Thursday, September 30, 2010

Disposing with dignity

Hold on a sec. Not talking about eliminating dignity, here — I'm referring to throwing away things on your own terms.
We recently moved, and part of that process included disassembling my office over THERE and re-creating it over HERE (in a slightly smaller space). As I gazed upon the stuff that had accumulated over the years, I knew that there were a couple of Hefty bags in my future.

Which brings me to disposing with dignity. With some items -- boxes for electronics past their warranty, faded neon paper that I used for a long-ago direct mail campaign, several miles' worth of USB, Firewire and ethernet cable — it's not a hard decision to pitch.

But then you get to those things that may once have held some meaning but now just collect dust: stacks of photos that didn't make the cut into an album or onto a wall; silly awards; CDs of stale computer archives; and, perhaps most painfully and poignantly for a freelance writer, stacks of magazines, samples and old clips that are way past their expiration date.

I threw it all away. The "disposing with dignity" principle is something my wife and I formulated and have employed (usually when moving), and it comes down to this: As the owner/possessor of an item that has some emotional value to you alone, it's best that you are the one to throw it away. Not to go too morbid on you here, but if you were to die tomorrow, this is stuff that would be chucked away without remorse. In fact, it might only serve to annoy the people who wondered why you kept all that crap.

In any event, purging felt good. I had one final chance to pay my respects and reminisce on those things that I didn't really need anymore. I just heard the garbage truck do its pickup...but I still have my memories.


  1. Thank God for pdfs, right?

  2. Now that's good writing. I know because at the end I could actually smell the fumes of the garbage truck as it drove away... : )

  3. @Anonymous, yes, pdfs are a lot more economical space-wise. But even then, it feels good to get rid of the clutter with the "delete" key.

    @Mark, didn't mean to turn it into Smellovision for ya!

  4. I've been trying to sell my house for a year, and have been living in a very "sterile" environment so I can show it on a moments notice. At first, I missed my personal stuff on display but now, I rather like the clean and uncluttered look. I think less has become more for me!