If you get sick, do not come to my house. We have no medicine. And I know this because I spent an entire afternoon scouring through our medicine closet, tossing away the expired bottles (which was basically all of them). I was ashamed to learn that over half the contents of the little pharmacy in my bathroom expired in 2003 or earlier.
I even found some Vick’s Vapor Rub that expired in 2000. But really, can Vick’s expire? I mean, it’s not like you ingest it; it’s just supposed to sit there and smell like death. The older the better, wouldn’t you think? It would be kicking off chemicals so putrid that your sinuses would be open enough to hold a party inside.
In the interest of
totally showing off transparency, I’m showing you a picture of the finished product. Note the medicines sorted by ailment. BY AILMENT, people–that is some fine work, if I do say so myself:
That basket at the top labeled ortho? That’s not ortho- as in –dontia, but ortho– as in –pedic. I thought that was a much more sophisticated label than WE ARE GETTING OLD AND THINGS ARE STARTING TO CREAK AND HURT.
The bathroom closet project took on such a life of its own; before I knew it I was digging under cabinets and in drawers and mercilessly throwing away anything that stood still. Hubs even asked me if I was pregnant and nesting.
(Evidently the poor man skipped Chapter 47, Section 18C of The Husband’s Instruction Manual: When your wife has eaten so much sugar that she has had to wear elastic-waist yoga pants for two weeks straight, that would not be the best time to jokingly ask if she’s pregnant.)
I am not a packrat; I actually take great pleasure in throwing things away. But I always feel the need to be very careful that anything that is salvageable should go to a friend or a charity. It’s kind of an obsession, actually. What if I gave this sweater to Goodwill and they sold it for $1.25 and were able to buy some sweet little child a school lunch? The PRESSURE!
But that kind of sorting takes time, something I simply didn’t have. For the one and only time, I gave myself permission to just chuck it all in the trash. And you should’ve seen the trash bags marching their way down to my curb. I was a woman possessed. I was afraid I’d get carried away and throw one of the kids away.
I have been ruthless this year. Old board games that nobody plays? Toss ’em. Old board games that kids like but the parts are missing? Toss ’em. 7,237 Happy Meal toys? Toss ’em. Kids’ art projects that aren’t significant enough to save? They’re gone, never to clutter my home again.
And it felt so good, so freeing–symbolic even, of starting the new year out with a clean slate and less cluttered mind. I’m dubbing 2008 The Year of Less Stuff. I want to be purposeful about what I bring into my home, and what I allow to stay here. I want to teach my children to do the same. In the short term, it keeps thing neater; in the long term, it emphasizes to my kids one of the biggest lessons we hope they learn from us: STUFF DOESN’T MATTER. PEOPLE DO.
Join me, if you’d like. Start slowly, if you need to–you can earmark a special box in your garage for charity, and make it your goal to toss just one thing in it per day. Or pick one closet or drawer per week (or month) and purge your heart away.
You can do it! I’ll be standing here, cheering you on. With very clear sinuses. And bad knees.