Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pack Rat

I derive an enormous amount of satisfaction from throwing out dried-up pieces of play dough that my daughter has neglected to re-package properly.
A-I love showing her cause and effect (If you don't clean it up it won't be there for you to play with later) and
B-I seriously need to throw more sh!t out.

The dried-up play dough is easy. Game over, straight to the trash. What I tend to have the bigger problem with is the stuff I may still use. Whether it is a spare shelf in her closet occupied by some of my sweaters that I might wear again one day or my husband's shin guards that I keep because it would be "ridiculous" to have to buy them again given how infrequently he plays soccer. I said, given how infrequently he plays soccer. And yet I will hold onto those bad boys just in case he decides to get the gang back together one day. The shin guards will be there, ready to go.

Let's not even talk about the fact that our storage unit has now bought itself. What I mean is that the things we keep there, things I think we may need one day and wouldn't want to buy again, wouldn't cost new what we have now spent on storing them. And yet New York City leaves me short of a yard to have a yard sale in (on?), so the storage madness continues. Seriously, one day I'm gonna be psyched about the old Playstation console, weights, spare coffee table, additional set of pots, pans and cutlery "for our beach house" (we don't currently own, nor are we planning on buying a beach house), guitar hero guitar(s) and old camp t-shirts just waiting there, ready for action.

Folks, I have a problem. I am a pack rat and it's gotten out of control. I know it is out of control because the random sampling of examples I list here was not taken over the period of several months. No, this is all the random sh!t I have in my house currently, today. Here is a quick glance at my problem.

I walked into our kitchen this past weekend to find my husband in the midst of an impromptu pantry clean-out. Faced with the half empty shelves and strewn about packets of pasta and miscellaneous cans, I felt a combination of excitement and trepidation. I was excited that he decided to undertake this task which has been on my list of things to "get around to" at some point. But I was also nervous as to what we would find. Not just what we would find, but how nauseated we would feel when we found it.

For example, in the way back was a bottle of Worcester sauce: a brand I had never heard of, packaging I had never seen before, and an expiration date of the year we met, 2005. This bottle pre-dated our living together and expired before we had even fully committed to one another. To make matters more interesting, it was one of seven varying bottles of Worcester sauce we had. Seven. Seven different brands, and naturally seven different expiration dates. Of Worcester sauce. I am proud to say only two of them remain. The other five, along with a small Ziploc bag half-full of uncooked rice, multiple canned items including a tomato soup best consumed in 2006, jams, relishes, jellies, a lovely lemon curd that were all approximately seven shades darker than when originally purchased and splash of balsamic vinegar in a very large bottle all got tossed.

Sure I had a small twinge of guilt throwing away good food... or what was once good food. But the pantry clean-out only scratched the surface of my hoarding issues. The way things look today, as I snapped these photos, I can safely say I am only several piles of old magazines away from being featured on an episode of Hoarders. Speaking of magazines:

Random group of magazines I intend to read. Included in this pile are some People magazines-the gossip aging as poorly as the celebrities it is about, as well as my New York magazines with their crossword puzzles I intend to do... my intentions here lie somewhere in between dream and delusion.
You see, I intend to do lots of things:
Like return my old ink cartridges, wherever they're meant to go for recycling, instead of merely collecting them and constantly finding new places to keep them until I get around to recycling them.
Which brings me to that intention delusion... apparently I fancy myself quite crafty, hence these:
Shoe forms from inside my daughter's new boots from Christmas which I thought struck a remarkable likeness to bumper cars. The plan is to paint them with her one day and let the fun ensue. Ah yes, to paint them one day as opposed to looking at misshapen hunks of cardboard for another four weeks.
And with cardboard in mind, I point this out:
A cardboard box occupying precious closet space. The box once contained a plastic potty, which I hoped would assist in teaching the young lady to go on the potty. The plastic potty is still in the bathroom, proudly boasting of remaining completely urine free, despite her learning to go on the potty over a year ago. In the end, she just learned to go on the real potty. I held onto the plastic one to be pushed around the bathroom on occasion, and this, the box it came in, is still in my closet. Why? I'm not sure.

But you know what I am sure about?
The fact that I have actual grown up containers of both mayonnaise and syrup, yet hold onto these just in case we happen to run out of those and DESPERATELY need to use them at that exact moment. Heaven forbid we be syrup-less for even a moment.
 Or chopstick-less...
In case you can't see the nice sets of reusable chopsticks sitting just under the disposable ones we have decided to keep, they are there.
 They are there. But you know what doesn't need to be there:
That banana on the right.
... Or that lemon on the bottom right
Or that cheese in the middle. The thin wedge next to the moldy wedge of Cotswolds. No, now that you mention it, both of those don't need to be there.

And whilst on the topic of things we have no need for, my husband would have you consider the case of the curious receipt hoarder:
Receipts for dry-cleaning that has long since been delivered, groceries that have long since been consumed and clothes that have long since been worn and washed (and therefore will not be returned and in need of said receipts).
Receipts. In an online world where receipts are rarely actually needed, I keep receipts. Yet somehow in my Murphy's law world, the one I would ever actually need got thrown away, a la... junk in my trunk.

But you know what I didn't throw away:

This honey stick. Like the syrup and mayonnaise, I do have a regular sized plastic bear of honey, but for some reason felt that this tiny vessel of honey was worth saving.

Of course I'm going to keep the cute little hospital hat my tiny little newborn wore on his first days in the world... but three??
 Speaking of keepsakes, I keep these for some sake... I'm just not exactly sure what:
Cork bored

I could put a cork in it, or I could use these...
Free samples of earplugs I got at a charity dinner. We collected four pairs of ear plugs that night three years ago, and as of last tally, have since used exactly zero.
But I'm sure that one day we will use:
In-flight toiletry cases, which I keep several of in our guest bathroom. In case what? Someone comes over and wants to wear an itchy pair of socks? Or perhaps needs a blindfold or a teeny tube of toothpaste?  Ever the gracious hostess, I will have them covered.
I manage to conceal most of the crap I hoard, but you reach a point in your life where you just need to deal with who you are and my moment is now. I am a bigger pack rat than you. I win... if winning comes in the form of paper-stripped crayon stubs. Cause if so, check out my trophy case:

I'd like to thank the academy...

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