Living Retired — ‘The Urge To Purge’
Living Retired – ‘The Urge To Purge’
By Gary Chalk
Last week Jan said, “Gary, lets finally purge the back room in the basement.”
I said, “Jan, when you say we are going to purge a room all I can think of is that you will force me to get rid of our VCR and all our movies on Beta and the several trips I will take hauling everything away. Purging makes me want to puke.”
“I wish you wouldn’t say puke Gary. You know I don’t like that word.”
“Jan, I looked it up in the dictionary and puke comes 188 words before purge. Do the math. It is better.”
“Gary, you wasted time counting the number of words in the dictionary that come between puke and purge? Words can’t describe you!”
I knew better than tell Jan to mind her P’s and Q’s, so I let it go.
Our system of purging involves purchasing large plastic bags and moving boxes to stuff things in and investing in Post-It Notes. We stick various coloured Post-It Notes on everything so that I know where things get taken to. Clothing gets a yellow sticky note which means I deliver it to a local women’s shelter. Orange sticky notes are for books to be taken to the used bookstore. Old furniture gets marked with green sticky notes for the thrift store. And bright red sticky notes are placed on old cans of paint that I save for the next hazardous waste recycling day at the landfill.
“Jan do you ever think our dependence on using so many Post-It Notes has become a sticking point in our marriage?”
“Well Gary, perhaps if you took Prevagen your memory would improve, and we wouldn’t need to use all these sticky notes.”
“Got it Jan. Jot that down on a Post-It Note so I remember to pick some up next time I am at a pharmacy.”
I Googled ‘purging clutter’ to see what we haven’t done in our previous purges. It took awhile – trying to find the mouse underneath all the papers on my desk. I settled on an article ‘How To Declutter Your Home: 10 Creative Decluttering Tips’ by Joshua Becker.
“Jan, I found some tips online by this guy who is a neat freak.”
“What does he suggest, Gary? I always like to start with a plan.”
“I suggest we just contact Joshua and have him do the work for us. While he takes junk out through the garage we can be bringing in new stuff to replace it. After all we will have empty space to fill.”
I started with his second tip: get a garbage bag and fill it as fast as you can. I began with the top drawer of my office desk. Soon I amassed never before used Paper Mate pens, Bic pens, Le Grip pens, Staples pens, Ink Joy pens, Gel ink pens, Studio pens and pens from the bank.
“Gary, you can’t take all those retractable pens to the landfill. That much ink can’t be good for the earth.”
“Oh yeah just watch me Jan. Mark my words.”
One of the other decluttering tips Joshua suggests is: ‘view your home as a first-time visitor.’ He explained to enter your house as if you’re visiting the home of a friend. Write down your first impression on how clean and organized your home is and make changes. This sounded plausible so I stood at the front door and rang the doorbell and waited for Jan to arrive.
“Gary, why are you ringing the doorbell? Did you lose your key in the mess in your Jeep? And why are you holding a pen and clipboard?”
“Jan, I am going to jot down notes of my first impression coming into our house. Do you want me to remove my shoes first?”
My impressions were, well, lets put it this way. “Jan, lets delay purging and go out for dinner.”
Jan agreed. “I’ll grab my purse. It’s in my office here somewhere.”
‘Living Retired’ is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk.
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