The Purge: Orderliness! (2017)

Confessions of a recovering accidental hoarder.
The amount of pointless clutter that has accumulated in our house is astounding. It is embarrassing and “first-world problem-y,” yes…but nevertheless astounding. You millennials and organized people wouldn’t understand. Take The Kitchen Drawer, for example—the biggest drawer that is also the most accessible and the one that should be filled with only the most useful items.

It most certainly is not. At least not in my house.

Instead, it’s filled with worn-out wallets, Legos, dead flashlights, markers, hair ties, unsharpened pencils, wood glue, terrible kid-scissors that don’t cut anything, thumb drives, receipts, and all sorts of Allen wrenches. There are strange batteries in there as well, but not normal “AA”-size batteries. No, these are like the Chechnyan “Й Й”-size batteries or whatever, the ones that don’t fit into anything except hearing aids. There are packets of Chick-fil-A Polynesian Sauce, but also critical financial documents that should probably be in a safe. There are lots of birthday candles too. And screwdrivers, yarn, headphones, expired coupons, and a roll of weird tape that is never Scotch tape—because there is never Scotch tape around when you need it. (Plenty of thread-seal plumbing tape nobody needs, though!) There are Crayons, ancient checkbooks, football cards, and $26 in nickels. Also random keys. So many keys! Keys to everything, from several decades/vehicles/residences ago. When you have keys to everything, it’s been said, you really have keys to nothing.

Our garage, though. Hoooo boy. It was the Kitchen Drawer times a billion—some real next-level disarray, that. It was a few cubic tons of just straight up neglect—the end result of two moves in eight months with three kids in tow, a house-remodel, and an “LOL whoops!” pregnancy at panicky points in between. It was the end result of shameful, fatigue-induced laziness. It was just…stuff…piling up, I guess. Because we let it.

We had too much stuff, frankly. Useless stuff. Meaningless stuff. Nobody needs four Big Wheel Racers or six crusty old golf bags or a broken 450-pound fireplace mantle that didn’t sell on Craigslist, among other stupid things in the vast heaps of worthless rubble spread throughout the garage.

NO MORE, I whispered defiantly into a pile of old-timey dumbbells sitting atop an even bigger pile of couch cushions belonging to a couch we no longer have. This ends now!

I rented a dumpster and began the Great Purge of Aught-17. Over the course of the next six days, what couldn’t in good conscience go to Goodwill went into the dumpster. Everything. Everything in the figurative and literal Kitchen Drawers of our lives that wasn’t currently serving a very defined purpose was expunged with great prejudice, and it was glorious! It really was. Nothing good typically goes down in the 3,000,000% humidity of July. Except this. This was magnificent.

Life-changing, really. Perhaps the baby we’re having next week will top it, but I am skeptical.

Of course, there may be a time and a place to discuss the culture of consumption that put me in this mess to begin with—my tendency to buy way more dumb crap than we need—but that time is not now. No sir, I’m too high on my newfound minimalism! And also cement floor degreaser fumes!

The point? Purging useless, meaningless stuff from the house now tops power-washing in the hierarchy of good #DadChores; it is an intoxicating, addictive endeavor that I recommend highly.