Everything Must Go!

I’m feeling a huge urge to de-clutter.

I always get that urge late at night when I ought to be sleeping. I’ve already done away with the easy stuff, though. Now I look around and everything seems to have utility.

I’m sure not all of it does because there’s just so much of it. How could we really use all of this stuff? We could chuck 50-75% of it, I think, with no ill effects whatsoever.


There’s that lurking fear that I’ll get rid of something and then find a use for it. Take this clip-on desk lamp, for example.

Come to think of it, I probably don’t need that scrap of yarn. But Mardi Gras beads never lose their utility.

It’s not been plugged in for months. It’s not even been clipped to the desk for I don’t know how long. I don’t have a clear recollection of when it moved from the top edge of the shelf over the desk to lying on its side on the desktop.

Every day for the past two weeks, I’ve looked at that lamp and thought, “That’s something I’m sure I can give away.”

And then yesterday I got a book of easy astronomy-related experiments for my daughter’s science lessons, and what does one of them call for? A clip-on desk lamp.

Now I not only feel like I need to hold onto the desk lamp, but I wonder how many other things in my give-away box will shortly become integral to my children having a well-rounded education. If this desk lamp could mean the difference between my daughter becoming the first human on Mars and not going to Mars at all, then what future purpose might this wobbly desk chair hold? What career paths am I closing to my children if I finally get rid of the VCR? What consequences lie in store for our whole family if we pass along to someone else the old futon or the rusted card table with the torn vinyl top?

For now, however, it’s okay that these thoughts leave me paralyzed: I should really be in bed anyway.

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