As I’ve been working through the process of getting rid of the excess in my house, I’ve been running across some things that I didn’t even know I had. One of my new habits to help remove clutter is each week when it’s time to put the garbage and recycling out on the curb, I scour the house determined to find a few extra things that I can get rid of. Even if it’s just some of the leftover Halloween/Christmas/Valentine’s Day candy (admit it, you do it too), I don’t stop until there’s at least something extra out on the curb that I hadn’t thought about getting rid of.
In my small town, each week on trash collection day, there are always one or two trucks wandering the neighborhood looking for scrap metal to recycle or anything else that might be useful. They’re a little like the Tooth Fairy. You don’t see them but you know when they’ve been to your house. The difference is that instead of taking a tooth and leaving money, they just take away that old junk you left on the curb and turn it into money for themselves. OK. Maybe they’re not like the Tooth Fairy at all, but the point is that I can put just about anything on front of my house made of metal and it will disappear. Even if it’s not metal, someone will usually find a use for it.
A few weeks ago I was performing my usual trash day routine while the kids were getting ready for bed. I felt like a burglar sneaking around the house looking for anything I could get rid of regardless of who it belonged to. For some reason, my kids don’t share my passion for decluttering. I did throw out some candy that night, but I also went down into my “workshop” to look around. I use the word in quotations because it’s been a long time since any actual work has been accomplished in this room even though all of my tools are in there. I realized on one of the pegboard walls were two hooks set up like a shelf with a pile of things on it that I never touched. In fact, some of the items had been there when we moved into the house 12 years ago! I started grabbing things and soon found myself with about a dozen old curtain rods on the floor. I piled them all on the ground next to the trash can and miraculously they were all gone the next morning.
Some other things I found lately just in my “workshop” are: some random pieces of wood that I saved for now, a LOT of Amazon boxes which made me think about just how much stuff we’ve purchased in the last year, and an old mop that I also put outside because it was mostly metal. I cut up all but a few of the boxes and recycled them. For the first time in a very long time, I can actually walk around my table saw in the middle of the room and someday soon maybe I’ll even be able to use those tools.
Anyone else find something weird you didn’t know you had while clearing out old junk?
We’ve been so busy getting rid of things at my house that I haven’t had time to write anything. When I put away all of the Christmas decorations, we went through every container and picked out a few things to get rid of. Then we repacked what we were keeping and actually had three empty plastic storage containers when we were done. I also removed all of the baby/children’s clothes from the furnace room that were too small for any of my kids to wear so we could sort them and find new homes for all of it. The last few weeks have been full of:
Along with minimizing our stuff, we’re working on minimizing the utility bills. One evening I spent time in the basement adding some insulation around the outside walls and caulking around the windows. This was previously an impossible task with all of the decorations and storage totes filled with baby clothes sitting in the way. This was also a task that someone suggested to me about 2 years ago and I haven't completed until now! I have a long list of projects both big and small that I’ve wanted to do around the house for quite a while. I’ve complained to my wife in the past that we can barely keep up on the general cleaning, dishes, and laundry. Forget about finding time to do any major projects on the house like painting or making time for a hobby. As I get rid of things that I used to find myself routinely moving out of the way so I could get to something I needed, I’m finding more time for things like finally insulating the basement and pulling out my guitar. The only downside to removing things from the basement is that soon I won’t have all of that stuff in the way as an excuse to not work out. I’m sure I can find another one though.
Or, at least I used to hate writing.
For some reason though, last year after reading a lot of blogs I decided I would give it a try. I must have some information that’s at least a little bit interesting to someone out there, right? At about the same time, I really got on my kick of decluttering the house so I thought I would write about that and started up my blog. I was determined to write at least one post a week which I did for a short time. Now, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve posted anything. Work has been extremely busy lately but I know that’s a lame excuse. Yesterday, I read a post on Jeff Goins’ blog (http://goinswriter.com/) where he talks about forming a writing habit by writing just 500 words a day for 31 days. 500 words doesn’t sound like much, I thought. I should be able to do that even when I’m running my kids to piano lessons, Tae Kwon Do, swimming, dance, etc. (Look, I already have over 150 words)
When I was much younger, I was always interested in Math and Science. I read some normal books, but I was the kid who checked out science books from the school library. Anytime I had to actually write something in school though, it was pure torture for me. I felt like I was OK at it, but hated doing it. As time went on though I found myself writing more, like 30 page lab reports in college, and eventually as an officer in the Army I had to write frequently. As a Company Commander I found myself writing counseling statements, award recommendations, and memos for all kinds of things. The one I’m most proud of is my command philosophy, a memo officers traditionally publish to their soldiers when they first take command of a unit. I’ll find a copy and post it. The point is that as I have aged, I have found myself doing more and more writing but it never occurred to me that it might be fun to write just because I wanted to.
Aside from the blogs I had been reading, another motivator for me was that I knew a few people who have published books. Check out my friend Rose Bush who has two fiction books that are getting good reviews on Amazon. Rose is a friend of mine from the Army, as is another author, Rick Rouzer. Rick published a book called Fortunate Son about his experience in Iraq as the commander of unit from American Samoa. While writing is not their main source of income, they are ordinary people who have published at least one book. Maybe I’ll write a book someday, but for now I’ll stick with just trying to keep up on my blog. I’m enjoying it, but having trouble making writing a priority. After all, my blog was supposed to be about decluttering, which is something I’ve actually been doing a lot of lately.
Enough about writing, I’m going to give Jeff’s challenge a go. Here’s a banner linking to his post about the 500 words challenge. Check it out. Everyone that has a blog and is joining the challenge has a link to their site. There is a long list (over 2500 last time I checked) so take a look at some of those blogs as well. Thanks and feel free to subscribe and/or leave a comment.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2018
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