A Colon Cleansing for the House. And Life

Posted August 7, 2012 by jimhigley

My mission to purge all the unnecessary junk in my life continues. Today’s victory can be found in these four plastic boxes. 

Life victories aren’t always about receiving.

Sometimes, they’re about tossing out.

And, if you could look in today’s garbage – piled in my backyard alley – you’d find a small victory. At least for me.

Four. Empty. Plastic. Slide-under-the-bed storage boxes.

I feel like a new man.

I’m a saver. An organizer. I like boxes. I like putting things neatly away in containers. I don’t necessarily save everything. But I save a lot of stuff. And I save neatly.

Clothes once worn by my older son that I’m sure my younger son will someday wear. Holiday decorations. Party decorations. Kids’ artwork. Kitchen utensils that are used once every 31 months. Photos. Memories from trips. Picnic supplies. Remnants of fabric for furniture. Glue guns. Glue sticks. Winter gear. Scuba gear.

And I even have boxes that hold nothing more than other, empty boxes.

But I’ve been on a mission the last few weeks. It’s Spring Cleaning in the Summer. It’s a purging party. I’ve already rid myself of a storage unit full of multiple boxes. But this week I’m working on my house.

Which leads me to my alley victory.

When I first purchased these four slide-under-the-bed storage boxes, I thought I had discovered gold. An invention that allowed me to store more things in a location that – up until that point – had been wasted space. What a spectacular concept! And I’ve put these boxes to good use for many years. They’ve been home to tattered blankets. Sleeping bags. Random parts to my bicycles. Oversized school projects that I didn’t know what else to do with. And every pair of running shoes that weren’t good enough to run in. But still good enough to wear. The current count is six pairs.

And the sad truth is that those boxes have done nothing more than sit quietly, under the beds. Collecting dust.

But I’m now on a mission. Think of it as a colon cleansing and detox for the house. And life.

Partly inspired by my good friend, Andrew Mellen, who’s known as The Most Organized Man in America, I’m feeling motivated (pressured?) to get my act together. Andrew checks in with me every so often offering his mantra of “More Love, Less Stuff!” which is really his nice way of telling me an at-risk hoarder.

So, that’s a long way of telling you why I’m proud of today’s trash.

I’ve been debating whether of not I could really rid myself of these boxes for several days. What if I need them next month? What if the kids need them when they are married? With kids? In ten years?

But the reality is I have nothing to put in them anymore. For once.

And with a little luck – and some more phone calls from Andrew – I never will.

So that’s my victory for the day. And I think I’ll save this one. As a memory in my head.

AFTERWARD: And in case you’re thinking I’m being a global footprint pig by just throwing these out, fear not. The way my neighborhood works is this: Place reusable items in your alley on trash pick-up day. An hour or so before the refuse trucks arrive, there’s a stream of folks in pick-up trucks who drive by to grab your treasures. It works like a charm. I’m happy to report that those four boxes are heading to their new home in the back of a late model Chevy pick-up. And – to help the new owners with some of their future needs – I’ve placed a note with Andrew’s phone number inside each box. Good luck to them! 



  • AndrewMellen

    As the aforementioned Most Organized Man in America, I applaud Jim’s tenacity and commitment. And delighted that a few more folks in Chicagoland are enjoying some under-the-bed storage which might mean there’s less stuff on their family room floor right now. We’ll take progress wherever we can find it!

    Keep up the good work!!!