Up until recently I had been blessed by my wife.  For several years now she has “allowed” me to have two rooms in our home to myself and I am not talking about the garage and the basement.  I’ve actually had two bedrooms all to myself to use as a computer room and a den.  I could do my gaming in one room and watch TV in the other, it was a beautiful thing.  Having two rooms like that enabled me to have all my stuff or junk as my wife refers to it spread out between both rooms.  But all good things must come to an end and so it was with my two room Utopia.

My wife’s biological clock was ticking and it sounded remarkably like Orc war party drums.  The question of where we would put a baby kept coming up in every conversation.  She didn’t like any of my ideas oddly enough.  Being cooperative in the effort, I volunteered to clear out the largest drawer in my dresser to make room for our new arrival.  She didn’t like that idea either.  Soon discussions veered toward me giving up one of my rooms.  Decisions were made, ideas were laid out and we soon had a plan; or rather she did.

I was to move into the largest of the two rooms and combine the den and computer room.  I got to work with the tape measure to plan how everything was going to fit in.  I was fairly certain that I could pull it off without having to sacrifice too much.  There was a chance that it might even be better for me in the long run because I’d have all my toys in one room.  To my complete and total surprise my wife signed off on me buying a new TV for the room in order to free up some space.  This was turning out to be a pretty sweet deal.

We set the plan in motion and arranged to take off the entire week after Christmas to work on combining the rooms.  I arranged for an electrician to come out and help me with relocating my Internet connection and my wife would paint the room I was vacating.  The first day came and I got up early that morning to get started.  The electricians showed up on time and got the work done a lot faster than I imagined.  It was starting to look like this would go like clock work.

In the middle of the first day, my family crisis began.  My brother who had been ill took a turn for the worse and we had to drop everything and rush across the state.  The two rooms in complete and total disarray sat untouched for the rest of the week.  When we got home on New Year’s Eve I was sick and in no condition to continue with the project.  Things again sat untouched for several days while I recovered.  Now a project that was to take a week to complete was going to take considerably longer; which didn’t turn out to be a bad thing.

Having to work on everything at night and on weekends certainly made the project drag on for longer than anticipated; but it yielded very unexpected results.  I decided to box most everything up to deal with when I could.  That would allow me to get the bulk of the move done without having to worry about little odds and ends laying around.  As it turns out, this was sheer genius on my part.

Over the years I have collected a lot of stuff.  I collect things; some things you’d understand, some things you wouldn’t.  Being a nerd I have my share of action figures, model starships, posters and various other nic-nacs.  One thing I collect that might seem a little odd is pens.  I have a thing for pens, especially if they are unusually cool looking.  I’ve got tons of pens just laying around that I don’t even use.  The one thing you can find in my house is something to write with.  I boxed all that stuff up to deal with later.

When the time came to start unpacking that stuff and find a place for it was when I was faced with a problem.  There wasn’t enough room for it all.  I had nearly every square inch of the walls taken up with posters, unopened action figures and sports memorabilia.  I just didn’t have the space to put everything and I’d have to start thinning it out.  You wouldn’t believe the crap I had collected over the years.  I had swag from nearly every training class or conference or convention I’ve ever gone to.  It was sort of overwhelming when I sat there and looked at it all.  Some of that stuff I forgot I even had.

So began the process of weeding out the stuff that I either didn’t need or didn’t want.  The didn’t want category was coming up short because if I didn’t want it to begin with I wouldn’t have gotten it.  The didn’t need pile, well that too was tricky.  I guess I am a pack rat and the thought of getting rid of things doesn’t make a lot of sense.  You never know when you might need something.  A big problem with that is that over time you forget what you have and where it even is.  So the purge began and I knew in order for everything to work, I was going to have to cut and cut deep.

I decided after my first pass through the first box yielded very little to do away with that at least two passes were necessary.  I then sorted things into different piles.  I had a definitely throw away pile, a keep pile and a Goodwill pile.  Trying to keep my sentimental attachment to certain items in check, I attempted to categorize things that I would use versus things I had no use for.  Believe it or not I resisted my pack rat urges and was able to go away with quite a bit of useless items.

There were a few items that I had a lot of trouble parting with.  One of them in particular was a flying toasters pen that I’ve had for some time.  For those of you not completely familiar with flying toasters I will explain.  Way back in the 90s, one of the most popular screen saver programs out there was one called After Dark.  One of it’s most popular selections was one that had little flying toasters floating across your screen.  For those of us that actually purchased a copy instead of pirating one from a friend, we got a hot pink, ball point flying toasters pen.  To this day I have never used that pen, but I still have it.

Some might say that I have an unhealthy attachment to things and they might be right.  I know people who are far worse than I am when it comes to keeping and collecting things.  When someone posed the question to me, “What would you take if you only had five minutes to leave your home,” I actually felt an anxiety attack coming on.  That’s way too difficult a concept for me to deal with.  What would I take?  Well it’s a given that I’d grab the cats, some important papers, a clean shirt and maybe my wife.  The rest I would need a U-Haul truck for and that is just sad; hence my dilemma of what to take with me.

Now don’t assume I am a hoarder or anything like that.  There aren’t piles of random stuff in all corners of my home or anything like that.  I will admit that I have a lot of stuff, but no where close to needing an intervention.  Between the action figures, computers, movies, comic books and other collectibles I have amassed a great deal of stuff during my tenure on this planet.  Having to consolidate the two rooms I had made that all the more obvious when I was tasked with putting it all in one place.

We’re now approaching the end of April 2011 and other than some stuff in the closet from the old computer room, I am now finished with the consolidation.  What started off to be a week long project has turned into months.  My wife and I both realize now that a week to accomplish that project wasn’t nearly enough and we grossly underestimated what was involved.  I will say that the painting of the other room has not happened yet but considering everything that needed to be done; we’re lucky.

Overall I am very pleased with the results.  This has made me realize just how much stuff I have and will go a long way to discourage me acquiring more stuff in the future.  The desire and the want is ever present, I just don’t have the room to cram another thing into that room.  As for our “new addition”, well we’re still working on that.  That is another project we underestimated what was involved.  I will say that the work involved is a lot more fun than the room consolidation.

I still find it interesting why my wife continues to call the contents of the room junk.  Having to correct her constantly has become a habit, but one that isn’t as annoying as it use to be.  It’s not junk, it’s collectibles I tell her.

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