We have accumulated a lot of stuff. This is a first world problem and I want to say right away that we are blessed beyond measure and I am so grateful for our life. It’s just that, over the years, our blessed life has generated an abundance of things.
Some of this accumulation is due to the strange course of real estate sales and purchases in the last 5 years or so. At the beginning of this time period, we owned a 5500 square foot home with three car garage in Denver and a ski condo in Copper Mountain. When we decided to move our son to the mountains to ski full time, we sold the ski condo and bought our 3200 square foot mountain home. We sold the condo fully furnished and took only our personal stuff: soap, shampoo, hair dryer, etc. and linens/pillows/blankets/towels. Since my husband and I were commuting to Denver, we weren’t sure whether to keep the Denver house or downsize, so we furnished our mountain home and bought stuff for it. About a year later, we sold the big house and had to figure out what to do with all the stuff in that house. Everything. Furniture, TV’s, electronics, personal items, tools, cleaning supplies, you name it. We already had a mostly furnished, well-stocked smaller home in the mountains, so this was a challenge.
Eventually, we rented an apartment in Denver as our home base down there, so some of the stuff found a home. The rest, we pretty much crammed into our mountain house. And it’s okay for the most part. The most abundant items I’ve been working my way through over the years are cleaning supplies and personal items like lotion, soap, shampoo, hair dryers, hair products and medicine. And towels. For some reason, we have a whole lotta towels. Cabinets full of them in the laundry room. Some are well-used and appropriate for dog washes, but the rest …. they are perfectly good. Do you know how long it takes to use up towel reserves? Neither do I. I’m still working on it.
I am trying my best to use up the excess stuff. I celebrate each time I push the pump on a lotion bottle and it spurts the last glob onto my hand. Praise Be! Another bottle down, 999 to go. Recycle bin time! I really don’t want to throw things away if they are still perfectly good. That bottle of aspirin looks just fine to me. So what if it “expired” four years ago? “When I was a kid, things like aspirin never expired,” I exclaim with righteous indignation as I tap out a few to try to mollify my migraine.
We are working our way through the boxes of Band Aids that now hold only the weird sizes that are no good for any normal person’s cuts and scrapes. When one of us is injured, we cobble together a few of them and throw some medical tape on for good measure and I gleefully glance into the box and think, only five more to go — woo hoo!!!
Sometimes I do recognize that this strange obsession of using up stuff has gone a little too far. My son is 17. I still have a few partial bottles of Children’s Tylenol in the cabinet. They expired a very long time ago. In a pinch, though, won’t a good swig of the stuff have some effect on a grown-up headache? (Yes, Mom, I know that this is not good logic and I will dispose of the bottles soon.)
The other day I noticed that I have a remarkable supply of eye creams. Over the years, those sets of skin care regimens I purchased always came with eye cream. Despite my best intentions, I don’t ever use it. It just seems like one more thing that I don’t really have to do, so why bother. (And please no remarks on how my crow’s feet are evidence enough that I never use eye cream ….) The important question is: what am I going to do with them? I paid a lot of money for those special, magical potions. So, I Googled “Can I use eye cream as a facial moisturizer?” thinking that no one would be so gauche as to actually smear the costly stuff on foreheads and cheeks. Fortunately, everyone has already thought of everything and put helpful tips on the Internet and I got thousands of search results. Some said no way, that eye cream would either be ineffective or actually harmful (!) to other skin areas. Others said, sure, go for it. I had my answer.
Just as soon as I use up the remaining bottles of face cream (thank God they don’t have expiration dates … wait a minute, they just might … whatever) I am lining up those bottles of eye cream and using them on my face. So there. By the year 2020 I just may have used it all up. Yay!