Junk is something you throw away the day before you need it

December 15, 2008

If you do not get rid of things (whether by pitching, donating, or recycling them), you are missing out on one of the greatest joys in life, I think.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon sorting through various bookcases, closets, and cupboards and throwing things away with reckless abandon. Hundreds of sheets of paper from the semester found their final resting place in the recycle bin. Books that needed to be returned to friends went home. Decorative shelves were cleared and rearranged.

I know some people are reluctant to throw things out, agonizing that someday, somehow they’ll need the precise thing they’ve just tossed in the garbage, but I refuse to live my life in fear that someday I will desperately wish I’d kept the leaky jar of foul-smelling body lotion that someone bought me at the dollar store. I cannot live that way.

Yesterday, I spent an embarrassing amount of time sitting on my couch, gazing at my lovely and clean living room and kitchen. Several people stopped by unannounced and, ta-da, the house looked lovely (I was asleep on the couch with pillow marks on my face, but such things can be overlooked in the glow of a Christmas tree and a dusted and organized bookshelf).

So please, throw something away today – something you’ve been hanging on to simply because there was room for it, even though you will never ever ever ever ever use it. Do it for me.

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  • Reply Packrat December 15, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Never! Almost just kidding. I do have a difficult time throwing away things that are usable. And, always when I give something away, the next day is the day I’ll need it. This reluctance to throw or give things away comes from living around grandparents and parents and so many others that lived during the Depression. “Waste not, want not” wasn’t just a saying It was a rule.

  • Reply Operation Pink Herring December 15, 2008 at 7:15 pm


  • Reply craftyashley December 15, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I am the same way! We purge everytime we moved- which used to be every year. But now I find myself missing that really cute messenger bag that would have fit my new laptop perfectly. Dang!

  • Reply Mary December 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Having moved five times in the past three years, we have done a lot of de-junking. I love organizing and getting rid of things, sometimes a little too much. 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer Lee December 15, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    I absolutely agree with you. Nothing clears the head like a good purge.

  • Reply Bart December 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Hey, have you seen my lotion?

  • Reply Shelly December 15, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    My husband thanks you for this post.

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy December 15, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve moved a ridiculous number of times. The best part about it? Throwing out things. I love to throw stuff out.

    Except I should have hung on to that one receipt . . .

    Oh, and I took a huge box of old boys’ bedroom stuff to the Goodwill as a big collection thinking, someone would LOVE to have this. Only, I think the cross-stitch sampler that my mom made for my oldest child (as she does for each grandchild) was in the box. I am so dead.

  • Reply hello, my name is amber. December 15, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    are you inside my head? seriously.
    i agree, best feeling in the world.

  • Reply Kristi December 15, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Blaine is the packrat in this family. Finally I made a rule that if he hasn’t used it in one year I can get rid of it. . . the only thing that has escaped the rule is this box of little mini-discs which we have lugged around the country five times and fought over endlessly. Finally I put them in his sock drawer where they may stay as long as he likes, but just to spite me he pulled them out when Bart came over the other day. I guess it’s a good thing we lugged them around the country five times so he could pull them out for Bart on Saturday….hey thanks for that lotion by the way ; )

  • Reply hollyhs December 15, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    ha ha! i love it! “chucking things” is one of my favorite past times. it’s so cleansing to get rid of things that we don’t use. 🙂

  • Reply Angella December 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Matthew is the King of the Purge, and it’s been rubbing off on me. It feels good.

  • Reply Merrick December 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I think I gave you that lotion. Or apparently gave it to Bart 🙂

  • Reply Jeanelle December 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    and if you DO need that lotion, you’ll just go buy more (and likely a non leaking, non stinky variety.) I am planning a major dejunking over the holidays and I’m actually excited about it!

  • Reply Ashley December 15, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Dave and I are pretty good at throwing things away…me better than dave. Maybe that is because we move about every year so we have to go through all our stuff and it is SO much easier to throw away then pack, move and unpack. It makes me feel all lovely to throw junk out that I know I will most likely never use. Dave and I always say “If we havent used it in the last year, we probably wont use it this year either.”

  • Reply Corbett Family December 16, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I spent last weekend throwing away/donating broken and unwanted toys in preparation for the Christmas onslaught. It felt so good!!! (Even though my husband fought me more about it than my kids.)

  • Reply emilycake84 December 16, 2008 at 3:36 am

    I LOVE getting rid of stuff. Getting rid of most of our stuff and moving was actually kind of awesome.

  • Reply Rhiannon December 16, 2008 at 4:39 am

    I can’t tell you why, but I get such ridiculous satisfaction from getting rid of stuff – be it from using the last drop of lotion or soap, or donating something to Goodwill. I just LOVE removing stuff from my home.

  • Reply artemisia December 16, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Oh, getting rid of stuff is my FAVORITE past time. No, really. It is so satisfying – so freeing!

    Now if I could get my partner on board… Hee!

  • Reply Miriam Higginson December 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    I don’t think I know how to de-junk without moving. Might be a skill I need to learn, doesn’t appear we’ll be moving as much as we used to!

  • Reply Jenna December 16, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    This is definitely the mantra we live by at our house. I subscribe to the “if you haven’t used it in the past year, you don’t need it” idea.

  • Reply Lisa December 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I need to clean out my lotion shelf, now that you remind me. I used to work at Bath and Body Works and I still haven’t made a dent in all those bottles that came home with me.

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