Deal With “Stuff”

The Oakdale Leader - - PERSPECTIVE -

L abor Day Week­end gives Amer­i­cans across the coun­try a three-day week­end to rest, travel and cel­e­brate our free­dom to la­bor. Our jobs in­creased by two mil­lion peo­ple in 2017 and have con­tin­ued to climb in 2018. Hourly wages have seen gains and the stock mar­ket has seen 20 months of phe­nom­e­nal growth. Em­ploy­ers across the coun­try need work­ers and job seek­ers have op­tions.

Not ev­ery­one will travel on La­bor Day and I would like to sug­gest an ac­tiv­ity of ‘La­bor’ that will be men­tally good for you and your en­tire fam­ily. Clean out your closet, base­ment, at­tic and garage. For years Amer­i­cans cram “stuff” into clos­ets, base­ments, at­tics and garages. Af­ter all of these are filled to ca­pac­ity we build stor­age barns in our yards. Next, we rent stor­age units to store more stuff. Have you no­ticed how many stor­age units are being built al­most ev­ery­where? They are a big busi­ness. Peo­ple that own stor­age units make big money because there is such a de­mand for them. The rich­est man in Ken­tucky is in the stor­age space busi­ness. We are talk­ing about a state that has been rich in coal, nat­u­ral gas and bour­bon whiskey. Thus, this gives you an idea how many peo­ple are stor­ing up stuff.

I in­her­ited my mom and dad’s old house. It was my home place grow­ing up and it has been a de­light. How­ever af­ter 11 years I’m still throw­ing stuff away. My fam­ily took what they wanted years ago, and a lot of clothes and things were given away or di­vided up but still yet there were lots of things that mom, and dad in par­tic­u­lar, had stored up over the years. Just two week­ends ago I cleaned out an­other old build­ing of old tools to give and throw away.

My wife’s par­ents re­cently passed and left a house of four bed­rooms, and a base­ment and garage filled with 76 years of “stuff.” We gave away, had yard sales, di­vided and di­vided among fam­ily and gave away more and lit­er­ally had to throw a lot of things in the trash. The fam­ily sold this house so it had to be emp­tied. Emp­ty­ing a house of an en­tire life of col­lected items is hard work but emo­tion­ally drain­ing. Every item, pic­ture, gar­ment, old gun, piece of china etc. have mem­o­ries and it’s tough to just throw it in the dump­ster.

Why do we col­lect and store so much “stuff?” Most of it is socked away in a closet or space and hardly used. We un­packed a large base­ment space of tools, old fur­ni­ture and more that had not been touched in many years. Why do we do this? Because we think we might want or need it? Maybe the chil­dren will want it? Or, maybe the grand­chil­dren will want it? It’s amaz­ing how very lit­tle of our things our chil­dren want. Most of them want their own stuff and sel­dom want the old. Of­ten, so much of the stuff we save is junk, so who wants to take our junk to their house and store it in their base­ment?

Do your­self and your fam­ily a fa­vor. Start clean­ing out your stor­age spa­ces now and give it away your­self. Haul the junk to the dump. Have a yard sale and what­ever you have left you will know more about what it is and where to find it. Plus, when you are dead and gone your chil­dren will be able to rest on La­bor Day and not spend their week­end clean­ing out all your old clothes and old stuff that you didn’t take care of your­self.

There is some­thing re­ally nice about hav­ing a closet where you can re­ally see and know what is in that closet. Or it’s nice hav­ing a garage or an at­tic where most of it has been cleaned out and or­ga­nized and only con­tains what you re­ally need. When you get it done sit back and drink a cold glass of lemon­ade and give thanks for the things you have and the la­bor that pro­vided the “stuff” you re­ally need and en­joy.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is the au­thor of 12 books. He is Pres­i­dent of New­burgh The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, New­burgh, In­di­ana. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor and not nec­es­sar­ily those of this pa­per or its cor­po­rate own­er­ship.


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