Friday, March 4, 2016

In which Primo is talking about bringing boxes of Sly and Doris' junk home with him because he cannot bear to throw it away and I am shuddering at the idea of even more junk in my house

You know one of my biggest dislikes about Sly and Doris' house was that it was full of junk.

You know one of my biggest dislikes about Primo's and my house is that it is full of junk.

It is not full of my junk. I do not accumulate. I shed. I want to travel light. I don't want to have a lot of stuff.

Primo, on the other hand, is convinced that someday, we will need two boxes of souvenir glasses from the microbrewery tour.

Yes, he has been on that tour many times since he moved here and he takes out of town friends and keeps their souvenir glasses.

Those glasses, my friends, have resided in the basement, along with his older stepdaughter's college tuition receipts (she is in her mid 30s, married, with two children, and long graduated from college), his phone bills from 1997, his employee manual from when he worked at Apple in 1992 (when the stock was worth nothing), and Halloween masks he used in college.

I did convince him to get rid of his college textbooks before we moved into the house by using the arguments that

1. There were poor students in Africa who need calculus, physics, and chemistry textbooks and
2. Nothing has changed in calculus 101, physics 101, or chemistry 101 and if he really had to look something up, he could look it up online.

But Primo is a collector. He likes having stuff. His office is getting smaller and smaller because he keeps stacking up more stuff on the floor and against the walls.

He had finally - finally, after seven years in this house - pulled some boxes from the basement into the finished area of the basement so he could sort through them. This was something he had promised to do before we even moved into the house, but it is a promise he had not kept, which I think makes him perfect to be a politician because frankly I think most politicians are scummy liars (but I really don't want Primo to lie down with those dogs and get those fleas).

Anyhow, he was about to go through the boxes and start getting rid of stuff.

That was the weekend that Sly fell on Doris and broke her knees.

The boxes have not been touched.

(I have already gotten rid of a bunch of stuff and I did it without his permission, but I think I am on solid ground to throw away junk mail and coupons from before the turn of the century.)

So Primo is at Sly and Doris' cleaning out the last of the junk and he has found more boxes of papers he did not know about - his dad was thinking about applying for a grant to study African American perspectives on literary criticism or something like that (Sly's PhD was on secondary English poets of the 19th century) and his mom had all of Nancy's medical records and the correspondence with the docs and hospitals and authorities and the little I saw of that was truly heartbreaking.

And there are a ton of family photos.

Primo has a small album of family photos that is somewhere at the bottom of a drawer somewhere. He showed them to me once. They are not something he really treasures.

The family photos are in boxes, loose. Not organized, not in albums, not labeled.

There is piano sheet music and choral music.

Primo does not want to throw any of this stuff away.

I do not want any of it.

How do I keep that stuff out of our house?


  1. For every item that enters, two must go out. I don't know if he would ever agree to that, but I am with you on clutter and just "stuff" in general.

  2. Storage Locker.

    1. You do realize you suggested that I spend money to keep things I do not want to own.

  3. Portable hand-held scanner. Scan everything onto a memory chp, download to his computer. I am assuming it is the content he doesn't want to distroy. I am fighting this battle. If it is worth keeping, it's worth scanning. Sort the files into hard drive folders. They don't draw bugs, are not a fire hazard, and no one has to deal with them when you are gone. You want to leave a legacy? Leave one where you are remembered with love and respect, not annoyance that now they have to deal with your litter. I mean this with nothing but consideration for you and Primo. Learn from the experience you are now forced to deal with and do not pass it on.

  4. Goldie, on some level Primo is a horder - apparently a trait he inherited!

    Don't know what to suggest. Mitchell is finally cleaning out our 12 x 12 shed, which has been filled to overflowing for 16 years - since we moved here. The scanner idea is great!

    1. I will miss Primo when he is dead, but man am I looking forward to throwing away all the crap.

  5. I agree with Anon above - you can get a small scanner fairly cheaply. Also, for the stuff, take a digital photo of it then throw out the actual thing. My sister is OCD and was still hanging on to ALL of her 12 year old kids toys. From when he was born. We were able to talk her into keeping three of her favorites, then taking photos of the rest and donating them. And all the photos went onto an external hard drive...


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