Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sort… Box… Haul… Shred…

We are both orphans now — for a bit over a year. Seriously grown-up orphans, but orphans nonetheless.

I have learned that whether the death of a loved one is sudden and dramatic, or is the result of a long, slow, decline, it still takes you by surprise. And it leaves a hole in your heart that is never really filled.

These losses taught me something else as well. When a loved one dies, you will likely be left with a lot more than memories. There will be stuff, lots of it, to be dealt with and moved out very quickly. 

Unless you have a heart of stone and the willpower to call a company like 1-800-GotJunk? and pay to have them haul it away, it becomes your job to sort through the belongings and decide what to keep and what to donate. And, surprise, you may find some of your old, forgotten stuff in the mix, finally returned to its rightful owner.

These experiences can be overwhelming. They certainly put the fear into my husband and me. When you live in the same place for decades, stuff accumulates. And now we found ourselves with even more stuff.

How could anyone possibly discover our treasures amongst all this trash if something were to happen to us tomorrow? We wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone, let alone on our busy kids.

We started picking away — donating old books, recycling magazines, not renewing subscriptions, being more careful about making new purchases. But what we needed was an incentive to make a big dent in our accumulated detritus.

It came in the form of an invitation to participate in a Community Shredding Event, an opportunity to dispose of old documents securely by having them shredded in a mobile shredder right before your eyes. Usually there is a nominal fee or a request for a donation like canned goods or school supplies. In this case the fee is $10 a box, and HomeHaven, a local not for profit, will reap the benefit of anything beyond the cost of hiring the professional shredding service for the morning. [Google “Community Shredding Event” and your state to discover an event near you.]

We have been working on this project for days. The result? Seven bankers’ boxes like this one — full of papers, each weighing at least 30 pounds — as well as a recycling bin full of more stuff not requiring shredding! Kids — don’t let this happen to you! 

As Shred Day (today) drew near, things seemed to be working against us. We were suddenly carless. We woke to pounding rain followed by a threatening sky. But we were determined to get those boxes outta here. With the event about .5 miles away, we decided to put the boxes on dollies and roll them over.

Bundled up. Ready to roll.

We made it, and it feels good! There will be no stopping our great De-Cluttering of 2015!

All seven boxes dumped into one bin, ready for destruction.
Check back for updates and some useful links for responsible disposal of more unwanted stuff. 

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