From Our Home to Arc: No Flood Required

I’m pretty much a fanatic about getting rid of stuff. I’ve always had the tendency to clear things out and have a great sense of accomplishment when I do so. It’s not that stuff doesn’t accumulate, but typically it never gets too far out of control before my radar kicks in and I get a handle on it.

A while ago I made a commitment to assure that stagnant situations never occur. I do this with the help of the Arc which is a non-profit organization that re-sells items—household things, clothes, some electronics, books, toys, much like a Goodwill. Monthly they send a truck through the neighborhood to pick up whatever you want to give away, eliminating the need to even have to drive to their facilities. I made a promise to myself to contribute each time the truck is scheduled to come by our house.

I have a friend who each year has a garage sale. I listen to her stories of how much work it entails, lugging stuff from the basement, setting up tables, being there through rain or hot weather, and then there’s always a whole bunch of things left over which she puts back in the basement until next year’s garage sale. When she deducts the ads she runs, she considers herself lucky to come away with $100. What is the point of that, I wonder?

Some of my beautiful clothes that I’m tired of or that don’t match my newly discovered fashion Feng Shui sense I’ve taken to a consignment shop. I get them cleaned, ironed, hung neatly on hangers, drag them into the store, wait while a clerk goes over every square inch, and then points out why they’re totally unacceptable in a loud and accusatory voice so that anyone in the store, anyone out on the sidewalk, anyone actually within driving distance can hear. I take my pile of clothes and shamefully head out the door. Who needs that?

No, I’m taking a different approach. When the Arc reminder comes in the mail, I set about looking for something to purge. I never have a lot to put out on the boulevard—maybe just one bag, or one box. But it has made me so aware of what we have stuck away in the linen closet, in drawers in the basement, hanging in my closet. When I think I can’t possibly get rid of anything else, there’s always an item that becomes an obvious choice.

Wednesday the Arc truck came by our house and I had stuff ready to go, sitting on the boulevard. I find this approach of clearing clutter respectful, easy and not at all time-consuming. I look forward to next month when once again I will have the opportunity to release some items from dark and deserted corners and closets.