Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hidden Garbage

Rather than garage sales, or estate sales, it is popular here in OK to have auctions. There are several auction companies that come in and organize sales for a percentage of the take. Most of the time the auctions are dealing with older people who are downsizing, maybe moving from the farm to town or to a rest home. Many times someone has died and the family hires the auction company to take care of the estate. One time, we went to one of these auctions way out in the country. The house was an old trailer house with a couple of old sheds surrounding it. All were full of furniture and junk. The auction company had placed other sale items in long rows in the yard. The amount of junk and the size of the house were so disproportional that it made me sick. Seriously, I could hardly breathe. Here was this person’s life laid out on the lawn with people milling about looking through it. Every jar and tupper-ware bowl, every clothes pin, every gift sack and wrapping paper, every piece of useless junk imaginable was there – saved for what purpose? It was overwhelming to me. I told Toby, "When I die, please don’t lay my life on the front lawn for everyone to see."

On the one hand this made me want to go home and get rid of junk around my house, but some of you might recognize that this has a deeper spiritual meaning. I certainly recognized it. Along with the physical need to clean out my life (get rid of the unnecessary junk), came the realization that I need to clean out the spiritual junk too. The garbage that we hide from others – the hate, the envy, the bitterness, the procrastination, the laziness, the busybody, the spite, the guile, the malice, etc. all needs to be thrown out. If you don’t rid yourself of these things, they will be shown to the world someday. What is in your heart will be laid bare. You may think you have it well hidden or even controlled, but it comes out your mouth and maybe your nose.

Alison, over at the Lollipop Tree, posted about moving her mother, also. She mentioned the sentimental things that she kept for her mother – storing them away because she could not part with them. She had this great line about keeping things for her mother: after all, she kept them for so many years it would be like a slap in the face to just dispose of them...

I understand perfectly. Some things are of value. So much of Mom’s house was the letters, the history, and the sentimental and precious things. It was difficult to go through those things. I, too have those things in my home. But we do need to stop every once in a while and go through the garbage that we hang on to - thinking that someday we might use it again – like the 26 plastic butter dishes with lids. If we don’t clean out our junk, someone will have to someday. Sometimes I envy Buck with his RV and movable life.

9 comments:

Buck said...

Sometimes I envy Buck with his RV and movable life.

Ah, but downsizing ain't easy, as you've elegantly described, Lou. While one does gain a great deal of freedom and peace of mind by ridding oneself of "stuff," there are downsides. I miss my books. I miss my vinyl music collection. I miss the art that hung on my walls and which was patiently collected, piece by piece, over the course of 30 years or so. There were memories associated with each item.

I wouldn't go back, tho. Now I need to work on that psychic downsizing and/or cleaning-out you mentioned. ;-)

Inquiries said...

Great post Lou. I need to clean out my junk too.

Dawn said...

I'm one for the simple life too! which doesn't include junk, inside or out! With a family my size that can be a constant battle. :) In my home we each have what we call our junk drawers. At different times of the year we all pull them out and have a ceremonial clean up! It makes for a lot of memory hashing loads of laughs, and sometimes a few tears. It also makes for deeper bonding with one another, I love that time with my family!

inpassing said...

Hmmm...well Mr. Napkins collects his treasures and I collect mine, but unfortunately they aren't always the same thing. So when clean out time comes, I am quick to suggest we get rid of his old junk...to which he quickly suggests we get rid of mine. A stalemate is reached and the closet, shed, and guest house just keep getting even more full of "treasures".

Mrs. Bear said...

Very well put my friend. I love you.

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Man...could i post on that one! I've been on both sides of the spectrum...the streamlined living in an RV and then, the hellhole i helped clean out last summer. This woman had, some inner "travellers". She was filthy rich, heavy, heavy emphasis on filthy. Not sure why i never blogged that whole experience, perhaps i've mentally blocked it.

Towanda said...

I surely identified with your blog post, Lou. I have been "downsizing" for two years now in preparation for our move to NM later this spring. I absolutely REFUSE to have a cluttered house when I get there. Getting rid of my stuff was hard when I started, but it got easier and easier as I went along. The problem is definitely my hubby .... who has saved every object and possession he ever had. I am leaving his downsizing to him. It will be good for him.

NOW....when my life finally gets normal again, it is time for me to think about starting cleaning up my spiritual junk too. Thanks for that ... I always learn something from your posts that I can use.

Fire Fox said...

Lou are we in the midst of a Spring Fever epidemic? I can't even bring myself to look under the kitchen sink, out in the garage, or in the spare bedroom closet. Not just yet, it's still too cold! Spiritual inventory is always a good daily exercise, it's all in the attitude... half full/half empty... our thoughts and behaviors are the only things we have any control over. I'm thinking I should take myself and my behavior for a nice vacation somewhere warm..... Regards.

Bag Blog said...

Towanda, husbands and their junk are a whole new ball of wax. When we moved to our present place, I told him that his goal in life was to get rid of our rust - old farm equipment that litters the property. And some day, I know he will get around to it...

Fire Fox, someplace warm sounds nice - and good for the soul.

Dawn, we have junk drawers too!