After more than 15 years of living in the same place my wife and I have accumulated a large amount of stuff. We’re not like that TV show Hoarders, which I haven’t seen but the commercials tell me everything I need to know, but rather like every household more stuff seems to enter than leave. This summer we decided it was time to “thin out the herd” a little and get rid of stuff we don’t use or need. Doing that can be tricky, especially if one of us has some sort of emotional connection to something that the other thinks is junk. Luckily that hasn’t really happened yet.
The biggest issue, as you might expect, is that while we’re getting rid of junk through the normal course of life we’re still bringing in more stuff. Now granted it’s now at a lot slower pace than what we’re getting rid of, but the “two steps forward, one step back” routine makes this project seem like it’s taking a long time. Which, it is. But we are slowly making headway.
We take a “mental health” vacation after Labor Day every year, so I decided this time that we’d get two rooms completely cleaned and re-organized that week. Our bedroom was the first room and after the “Great TV Debacle”, which I didn’t blog about but perhaps will make my next post about, it was almost all taken care of. Once we finished that room off the next room I chose was our “media room”. This room is full of books, movies, hobby stuff, etc…and probably should have been the last room we did. But I started that room one day while Trish was sleeping late, and it just snowballed into a huge two day project that still isn’t 100% complete.
The first thing I did was take the twelve boxes of paperback books I’ve read out of the room. Yes, twelve full boxes. As a voracious reader and being someone that just can’t throw away books I just kept boxing them up and saving them. Knowing this would be one of those “emotional connection” moments I decided that because I couldn’t throw them out I’d just bring them down to the local used book store and give the books to them, figuring they certainly could use some free stock and the books would eventually be purchased and enjoyed by other readers. The possibility that they wouldn’t take them never entered my mind.
But they wouldn’t take them.
In a moment that was incredibly mind boggling, the man running the store said he couldn’t take the books for free because it would be too much work to sort through them all and he didn’t have a lot of room to store them before he sorted them. I stood there awestruck for a few moments and then asked him to repeat his answer, and after getting the same reply I asked, “really?”. Even after I mentioned they were boxed by genre and in most cases books of the same series were boxed together he wouldn’t take them. Now I don’t have an MBA from Harvard but if you’re in a situation where you can’t accept free product to sell you’ve probably made an error in your business plan.
So back to the car I went, shaking my head over the conversation. He did mention something about maybe donating them to charity (based on the number of people I’ve seen in his store I though I was doing that when I offered him the books), but because I was so befuddled by the encounter I never did hear what charities he was mentioning. After a few moments of driving around and searching the net on my phone for a local charity that might want the books (here’s some advice for local charities with websites: create a mobile page. Seriously) Trish and I remembered there was a Good Will store in the area, and after arriving the friendly folks there were more than happy to take our books.
Getting rid of my boxes of hardcovers was a lot easier as Trish knows someone that will be glad to take them and read them, so all I need to do is load up the Jeep and deliver them. That’s on my to-do list for next weekend. Now if I could only find someone interested in boxes full of VCR tapes. Unfortunately those might be landfill bound.
The rest of the stuff in the media room is mostly sorted into where it will eventually reside (including several boxes of stuff that will be dumpster bound), and we’ll be able to finish the room off once I build the bookcase I have in our storage room. But that looks to be a project for another day.