
If the current lousy economy is telling us all to apply the brakes on our runaway spending habits, I’m now listening.
At least, I would be, if I were not buried under a collapsed wall of Rubbermaid containers. Send help.
Some still say shopping is patriotic. But I regret that I have but one garage to give for my country.
And it’s full to the stinkin’ rafters. So are all the freedom closets.
We just bought a small storage shed, so that some garage things can become shed things.
But after a weekend of heavy, hand-to-hand combat, of tossing and donating and sorting, I don’t like our odds. One problem is I come from a long line of keepers.
For example, there’s a closet back in my parents’ house that is stuffed with just about every coat they’ve ever owned. My mother used to tell me that we were keeping all that stuff just in case my dad ever lost his job.
So for years, I figured that when a person lost their job, they went home and put on a bunch of old clothes. Strange ritual, but I figured the grownups must know something I didn’t understand. Maybe it had something to do with all the empty margarine containers stuffed into a cabinet in the kitchen. Could be.
So I, too, tend to be a keeper. I have boxes and boxes of my old newspaper clippings and other memorabilia. I’ve told my wife that someday it will be donated to whichever university wins the bid to build my library. Why does she not laugh? But as husbands go, she should consider herself lucky, stuff-wise.
I never bought a motorcycle, snowmobile, bass boat or ultralight aircraft, so I essentially came pre-defeated.
All I have are a few small collections that are very classy, safe and manageable.
Still, spring cleaning is a healthy exercise. By Saturday night, I was convinced that we had turned over a new leaf.
But then the Sunday paper arrived, with all the ads. Wow, there’s a lot of stuff we could really use.