Saturday, October 20, 2007

Purge & Profit

My husband has many interests. He's a fascinating, clever person actually. And he's certainly not perfect. In fact, he has one crazy obsession. Collecting things.

I knew this from our initial meeting when he admitted as much. And it became all too apparent from my first visit to his large yet stacked-to-the-ceilings-with-stuff apartment in Ukrainian Village. Lots of the things he loves, or merely takes a passing interest in, he has to own.

And so when we moved in together, his stuff came with him. Music, movies, toys of his childhood and lots of other random curiosities. The skull of some long-dead bovine. A bottle of ancient "Nasal Oil." More Donald Duck toys than you've ever seen in one place, ever (probably even at Disney!).

And while I had great visions of containing his things in select areas of our home, it's never quite worked out that way. From the beginning, they've spilled beyond the borders of their confinement and slowly but purposefully crept into virtually every room in our home. You cannot do a 180-degree turn anyplace without seeing a box of comic books, a stack of DVD's or some other pile of Craze's junk.

What at first I found fascinating, now periodically enrages me. I would like so much to have more of a normal life and one not filled with these piles of incongruous and frustrating clutter as far as the eye can see. On probably more than a hundred occasions over the years I've made impassioned pleas for Craze to purge. Keep the stuff he really loves and ditch the stuff that's just collecting dust. He always hangs his head sorrowfully and agrees I'm right, but his words just evaporate in the air and are never converted into action. Until recently.

I've begun to see a tiny glimmer of hope. We did, in fact, have a garage sale last weekend. We got rid of a bunch of stuff--some mine, some his, some random stuff that had been dropped at our doorstep by family and friends over the years. And we made over $500. This excited Craze, the idea that overlooked items could be converted into cash. That purging could bring more rewards than just getting your wife off your back. That letting go of stuff could make a buck.

What went out of our garage door with strangers was just the tip of the iceberg. But, I've seen the glimmer in his eye. The wheels are definitely turning. And you can't imagine how much it excites me.

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