Originally created 05/05/02

Home is just another place to keep our junk



What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to so much more.

- Seneca

Sometimes, I think, I don't live in a house. I live in a storage unit with a kitchen and dining area.

It's not my fault. I blame old age.

When you were young, you eventually (or in my case, quickly) broke your toys, wrecked your bike and outgrew your clothes.

In adulthood, we've learned to take care of everything, so it is slow to wear out. And our growth has reached an equilibrium that finds suits, shirts and shoes (particularly shoes) lasting for years.

So where do we put it?

Attics and basements and closets and guest rooms and garages and back-yard sheds.

We're like modern-day pharaohs stocking up on useful items, not for the afterlife, but for next month.

We are a three-day yard sale waiting to happen.

Only it never does.

And if it did, who would buy it?

How many screwdrivers does a homeowner need? How many hammers? How many boxes of old phone cords and outdated computer parts? What about an unopened box of big floppy disks?

I am a man who doesn't worry about burglars. They would quickly leave from boredom.

There's little market for plastic Easter eggs and stuffed bunnies and a half-dozen baskets with fake cellophane grass.

Who would want enough Christmas ornaments to decorate a small forest?

Or old books and magazines? How can you throw out a 1995 issue of Consumer Reports? Surely, I think, I might one day want to know something within it.

I have every tie I ever owned.

I have socks, not threadbare enough for the rag drawer, but no longer elastic enough to stay up over my ankles through the workday.

I have souvenir T-shirts from 1970s vacations.

I have dozens of coffee mugs, their commemorative or commercial messages long since faded by the dishwasher's wear.

I have all this stuff, uncountable, immeasurable and practically uninsurable. And I have no reason why.

One man treasure, I guess, is another man's junk.

And junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.