I admit it… I’m not very good at throwing things away. Ever since I left college 16 years ago, I have a hard time parting with anything that I think might be useful again some day.
If you walk around my basement, you will find a collection of items that I am sure will be needed eventually. There is the bathroom fan we bought 8 years ago just so that we could use its cover to replace a missing one in our bathroom when we moved into our house (it would be silly to buy another fan if one of our bathroom fans breaks). There is the wireless laserprinter that hasn’t been used in a year (it still works perfectly well – someone must have a use for it!). There are the computer desktop speakers that haven’t been needed since I switched to a laptop (I have no plans to buy any more desktop computers, and all laptops have built-in speakers, but in theory it could be useful for something).
My wife does not have this problem. If we don’t have a clear reason why we need to keep something around, she is more than ready to get rid of it. Everything should have its place, and if it isn’t needed, it’s place is not inside our house. The items that remain are the ones that are either out of sight (like the 16 years of receipts I have been keeping since college in the attic crawlspace – I’m convinced they will be great source material for someone’s Ph.D. thesis in 50 years) or well contained (speakers sit in a box on the shelf).
We still have periodic debates over the need for keeping that printer. Even I have to admit that the fact we still haven’t found a taker for it does not bode well.
Then, on Friday, I received the following text message from my wife:
Food processor just went up in smoke for no apparent reason
Our cuisinart must have had some sort of internal short and died in the middle of her cooking.
To understand why this text was so exciting, you need to jump back a year and a half to when we bought this food processor. We received a nice 14″ cuisinart when we got married, and after 13 years the bowl broke. At the time, I looked into just purchasing a replacement bowl, but I discovered that it was going to cost about 75% of the cost of buying a brand-new food processor. Even though our motor still worked, it was old, so I opted for buying a whole new unit.
This then led to the inevitable discussion of what to do with the old motor. We had a brand new cuisinart, but the packrat in me had a hard time just throwing the old one away. It still worked, even though it no longer had a functional bowl.
It lived in the basement for a few months, and then my wife uncovered it again and asked why we still needed to keep it around. After some soul searching, I decided that if we put it out with the trash but placed it next to the garbage barrel, surely some junk collector would come along and grab it. They would find a way to make it useful rather than sending it to the landfill.
As it so happened, trash collection was a rainy day, so I insisted we wait a week to put it out. It ended up getting stuck on a shelf in the basement and ignored…
…until now. When my wife’s text message about the broken food processor came in, I called her and asked her to check in the basement to see if we still had the old one. Sure enough, it was still there on the shelf. She plugged it in, and it worked!
So thankfully, I won’t have to go buy another new food processor this weekend.
Clearly, my packrat tendencies are worthwhile. It’s worth keeping all that
junk useful stuff. I’m sure we’ll eventually need that bathroom fan.
Does anyone need a wireless laserprinter? It works great!