How can you toss stuff you may need?

How can you toss stuff you may need? by Bob Karolevitz How in the world do you dispose of a lifetime of accumulation so your kids don�t have to do it? It�s a dilemma, believe me!

For instance, I�ve got 59 file cabinet drawers full of stuff, most of which, Phyllis tells me, should be thrown away � but I can�t seem to part with any of it.

There�s research material for books I�ll never get around to writing; correspondence which dates back several decades (a lot of the writers are long gone); financial records which ages ago passed the statute of limitations; and loads of other material which I�ve forgotten why I�ve kept it.

I�ve also got hundreds of books all over the place, fiction and non-fiction, hard-covered volumes and paperbacks. Some I�ve read; some I haven�t.

The floor of my office (Phyllis calls it �the boar�s nest�) is piled high with aging magazines, unfiled pictures, a couple of worn-out typewriters; a jar full of marbles, a mounted globe of the earth and items I should return to the rightful owners.

�Why are you saving all those old letters?� my wife wanted to know. �I discard mine right away after I�ve answered them, and you�ve got some that go WAY BACK to your college days.�

�Maybe I�ll need them when I write my memoirs,� I say, trying to defend my collection of yellowing epistles.

The walls are covered with memorabilia, too, and so is the window ledge.

There�s a contrived picture of me presenting the pope with a copy of my diocesan history (I�ve never been to Rome); a picture of me playing clarinet with the Poker Alice Band; a carving of Mutt and Jeff by my sainted father; a World War II hand grenade (defused); a sign which reads �One Man�s Junk Is Another Man�s Junque�; my high school and college basketball letters; lead soldiers I made a long time ago; framed Harvey Dunn prints; a ceramic commemoration of the Robert F. Karolevitz Memorial Cattle Chute, etc., etc.

�You�ve practically got a museum there,� Phyllis chides. �There�s Polish and Korean souvenirs, books older than you are, plaques galore when you were doing something to earn them and even old Jim Beam bottles.�

�You almost have enough to charge admission,� she continues. �However, my question is: how are we going to get rid of it?�

I suppose I should be worrying about that, but I�m not. I�m not fretting about all that stuff in the storage room either.

Like stacks of old newspapers, more books, old phonograph records, lots of empty boxes which I might need some day, hundreds of business cards filed alphabetically, a stamp collection which isn�t worth much, a slide projector which doesn�t work and other items �too numerous to mention� as the auction advertisements say.

�I wouldn�t be surprised to find a partridge in a pear tree among your junk either,� Phyllis quips. �That�s a quote from an old Christmas card, and I notice you have a lot of them stashed away, too.�

Of course, that doesn�t count the printing press, drawers of lead type which we hauled all the way from Seattle, caked-up cans of ink, obsolete quoins and a roll of ancient tympan paper in Phyllis�s office � but that�s another story.

She gets uptight when she sees it all, and wonders what we will do with it. so I guess I should start thinking about it.

First, though, I�ve got to clean out the barn!

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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