It takes a critical eye to get rid of junk

By Grant McGee

An acquaintance of mine was tidying up his Clovis home recently. As I approached his house I wondered if he were having a garage sale. There was all this stuff in the driveway.

I don’t really know why folks hold on to stuff.
I was telling my mom I was writing about the things that clutter our homes.

“What do you mean when you say ‘things,’” she asked.
I mean the non-functional stuff we have around our homes just to have. Some of it because we enjoy it, some of it apparently to impress others.

One person’s stuff is another person’s things is another person’s junk. I think we all have some in varying degrees.
Books have been written on how to unclutter your life by getting rid of junk. I imagine they delve into the psychology of why we keep stuff and then they go into a methodology on how to get rid of the junk. I wish I had a book deal like that.
I have good reasons for jettisoning junk. One is I’ve moved around a lot and it got to be a drag hauling it all around. Another is each bit of junk seemed to have a memory attached to it, not all of them good memories. But for some reason I kept the stuff anyway.

Once I started getting rid of stuff it got easier and easier. I even bought a paper shredder at a yard sale to destroy old papers and photos. (I couldn’t bring myself to just toss them in the dumpster. I had considered a small, personal cleansing ceremony-thing involving burning the papers and pictures in a campfire but I never seemed to have time for that.)

One of the biggest hurdles was getting rid of much of my music collection. It took up a lot of space. For years I had tried to get rid of chunks of it but it felt like trying to get up the courage to cut off a finger or something.

Then it occurred to me there were albums/cassettes/CDs I was keeping just to possess them and there were others I had because I really liked them. I got rid of former.

I’ve talked with people who have lamented how their homes are cluttered with things. One of the more interesting sights I’ve seen are folks who’ll spend money on a monthly storage fee for a place to hold the stuff they don’t have room for in their homes.

I think, “Man, just get rid of it. Take it to the Lighthouse or Salvation Army Thrift Shop or have a yard sale.”

I have a relative who knows her home is cluttered with junk she wants to get rid of, but she can’t bring herself to do it.
“Go over it all with a critical eye, then start tossing. Have a yard sale,” I suggested. “If you end up tossing something you really wanted, it will come back to you in one form or another.”

I shared that with her over a year ago.
By her own admission she still has a junky house.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: