Urge to Purge

Up for consideration is the great American urge to purge. The greatest past-time activity of adults with a few extra minutes and specific, idealistic thoughts about how things should be. Is this a new thing? Or, can we just define “new” as the latest iteration of already existing behaviors and notions? Maybe “Nothing new under the sun” is the answer, idiomatically accredited to the book of Ecclesiastes.

As assumed, it isn’t every one. Some sit in their boats with thankful hands free in the air. “Whatever is, is, and there’s no reason to fret about it”, according to reasoning in their boats not-a-rockin’. Others, anticipating purge-atory word-wobbling, white knuckle the sides of the very boats in which they sit … spouting thesis and assumptions. Two very different ways. Should be easier to live the former, in my opinion, but I’m seeing the latter more and more.

The urge to purge. Spouting about things by creating mountainous geysers of presuppositions upon molehills of misinformation. This is what is being done. Over and over ….. and over. I see it in Facebook strings, other social media sites, national media, print, local chatter, and online articles. Some responsible journalism sprinkled in, to be sure, but much ado about nothing otherwise.

Today’s purge wasn’t going to be such, however. Stepping aside and allowing the words of should be to pass me by, I planned a different kind for myself – one requiring physical effort and mental memory cleansing:


Two ladies came quickly at the precise time scheduled, 15-foot cargo trailer in tow. First stop? A two car storage garage where years of not-so-stackable, leaning cardboard boxes of all shapes bend into corners and crevasses. The near final resting place of my grandparents’ china patterns, old records, tools, rusty advertising signs, and Tupperware bins full of cards, comics, and collectibles. Three adults in a garage, moving stuff – not seen in years – into a trailer … along with little memories, one at a time. Necessary purging. Absolutely awesome.

Contractually, the two nice ladies helping me aren’t finished. We are about 50% done with the project (the house stuff remains and storage has some items yet to be removed). They are organizers who sell clean-out inventory and split proceeds 50/50 with their clients. I love the plan, mainly because the idea of yard-saleing all the porcelain, pipes, perfume, pottery, pillows, pens, and packrattery defies everything I believe about what to do with my spare time.

One emotional hang-up still to be resolved is my mom’s jewelry box. It sits silently on a table and will remain there until I decide something … a something as of yet undefined. This is one of the stuffs unpurgable…and they are the should be’s in life: memories so deep and meaningful never to be purged. We have them collecting tiny, tucked-away particles in our brains, attics, closets, and storage garages.

This simple box was not to be my unpurgable today, but it ended up being so. I knew it was there among the leaning. I understood the risks inherent among the inherited boxes saved and stored. It opened my memories when I gently peeked the padded cream colored top and saw her faux beads, rings, earrings, necklaces, key ring full of keys, and all the shiny, glittery glam inside that really wasn’t her … but knowing her hands graced the very top of that box was enough memory for me. She was there with me. All the memories of my life with her before she died, in that moment. This moment I never need to have purged from my life as I stood in the midst of obsolete objects.

Old grills, tables, and vases melted moments into hours as we pushed forward. Their tow along creaked as bigger, heavier picture frames and boxes were pushed into place toward the back end, behind buckets and bins filled with trinkets, toys, and tawdry towels. In the top spaces where only skinny folks dare go, we swifted thin paper goods – posters, pretty pictures, pastelled prints – to lessen the burden of tomorrow’s haul.

Tomorrow will arrive with expectations just as today did. I hope to have this project done by the day’s end when my friends pull away – towing a trailer full of purged non-words away. Stuff taken for the enjoyment of others. I may see a financial return from the sales, well… I most likely will due to the area where I live. It’ll be nice to have some money in return, however, walking out of a garage today … and by extension tomorrow… knowing I had the urge to purge, is the better feel good feeling.

I’ll take tonight to think about mom’s jewelry box. Maybe jump over to Facebook and check out some opinions about this-and-thats. So many have purging to do these days. Taking into consideration all they have to say, I still contend my purge today is the better way to go.

One thought on “Urge to Purge

  1. Congrats on the purge! I’m of the mind that less stuff is better. Maybe you could save a couple of pieces of your mom’s jewelry, those that meant the most to you? Or could you repurpose her jewelry box into something you could use? Food for thought…


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