When I moved from an apartment to my first real house in 1977, I felt that for the first time in my life, I had enough storage space for all of my shit. Unfortunately, I failed to realize a basic fact of life: shit expands to fill the available space, and then it overflows.
The move to our second house in 2001 required FIVE MOVING VANS, plus about 70 trips in our own minivan, plus the disposal or recycling of about 50 CUBIC YARDS of crap, junk and trash.
- Shit is stuff with value that is mostly sentimental.
- Crap is stuff that can be eliminated with little debate or tears.
- Junk can be eliminated with no debate or tears.
- A collection is a bunch of junk which can be classified and displayed.
- Trash should have been thrown out, not stored for later debate.
- Garbage usually is disposed of promptly because it starts to stink.
- A husband's shit may be considered junk by a wife.
Now that summer has started, it's time for spring cleaning.
We have a bunch of bags that were supposed to go to Goodwill by the end of 2012. I hope they get there this year. We also have a six-month accumulation of deposit bottle that should be stuffed into the car, transported, and fed into recycling machines. There are also boxes of stuff, and furniture, that didn't sell at a recent tag sale, or with Craigslist ads.
I'm faced with a major decision.
I have a growing stack of early versions of my books which were marked up for corrections. I don't want anyone to read them, so I can't sell them or give them away. I can't throw them away, because destroying books is one of the few (or maybe the only) sin that I recognize.
Sometimes, when overcome with egomania, I have a vision that some future literary critic will analyze the stash and proclaim to the world, that "AHA! -- in version 3.68, Marcus changed a comma to a semicolon in the last sentence on page 254."
I realize that there is little likelihood that this will happen. But just in case, I'll keep the books. Besides, retention is better than sinning.
The next time I move, I want to go horizontal, feet first, in a black zipper bag, with a tag on a toe. I'll let the next generation decide what is valuable shit and what is mere crap or junk.