Getting Rid of Stuff

January 12, 2024 at 11:36 a.m. Roger Urbaniak,

Roger Urbaniak is a longtime contributor to Northwest Prime Time


I have lived in my present home nearly 50 years...plenty of time to accumulate things. Many of these items continue to be useful, some still actively treasured.

Many other inspired collectables have simply accumulated dust, a lot of dust. They also take up a lot space that could be used for other stuff, stuff that would be a better fit with the hobbies and lifestyle that I enjoy today.

There are times when moments of practicality kick in and a small amount of space gets cleared out. Usually, these common-sense moments are caused by the frustration of simply having too much stuff. Breaking something while trying to get to the circuit breaker box, taking several precious minutes to untangle fishing poles to reach the one that I really want to use for today’s outing, or restacking things stored under the stairs -- all combine to create an overwhelming urge to purge. Desperation intensifies as I find myself seeking some particular item and then finally remembering it being in another location created to allow me to store even more stuff.

When an inspired moment arrives and I finally take a hard look at fishing poles that have not been used for 25 years ( I own roughly twenty), goose decoys that have never been used, camping gear with a heavy coating of dust, or even an ice cream maker last used 30 years ago, a curious thought process begins to direct my actions. At first, I start out being practical and consider tax benefits of donating these surplus treasures to charity. This would create savings and provide more funds for purchasing more stuff. Disposing of larger pieces would free up precious space that could be used for extra storage. It all seems to make sense.

My mind then goes to a plan B and I wonder, “What if an opportunity came up tomorrow where I could really make use of this treasure again?" Each item is also tied to its own story, precious memories of its use during fun adventures. My mind then begins to analyze the situation. If I parted with it now, would I be destined to a life of lethargy because I no longer had this equipment? Would friends not call because they knew I no longer had a critical piece that could be useful in an outing together? Depression could even set in as I ponder my pitiful state!

Faced with the gloomy downside of what might happen if I got rid of these treasures too soon, I carefully close the door to the fishing equipment area and put items considered for donation back under the stairs where they can surely be accessed with only a moment’s notice -- after I clear out a path to reach them, of course.

Next, I check the internet for announcements of estate sales where I might find more things to widen my opportunities to enjoy life. Carefully screening those estate sales is necessary, however, as many people simply have collected the wrong stuff. When I come upon an estate sale where the person obviously had good taste -- similar to mine, of course -- Linda and I head out the door to see what treasures we might find.

Should we find something irresistible, we intend to somehow make room for it, even if we need to acquire another storage area.

If we find something really great, we may decide to host a homemade ice cream making party. Finding really good stuff should be celebrated.

Roger Urbaniak writes about the Great Outdoors and other topics from his home on Mercer Island. “Rogers Outdoor Channel” is the place to learn about the adventures of Northwest Outdoor Enthusiast Roger Urbaniak along with his lovely wife Linda and trusty pooch Sparky. Visit for more information or email Roger at 
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