Hard rubbish, tough love

How was your weekend? I spent Sunday looking into my garage wondering what I should throw out in the annual hard rubbish collection.

I find this a really tough thing to do. Everything I look at is still in the house because I believe that, one day, I’ll use it again.

There’s a gas camping lamp that has now survived 12 hard rubbish collections because there’s nothing wrong with it and I’m sure I’ll use it again.

Same for my old surfboard. And that outdoor heater. And the foosball table that hasn’t been used for a decade. And that wardrobe … would have been worth a pretty penny 20 years ago.

This is an example of my thought process: “That foosball table isn’t broken. I don’t need it now that the kids have moved out. They don’t have room for it, but one day they might and they might appreciate having it, so I’ll just hang on to it for a bit longer.”

That thought process takes about 10 seconds to unfold. With about 150 items in my garage receiving similar attention, you can start to understand how mentally draining hard rubbish collections can be.

And it gets worse.

I’m one of those people who walk past other collections and see something that could be of use.

Last year it was a giant brown bear. This bear stands about a metre tall and is damn cute, so I brought it home.

It was so big it terrified my grandkids and my dog did nothing but growl at it then try to hump it.

I put the bear in the driveway, thinking it might terrify burglars. Might have worked, too, because we haven’t been robbed in the past 12 months.

Anyway, it’s back out on the nature strip, along with a few other things, most of which have come from other people’s collections.

And now I’ve locked myself away inside my house and I’m not stepping outside until the rubbish truck has come because I don’t trust myself.

Which leads me to next year’s hard rubbish collection and how I’m going to deal with it better than I did this year or any of the 20 that proceeded it.

I’ve started some research and I’m happy to pass this on to those of you who might be similarly challenged.

First thing to do is to start culling things now. Find one thing that survived this year’s cull and put it somewhere.

Then tomorrow, do the same thing.

Do this every day and, by next hard rubbish day, you’ll have 365 things ready to throw out.

But if one thing a day is too much to ask, try this. Set aside one day each month and collect 10 things you might not want. Put them aside.

In 12 months, you’ll have 120 things to throw out.

If that’s too hard, pick one thing each month. You’ll at least have 12 things ready to discard.

They key is to put these things somewhere where you won’t see them on a regular basis. If you do see them, they’ll start talking to you and they’ll convince you of their future worth and, before you know it, they’ll be back on a dusty shelf somewhere, giving you grief every hard rubbish collection until you die.

Which is probably the only way to legitimately escape hard rubbish anxiety. Then the kids will have the problem of deciding who’ll get what and what goes to the dump.

Hang on! Why should the kids escape grief? Most of the things giving you heartache each year are probably things you accumulated with them in mind, anyway – the foosball table, the brown bear, those old golf clubs, that scooter …

So I’m leaving everything in my garage to my children and I’ll go to my grave with a grin on my face, thinking about them looking into that same garage and trying to decide what’s rubbish and what isn’t and having discussions like: “Oh dad loved that surfboard. We can’t throw that out.” Or: “That wardrobe is so old it’s nearly an antique. Might be worth something.”

Are you good at culling things you don’t use regularly? Or are you a hoarder?

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Written by Perko

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