I expected some sort of resistance from my family when I started removing 100 things from our home every day. So I purposely decided to keep the project low key. Typically, I gather a few things here and there while I go about my regular routine. I’m making breakfast – a broken pair of scissors disappears. I’m folding laundry and an old T-shirt vanishes. I run the bath and suddenly we have 12 less bath toys. No one seems to notice the three plastic bags (donate, recycle, garbage) hanging off my forearm. Items that are too big for the bags get stacked in piles to collect later and often furtively.
But occasionally I feel I must ask for guidance when disposing things that a) don’t belong to me and b) I don’t recognize. Here are a couple such things:
And here’s how the conversation with my significant other went:
Me: Do you need these dried up monitor wipes or should I throw them out?
Husband: I’m not sure…let me see…no, throw them out.
Husband: But keep the container it might be good for storing pencils. (starts rummaging around in the kids art drawer for said pencils.)
Me: We already have three pencil boxes. I think we can recycle this container.
Husband: (reluctantly) I guess so.
Me: (picking up shiny silver disc off the floor) What’s this from?
Husband: (taking it from me) It’s a battery.
Me: I know it’s a battery but do you know what it’s for?
Husband: (setting it down on his desk) I think so.
48 hours later
Me: (noticing the battery still on his desk) Did you ever figure out what that battery was for?
Me: Are you just going to keep it there on your desk?
Husband: No, I’ll put it in a special place.
And that would be OK if he had one special place but he doesn’t. He has stashes in drawers and cupboards and jars and boxes all over the house and that’s where the recycling bin comes in.
Me: Do you need this copy of iLife ’09? There’s a disc in it.
Husband: I’m not sure. (pointing to a chair in his office) Just put it there.
Me: Are you sure you want it? I found it in the big blue recycling bin in the garage with a few books, a plastic stool and some garbage.
Husband: That’s not exactly the recycling bin.
And that is the mystery of the man I married. If it’s not the recycling bin – then what is it?
It’s a special place. A depository where an enigmatic assortment of things come together in one place to be dealt with later. While pack rat seems a little harsh, I can tell you without reservation, that this man is a Squirrel. I knew it from the day I moved in with him and found a power bar in the cedar chest.
Non – squirrels, myself included, will never appreciate his methods. All we can do is observe and speculate, which is why I’ve given him his own special place in this blog. The category Squirrel Corner is where I’ll share the habits of this strange creature and, just for fun, track some of his belongings.
Today, despite resistance, I managed to rid the house of 50 items of kids clothing (half passed on to friends, half donated) and 50 items from my bathroom counter and my make-up cache (sadly tossed). I’m actually establishing a rhythm of gathering, sorting and disposing of junk that doesn’t take a lot of time, energy or space. I’ll open a page called the method tomorrow and post the details as I figure them out.