Sunday, February 11, 2007


I'm going to borrow this title from Ian Brown, of the Globe & Mail, because it's perfect for the domestic drama that's been going on in our house over the past month or so.

Mr. Brown's article centres primarily on throwing out books, and how men especially find they cannot, when push comes to shove, while women can trash an entire library in a day and come up with clean shelves. (I'm paraphrasing here) He uses examples such as Edgar Johnsons's Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph which you've had for 25 years, but are unable to part with because Charles Dickens was the subject of your Masters in English or something.

I've already cleaned out my paperback 6 shelf-deep, nearly floor to ceiling bookshelves, and ended up with a clear plastic grocery bag for the Sally Ann. I parted with several collections of Highland historicals I know I'll never read again, collections of authors I'll never read again because I've outgrown them, and ancient research books. I purged a 2-shelf cart full of books too.

This, alas, is not enough for my dh! He wants us to go through every "box" we have in our basement and garage that we haven't opened in the past year and either pitch, purge, or Sally Ann it. We likely won't have a garage when we move to Winnipeg at the end of summer, and he's already scoped out an 8'x6' collapsible shed with a floor we can buy. (I know we'll have a bigger house, therefore bigger basement, but Winnipeg's built on a flood plain and we've been told the house will flood every spring, thus the need to put everything up on pallets). SO, the necessity for a PURGE.

Mr. Ian Brown states that a four drawer filing cabinet holds 18,000 pieces of paper. Also, statistically speaking, that once people "get organized" with totes, bins, and files, nothing in them is ever looked at again. (I can attest to 2 x Rubbermaid totes per child in the garage that are filled with toys we couldn't part with on our last move, that have never made it into the house)

My DH wants me to go through 10 boxes in the basement, and I've already told him the baby clothes, silver chasing dishes, sterling silver-anything, wedding gifts (ok, we've been married 19 yrs, I guess if we havent used them by now we should re-gift them or Sally Ann them, or something!), my spinning wheel, and all my scrapbooking stuff - the final items do NOT count as boxes - are staying. Personally, I think all his boxes of college papers & textbooks could disappear, along with at least 50% of our kids videos that they never watch, maybe 75%, and most of his "mug collection". Okay, that's sacrosanct!

Is it true that if you haven't opened a box in a year, or worn a piece of clothing in a year, it's time to dump it/purge it/give it away? I disagree heartily. Ridiculous. Those baby clothes are going to fall apart at the seams before they get thrown out or Sally Ann'd. And I kept the dress that I wore on my first date with my DH for 12 years, until I knew *for sure* that I'd never, ever fit into it ever again.

Proving that you can write about murder and mayhem, and still have a few sentimental bones in your body after all.

1 comment:

Toni Anderson said...

Oh my--throwing out books???

Sigh. too sad.

Winnipeg doesn't flood because we're on the flood plane (please God), we flood because the soil is clay and the watertable high, and in the spring when the snow finally melts, especially if we have rain, there is nowhere for the water to go. As long as the rivers don't go, we're usually OK, just a bit damp ;)