The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


May 2, 2014

Things are going to change ... soon

Point Blank column

Today I’m going to turn the corner, turn over a new leaf. It’s going to be a turning point in my life. I’m finally going to do something.

From now on, I’m not going to add a single thing to my possessions unless I throw something out. I mean it. I’m for real this time.

If I bring in something new through the front door, I’m going to get rid of something that I’ve probably owned for years and no longer use. I’m not going to have a garage sale; I’m going to give the stuff to the Salvation Army, the Goodwill people, or perhaps a church organization.

Not that anybody wants the stuff, or can use it. I just want to get rid of it, period.

I’ve never been this adamant before. The simple truth of the matter is that everything’s full, including my desk drawers that hardly open anymore.

And I have about 37,000 books that I bought for the purpose of increasing my knowledge and making myself a better person. I’m still reading but it doesn’t look as though I’ll ever finish all the tomes in my library.

I’m no longer going to hold on to flashlights that don’t work, tools that are broken, old coat hangers, old magazines, broken umbrellas with the metal supports hanging out, old sneakers, rusty lawnmower blades, empty cigar boxes, empty notebooks, old music cassettes, and socks that don’t match. I recently purchased a dozen pairs of socks, all black, so I don’t have to worry about trying to match them when I get up in the morning.

It isn’t just my socks, either.

I’ll bet I have more than 50 shirts in my closets. Some of them I grew out of years ago, or else they shrunk in the dark space where they hang.

And since I retired, I mostly wear sport shirts and jeans, anyway. I have a couple of pairs of khaki trousers for semi-formal occasions such as funerals and dental appointments.

Upstairs in the hall closets I have more than a dozen winter coats and about 20 sports jackets. Some of those high-dollar wool tweed professor’s jackets cost a fortune, but they are about two sizes too small now. I can’t throw them out, though. I could wear them again if I lost 20 pounds, which I’ve been planning to do for about 10 years now.

That may seem like a lot of coats and jackets to you but it isn’t if you’ve been using the same closets for 30 years and never threw a coat away.

A few months ago I needed a warm raincoat. The weather prediction was for rain possibly turning to snow, with temperatures ranging in the low thirties. One of my raincoats has two buttons missing and wasn’t warm enough; the other has a lining that zips in, but the zipper’s stuck and I couldn’t get it all the way out.

The long and the short of all this is that I guess I really envy neat people, those who get ahead in life and keep their garages and closets free of useless possessions.

They just don’t seem to treasure anything, those neat people. If they can’t use something over a two-year period, they just throw it away.

And they probably do all sorts of dumb stuff like putting things back where they belong.

As for me, my displeasure for my cluttered palace came to a head this past week when I tried to locate my prized wristwatches, all of which need batteries, and I couldn’t pinpoint them for all the chaos.

If I need a Phillips screwdriver, it’s easier to go out and buy a new one rather than trying to locate one of my three tool boxes.

When my wife asks me where a certain item is, I call my neighbor and ask him if he has seen it. Nine times out of ten he can tell me exactly where it’s hanging in the garage, or where I left it in the kitchen.

So, I guess you could say that I’ve just about had it. That’s why I’m clearing out my life, beginning today — or tomorrow at the very latest.


Top o’ the morning!

— Blankenship is a columnist for The Register-Herald.


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