August 23, 2005

Going, Going, (Almost) Gone

As many of you already know, I’ve been doing the unthinkable lately. I’ve been trying to access and repair the damage I’ve brought upon myself by being a “saver” most of my life, and trying hard to invalidate much of my shit (trust me, there IS no more-definitive word in this case).

I thought it might be fun to share some of my findings in the past two weeks. Remember, these are things that I obviously, at one time or another, deemed save-worthy. One of my favorite catch-phrases is “I might use (or need) that one day.” But people … I ask you …

~ Three plastic sandwich bags filled with matches. I used to collect match books. It was like a journey through my life looking at all the clubs, bars, restaurants and hotels I’ve gone to or stayed at since I went off on my own.

~ Old dried up Avon samples. Nothing stinks quite as badly as old Avon perfume packets. I guess I collected those too ~ perhaps hoping I wouldn’t go into a full-blown asthma attack by wearing perfume someday. As a touch of irony, I almost keeled over opening the lid of the bin in which these treasures were stored.

~ A thirty year-old pair of tap shoes. They were my last pair, and yes, I’m still hanging on to them even though someone switched feet on me while I was sleeping because they are about a whole size too small.

~ Baby clothes, baby hats, baby shoes, baby toys, baby blankets and baby diapers (yes, the old, cloth type), premie baby bottle and pampers. I only have one child - you’d think I had six - but apparently I was bound and determined to hang onto every shred of evidence in the event that she got whisked away by aliens. I’ve kept about five items and tossed the rest. The diapers make for wonderful dusting rags or fishing hand-wipes.

~ Two plastic sandwich bags filled with various nuts, bolts, screws, (hang onto your seatbelts) twist ties, pushpins, shower rings and oh yes, two old wooden clothes pins. Surely there was some significance to the clothes pins, but I probably wouldn’t admit to it even if I could remember.

~ Allen wrenches. Now really, in each of the five bins I’ve been through thus far, I’ve come across at least two allen wrenches. These annoying (yet at times, necessary) tools seem to pop up everywhere I turn. What is it about the allen wrench? Manufacturers seem to include one in anything that requires it for assembly, so why would anyone hold onto one – let alone a dozen?

~ Money. I’ve found some money in the forms of coins, paper and monopoly. It hasn’t added up to much, but let it be known that if I ever sell all my books? It may pay greatly to come to my yard sale; someone, long ago, must have told me the safest place to hide money is inside of books.

~ Old empty AND not-empty prescription bottles. What the HELL was I thinking? That if I waited long enough, the street value of valium might bring me a small fortune? The thing with the pills that cracks me up is that I’d get these prescriptions filled and never TAKE the damned things. I must have had visions of myself standing on street corners in the faraway future, waving signs that read “we gotcher pain killers, yer anti-depressants, yer seconals, tuinals, your beauties (as in black) and yer cramp-stoppers… step right up.” I was happy to finally discard these nasty things.

~ Speaking of street corners, I also broke down and tossed my “Jesus Saves” and “One Way” pamphlets from back in the days when I lost my flipping mind for a time and became a holy roller. It lasted about a year and a half, but oh my, was I ever good at it. (Grant, I thought of you when I found these things – figured you’d just love that) In my own defense, I didn’t stand on street corners. I just pissed off a world of people putting these things on windshield wipers in parking lots. Yes, that was probably me.

~ Records. I have more 45s than I care to discuss. Here, I’ll pull three titles out of the stack just to show where my head was at back then: (random pickins mind you) Lowdown by Boz Scaggs, Cisco Kid by War, and La La Peace Song by O.C. Smith. Oh, the list gets better, trust me. I’ll guesstimate that there are about a hundred and fifty 45s here. Anybody want some?

~ I have turned up at least eight big fat photo albums worth of random pictures. These don’t get thrown out. Maybe, when all is said and done with my dejunking process, I will grit my teeth and discard the doubles, triples and so-out-of-focus-that-I-can-barely-make-them-out shots. Maybe. (None of the photos, by the way, ever made it into albums)

~ Pay stubs dating as far back as 1971 and no, I’m not kidding. I didn’t keep them all, just one or a couple from every single on-the-books job I’ve ever had! It’s time to kiss them goodbye. I swear, it’s almost as though I was afraid I’d lose my identity – or worse, my memory. Now that I know having these things wouldn’t help if I did, they’re going.

~ Scented votive candles that now smell like the mildewy papers and junk they were stored amidst. I know they were once scented because it says so on the fuzzy labels at the bottoms.

~ Bubble-wrap. I wasted twenty minutes in one sitting popping every last bubble before I finally tossed this crap. (next time I haven’t posted in awhile, you can use that visual to figure out what’s taking me so long)

~ Writing implements. Oh sweet mother of holy lead and ink - have I got a collection of pens, pencils, markers and highlighters! If each one were worth a buck, I’d be taking you all out to dinner (plane fare included). I think it’s fairly easy to see where I was headed with all these implements … I wanted desperately to be a writer, and in the event of some catastrophic shut-down of all pen/pencil factories worldwide, dammit, I was going to be well prepared. Little did I know during the years of collecting that I would be writing about just this topic by means of a keyboard! (What a dreadful waste ~ the collection, that is, hopefully not this post)

Thank you to everyone for the kind thoughts and comments at my last post! They are all greatly appreciated.


Blogger Swifty said...

Carol, you know all too well of my tendency to analyse people, badly of course, as I'm not qualified, and not particularly gifted in that area. Well, in this instance I'm reining in my impulse to try and understand what's going on. Instead I'm going to say, I love it. It's not reducible, it's just you. You lovely daft bugger you.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

I am convinced that you kept all that stuff to entertain all of us years later. And we are all laughing now and thankful that we did not have to divulge our lists of items kept forever.

Thanks Hag!!!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

i am also partial to bubble wrap.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

I feel a purge coming on myself, but I might need a crowbar! I think you'll continue to get blog material from this feat!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Steve said...


This sounds like a junker's dream. Perhaps you should call Antique Road Show to come and check everything out before you complete your purge...

When my grandparents died in the 90s, my uncle started sorting through the basement. The place had over 50 years of history in it; and we're not sure, but perhaps it's where the Teamsters stashed Jimmy Hoffa...

I love hearing about what people collect over the years.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous John said...

That's a heck of a list Carol! Sometimes ya gotta take out the trash!

7:42 PM  
Blogger psuche said...

I have the opposite habit. I throw out everything. I've always felt uncomfortable if I couldn't move my life and possessions in one hour. It's weird I know. :)

9:24 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Carol, you put me to shame! I will never open a cupboard/drawer again!
I so identify with the old 45's and the Avon samples...LOL why do us gals save makeup and perfume samples??

9:41 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Oh, crap. I really did think I had cleaned out last year when I had the garage sale, but according to your list - I am still a junkster!

I have way more matches than you do; a huge glass jar full. Old Avon samples (my Mom used to sell it, records, tapes, screws, bolts, pens, pencils, paper of all sorts, etc.

I am glad you are getting a handle on your stuff and deciding what you can live without. Despite all my good wishes to do the same, I am an inveterate collector of junk.

And now that you are all cleaned out, will we be getting more regular posts on the blog?(we hope!)

11:03 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

I need to something similar ... I've been dragging boxes of papers from 1996 around with me..

You have motivated me.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Leah Bennet said...

I so relate!

12:15 AM  
Anonymous SilverMoon said...

Please remove the 24/7 webcam capability- I thought my vice were hidden behind this screen.. lol

2:31 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You were a Jesus Freak. I just can't see it.

I'll bet you can get a fortune for those records at a used bookstore.

4:54 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

the allen wrenches reminded me of a time my uncle bought a box of them at an auction because they went for $3. 500 friggin allen wrenches, all of them 3/16ths. He kept them until he died. I wanted to slip them into his coffin, but was outvoted. Sigh.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

But you have to admit: those things could be USEFUL, someday...

7:53 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

Wow! You are some hoarder! I would love to hold out my hand when you drop those records. And the pens, pencils, markers too. But all the other stuff???
By the way, popping bubble wrap is highly therapeutic.

8:33 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

Thank god im not the only one who keeps stuff like that.
Ive moved my blog

11:01 AM  
Blogger Karl Childers said...

The term "saver" immediately brought to mind you were one emotionally burdened by rescuing hopeless and wayward souls.

Hell, you're a "pack rat"! (that does not mean Frank, Dean, Sammmy et al.for those who are dyslexic)

But hey, if Jesus Saves, so can you.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

I did something similar the last time I moved. I looked at everything I had and, if I couldn't remember using it in the previous year, I tossed it. Goodbye can of Saudi Pepsi, Ninja Turtle action figures, and chopsticks from various restaurants.

One of these days I need to take to the streets to preach the gospel of Satan to offset the Jebus freaks out there. Of course, outside is where they keep all the sunlight and humidity. Maybe I'll just work my dark magic through my blog.

Great new picture, BTW.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

Carol, as you know I just moved, so I can totally relate. Your list sounds like the contents of my junk drawer... and when I moved, what did I do? Emptied the junk drawer into a box, moved the box to the new place, then emptied the box into the new junk drawer.

Shit, we never learn.

I was also a holy roller for a while. I'll bet I was more saved than you! nya.

12:46 PM  
Blogger t. durden said...

My, my, my ... saving for the end of the world. :)
Was going through my blog and reading some of the comments ... sorry I missed you. Thank you for dropping by. I'll waste very little time in posting your link on my blog. Yes, my mother has a collection of LPs and 45s in our basement. Fortunately they are all in good shape, and my mother has threatened "disownment" on the mention of Ebay. Though I must admit, she's got some really sounds in there. There's an idea: have you considered Ebaying your stuff? Geez, you might make a killing ... well, at least enough to go to the movies and dine out afterwards. Again, thanks for stopping by.

1:18 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, Carol, I'm sure I can relate. I have a hard time throwing anything away. I should use the cleaning of my room as blogging material. It's probably the only way it will happen. Sigh.

I should just throw the damn Avon packets away. I'm not going to use them.

Wow. See, I'm born-again, which is occasionally referred to as being a Holy Roller (not that I ever rolled anywhere (have felt the Annointment, been healed by prayer but never spoke in tongues)), but I never could do the witnessing part. I always felt that it was being too pushy. Plus, while I love God and Jesus, I hate organized religion since, when you gather two or more in his name, it doesn't seem like God is there anymore, it seems like it's an excuse to talk about everyone who doesn't fit exactly with their preconceived notices. Although I always enjoyed reading those little tracts. And then laughing hysterically. Because I'm evil, you know. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm more spiritual than religious and still doing my best to piss off the religious right.

I love your posts.

1:19 PM  
Blogger The Other Half said...

Bubble wrap...weee heee!!!

2:50 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...


I'm impressed that you can throw some of these things out. Packratitis runs in my family (my dad's use of the garage drove my mom insane while they were still married).

I completely understand the writing utensils. From where I sit typing, I can see 21 Sharpies alone. About once every two years I'll go through all the pens and markers that I keep in a drawer and throw out the ones that don't write anymore. Can I throw out the others? No.

I love that you're a "saver" and longer a "Jesus Saves"-er. I found that a bit ironic.

3:02 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

The 45s would be worth something, I'd think. I have a lot of "stuff" too, and a very small house! Your post is funny and a good inspiration!

9:02 PM  
Blogger L said...

ha ha! that bubble wrap is addictive...

12:04 AM  
Blogger Lyvvie said...

I used to be an awful pack-rat but I keep a close leash on it now and throw out anything I've not touched for over a year, even if it hurts, a lot. I find after a couple weeks I forget all about it.

I loved hearing about the pens, I'm still a pen and pencil collector; just can't break that one.

I'm also saving some of the baby clothes, in the hope that my girls may want to use them on thier first babies. I've kept some blankets knit by their grandmothers, the outfit I brought them home from the hospital in, and a few things I thought were way too cute/precious to give to strangers in charity shops.

I love the new picture BTW, very attractive!

3:25 AM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

Well lady, I knew there was a reason I liked you. Misery must love company because I'm a packrat too. Cher and I have been moving this week and it's become only too apparent that I need to go through my stuff and toss the crap I haven't looked at in a year or more. Now that I have a garage, I might have a garage sale though the Ebay idea T. Durden mentioned is tantilizing as well. Somehow selling it feels better than throwing it away to me. I've become the family repository for old and broken things that we can't throw away. I keep thinking that I'll fix or restore the broken things and distribute the rest but it never happens - go figure.


2:09 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

And I never get weary of reading Weary Hag's comments at my site. Thanks for visiting! I always enjoy hearing what you have to say.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

My husband told me if we didn't use something in a year he wanted me to get rid of it. And I laughed and laughed.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Sherry said...

Here from Loose leafnotes (Colleen)...WOW I commend you to even look at this stuff. I get too emotional and look, read, CRY and never get the job done..unless I move. Which is one of my worse jobs in the world for me to do.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband saves "things" and "momentos" while I throw away "trash." :)

7:53 PM  
Blogger Santanu said...

For me, going through that junk is like a ride down memory lane. And I invariably end up spending hours and hardly rejecting anything!
Wish I could get my hands on those 45s!

10:50 PM  
Blogger Johnny Virgil said...

can you come over and help me clean my basement?

5:01 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I just cleaned out my medicine cupboard and threw out all the old bottles that were still half full of antibiotics...they were being held, "just in case", yet I know it's wrong to start on old antibiotics, let alone not finish the whole course.

And OMG, it really is time I threw out all the REALLY old makeup and skincare samples and half empty bottles in the vanity unit.

I agree with you...cloth nappies do indeed make great dusting rags!

Writing implements. I love all sorts of stationery...especially pens and pencils! I've got a huge amount of them strewn all round my house...course I can never find one when I need one in a hurry.

You're quite the hoarder aren't you? I know how you feel lol

3:26 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

Let's face it bubble wrap kicks ass! RCS wasn't joking when he described the garage. No damn room for a car in that baby! We've upgraded to a two car garage which basically means that he can store even greater volumes of broken stuff that he will neither have the time or the burning desire to fix. Hope you continue to de-junk your life! It is a liberating experience!

4:54 AM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

Now that you have gotten rid of all that stuff you could open a boarding house using the free space..

8:36 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Didn't have time to read all your comments--but I have only one hyphenated word--E-Bay.

8:15 PM  
Blogger DLAK said...

Read that and you will know why women sound like Charlie Browns teacher to most men.

4:48 AM  
Blogger dan said...

A truly classic case of hording.

You are not alone Carol. You are not alone.

4:58 AM  
Blogger dulciana said...

Don't know why I haven't stopped by sooner - am bookmarking your wonderful blog. I've been purging my junk on a regular basis as we've moved three times in four years. It's amazing what silly things we hang on to. I used to be a holy roller, too. Now I'm a...buddhiscopal. Sort of.

12:00 PM  
Blogger katie said...

You have no idea what a relief it is to know that I am not the only person who has an unexplainable box of clothes pins and twisty ties. I have use for neither, but insist on keeping them!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW C, people really love ya here huh? POP-U-LAR! lol. wow, a holy roller huh? totally cant see you doing that lol. sounds to me you've cleaned house too :) (in more than one way)


4:39 PM  
Blogger Eileen the Jellomonster said...

I love this post. I too am a bit of a "collector," but the person who really took the cake was my late uncle David. He was right up there with Howard Hughes, I think.

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, juggling the daughter + 2 part time jobs + assorted shit (and now a cold to boot.). Ack!

2:54 PM  
Blogger NYCbeauty said...

Ummm, you are a quick one. I just posted the flower and then figured out how to do the text around the pic. now you can read it!!!

12:11 PM  
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6:22 AM  
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6:39 PM  
Blogger Dene' said...

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Come and have a look if you get time :-)

11:47 PM  
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I have a discount designer perfume site. It pretty much covers discount designer perfume related stuff.

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3:12 AM  
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1:07 AM  

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