mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

What am I going to do with all this junk?

So one of the perks of working in higher ed is that i get a shitload of vacation time and paid holidays, including from just before Christmas to just after New Year's Day. Early in my career I would spend all that time in NJ with the 'rents, but now that I've got a house and a cat I make sure I spend a few days in Maryland, usually with a list of errands and things to do around the house.

One of those things this year is to clean said house. It's a bad sign when bsom, upon coming over over Thanksgiving break to feed my cat and collect my mail, not entirely jokingly commented that he thought i should go on Hoarders.

I'm not quite that bad. I don't spend hours debating if I can throw away an empty Big Gulp cup, and I don't have any dead cats hidden in the back of my closet. But I do have boxes of stuff piled everywhere, and it's getting silly. I have to crabwalk through certain hallways, and I find myself apprehensive about having friends over, or what would happen if I ever wanted to invite a date over.

I had dreams that I would get everything cleaned over break, that my house would look like something out of an Ikea catalog by the end of the weekend. Clearly, that is not going to happen. I've done a little, and I plan to do some more. But I'm also realizing that, much like losing weight, cleaning out several years of accumulation is not something that is going to happen over a long weekend. And like losing weight, part of the battle is not just getting rid of crap but keeping it out in the first place - and that means making changes in the way I approach stuff, and in the way I do things.

What I'm doing this weekend isn't so much cleaning as setting in motion the things necessary to get and stay organized. I've got bags of stuff I'm getting rid of, a bunch of stuff listed on eBay, and I've started loading the back of my pickup with stuff that I'll dump in our Electronic Waste Recycling vault at work on Tuesday.

But I also have quite a bit of saleable stuff that I plan to hold on to, and i need to find ways to keep it organized and out of the way. Most of it is hamfest stuff - stuff I've bought to sell at electronics swap meets. But most of them aren't until spring/summer, which means this stuff needs to stay a while. In general, items I buy for eBay aren't a huge part of my clutter problem, because they tend to be smaller items and because I tend to turn them over pretty quickly. Hamfest stuff is inherently stuff too low value or bulky to eBay - which means it takes up a lot of room for a long time.

I've wrestled with the idea of renting storage space for that stuff, but I don't think I can make the numbers work - it would make a huge dent in my profits. Having limited storage space has the advantage - at least in theory - of capping how much stuff I buy - which is good, because there are only so many hamfests per year, and I can only take so much stuff to each one (ie, what will fit in my truck).

So what I plan on doing for the next day and a half is small chunks of cleaning - an hour in the basement here, some time going through papers in my home office there. It makes it more manageable, even if the results aren't as good as a 12 hour cleaning binge. And the hope is that I'll keep it up, doing a little every night even after work starts up again.

It will never be perfect, but I hope it's at least better.


Post a Comment

<< Home