Free for the Taking

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My husband and I have discovered an exciting new activity: Put our old crap on the curb with a free sign and see how long it takes to disappear.  Who knew it could be so exciting?!

I'm pretty sure my husband is a recovering hoarder.  I'm his tough love therapist.  Getting rid of stuff has sent him over the edge in the past.  I mean way over. I often joke that he must have come over on a raft from Cuba, because he has a refugee mentality about getting rid of stuff. We have moved boxes and boxes of completely and utterly useless stuff across the country.  More than once.  We have moved weird old chaffing dishes (we've never used nor needed them), ethnic tablecloths that are misshapen beyond repair, and various pieces of old, uncomfortable furniture. I'm not without guilt here.  However, my stuff doesn't float around the country and clutter our basement because I can't get rid of it.  I'm just too lazy or overwhelmed to take on the task of cleaning out said boxes.  We're both much better than we used to be.  But if something is going to get cleaned out or thrown away, you can put money on the fact that I initiated; and Mario went along with it grudgingly. When we moved to New England, we noticed that people didn't have garage sales, but rather put stuff out by the road with a sign.  Sometimes it's expensive power tools or boats or drum sets with a "For Sale" sign.  A lot of the time it's broken or old crap no one wants with a "Free" sign slapped on it.  Because it is often garbage it sits there for days, so I had never stopped to consider the fact that people probably hauled away the good free stuff which is why I never saw it.

We did a major overhaul of our basement several years ago and eliminated most of the useless, unused stuff.  But a few things remained.  Recently, I began feeling like our beautifully organized basement, neatly filled with labeled totes, was starting to look a little cluttered again.  This got the cleaning juices flowing, so when I go down there I look through my What can we get rid of? goggles.  We live in a rural area and therefore haul our own garbage to the dump.  Needless to say, it's a huge pain when we need to get rid of big junk.  Our house had a lot of junk laying around when we moved in, so we've done our fair share of hauling.  But we are nearly done.  Boy does it feel good.

A couple weeks ago I decided to test out the roadside approach to decluttering.  Since we are now full-fledged grownups, we decided to get matching bedroom furniture.  The hodge podge of dressers in varying woods needed to go.  The ugly wood dresser with attachable mirror was no longer welcome in my home, and I whistled with satisfaction the whole way to the curb.  I'm not a good whistler, so it was more like a chorus of pffffffts. I even used fancy writing on the free sign.  By the time we got home that afternoon, it was gone.  Shazam!  This is both amazing and exhilarating!  What kind of magic is this that makes my junk go Poof! and disappear? I gathered up my son's old toy rack with bins, a Fisher Price easel, an old side table, and a large wooden barrel my husband just had to have but has never left our basement.  Within ten minutes, the barrel and the table were gone.  We did a happy dance.  In fact, every time we heard a car stop, we'd run out and see what they took.  We are amused and entertained by our own reactions. It's like a reverse Christmas.  When we ran low, I hustled to the basement to see what else we could give away.  Plus, my free sign skills are getting really good.

The "R" is a little rough, but aren't my F's and E's beautiful?

This is all that remains.  When I asked my husband if I could put it out, he said okay.  But not "Okay!"  It was more like, "okaaaaay."  Uh, what seems to be the problem?  And who actually owns a school desk?  I spent twelve years trying to get out of one of those. Jared is too big for it, and never used it to begin with, and I can't imagine what else it is good for beside clogging up our fung shui.  "I thought it would be cool in a bar room."  Oh.  Not only do we not have a "bar room" or even a bar, but why would someone want to sit in a vintage preschool desk to imbibe?  I'm confused.  Perhaps his refugee mentality was kicking in again.  In the end we dusted it off and hauled it out.  I think we've found a new hobby.

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