Empty The Cabinets

Rick Alexander


While cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner, Lisa finally made good on her threat to toss the food containers that fell out every time she opened the cabinet . Nothing wrong with them, there’s just too damn many!


Many of us grew up with our parents and grandparents chiding us about throwing anything away, if there was a snowball’s chance that we’d ever use it again. This attitude originated from the era of the 1930s and “The Great Depression” when some families lost everything. Also, back in the day, most things were engineered to not be disposable, unlike today. When did you last take your shoes to the shoe repair man or when you last heard the term “TV Repairman”?


This mentality has inspired generations of hoarders. I think a big part of the problem is that many things look too good to throw away, even long after their usefulness is spent. It is hard for me to toss out a watch that is broken, even if it can’t be repaired and does not have sentimental or monetary value. I simply just can’t bring myself to throw a watch in the garbage. Electronic goods tend to look too good to throw away as well, even when they don’t work or the technology is outmoded. The fact that they now have to be recycled makes throwing the old CD player in a closet an even easier option. Sometimes the amount of money you spent on something makes it hard to throw it away. When we first were married, Lisa and I bought a VHS camcorder for like $1000. We haven’t used it in years, but tough to toss something you paid a grand for.


Truth is, most of us have too much stuff and it impairs our lives. Unless we fashion ourselves gourmets, most of us could toss seventy percent of the junk in our kitchens. One lesson I have learned is that having too many things that we don’t need obscures from sight valuable items we really would and could take advantage of, if we could only just find them or dig them out.


When Lisa and I bought our first house, we fell into the trap of “just toss in the basement” when we didn’t know what to do with an item. Bad move! It took us two weeks to move and one of those weeks was dedicated solely to cleaning out the basement! We moved to a house that was three times larger and have lived there for over 17 years, but I still think we have less now than we had in the old house.


Might be a good time, before the man in the red suit arrives or better yet, before he does his shopping, to rid the junk from your cabinets and your life. When you toss the crap, you may begin to see how rich you really are.

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