Lifestyle & Culture


June 7, 2021



By Andrea Rouda
HOW DID I get so much stuff? I’m not rich, yet I have so much stuff. It’s stuff I don’t use or want and it’s weighing me down. I have to dust it. And move it around. Books, furniture, rugs, tables, lamps, chairs, so many that the ones I can’t use are piled high in the basement. The garage handles the overflow. I hate all the stuff. I want it gone. In fact, I want it gone before my death so my son doesn’t curse me out posthumously like many kids do when their parents die. I heard enough of that when I owned a second-hand shop and believe me, it wasn’t pretty.

I have three fine leather belts in my closet, and I never wear a belt. I’m not sure how they got there. And the shoes! Imelda Marcos I’m not, but since I pretty much wear either my plastic Crocs or the same pair of boots every day, and sneakers at the gym, who are those other 50 pairs for? And what about the ceramic birdbath and the 40-odd terracotta pots? Why do we have four rakes? How did we get six snow shovels?

One solution would be to burn my house down and start fresh. That sounds glorious, especially the part where all of my husband’s boxes and boxes from grade school, full of love letters and blue ribbons and penmanship exercises, would go up in flames. But arson is against the law, something about insurance fraud. Too bad we don’t live in a flood zone.

So we had a yard sale last fall and maybe 20 people came. I sold next to nothing. Mainers are thrifty. How thrifty? I had something marked two bucks and a guy offered me one dollar and I said no and he walked away. That’s how thrifty. And besides, they all have their own stuff.

Good news! Our landscape guy just came by to drop off some plants for the yard (more stuff), and I was able to give him the bird bath. He said his wife has been wanting one. It cost $80 originally, but I said he should just take it as a gift. We quibbled, but I persisted. I feel lighter already.


—Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

2 thoughts on “Decluttering

  1. Carol says:

    I have been working on this for a couple of years… it’s been easier to get rid of clothes (yes I now have no belts left ) since this past year there has been nowhere to go.. but my husband’s domain, garage and basement is beyond my intervention! Still working on VCR tapes (no one wants them) and my kids Fisher Price buildings

  2. Patricia Rogers says:

    Your timing for this article was perfect, Andrea. Our son was here this week for the first time in more than a year, thanks to Covid. When he left at 6 this am, our trash pickup looked a lot like your picture. Today is trash day, and there IS a God because when I looked out a few minutes ago, the “antique,” literally falling apart wicker sofa, its unwashed cushion that neighborhood kitties enjoyed more than we did and the chair that broke when a 350-pound acquaintance sat on it were GONE, along with the dozens of bags of papers and junk that Mark helped us sort and toss. It can’t have been much fun for him, but the weight of having the unused and unusable taking up space is awful, so I hope a zillion readers enjoy your article as much as we did!

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