Sunday, May 8, 2011

It Takes Years to Empty Out Your House

We've been adjusting to the deaths of our parents for more than 15 years. Each of the transitions resulted in the need to absorb more "stuff" from their lives. We did this happily, both to retain and celebrate good memories and also to pass on artifacts to future generations.

Problem is, what we originally accepted is way more than what we can reasonably store or exhibit. And as each subsequent transition occurred, the energy required to sift through all the "stuff" and winnow it down diminished due to increasing fatigue with the process.

We filled this beast
Which brings us to April 2011. I decided that we couldn't go on like this any longer. That's when I called Waste Management and ordered a 20-yard rolloff dumpster. I've done this twice before yet it still amazes me how much material we can shed and not miss when it's gone.

I thought that we'd be at the task for the entire weekend, but the two of us filled the box in just over two hours. That's two tons of "stuff"! During April I made three trips to the Rice County Solid Waste facility, two trips to the Hospital Auxiliary Book Sale, two trips to town with clothes donations, and recycled two truck loads of cardboard and plastic bags. All that's left is a bag full of batteries.

Not bad for a couple of hoarders, huh? We're trying to change our ways.


  1. Wow. I can only imagine what will need to happen for us to reach this point in a few years...

  2. That's inspiring, Dan. Steve and I are both savers, and we've talked about how we don't want to saddle our kids with all the stuff we're accumulating in our basement. We did manage to take about five boxes of books to the book sale - maybe now it's time to try the dumpster.

  3. When I sold all my mom's "treasures" at a garage sale after she died for practically nothing, I realized that everything that we accumulate is just stuff, valuable to no one but ourselves. My husband and I are staring down the same job in the near future. We've got two households of hoarders who have been combined into one huge pile of junk. Thanks for the inspiration!