Need to clear out clutter? Consider this your reminder to clear your schedule on the first Saturday of each November.
Many of us are being slowly buried under stuff that doesn’t work or we don’t need because it has been replaced by something new – desktop computers, laptops, old hard drives, cell phones, landline phones and TVs with all their accompanying cords. There are so many cords, scattered all over the house, that they remind me of kudzu vines snaking over everything. Then there are the financial files, boxes of stuff kept far past the necessary seven years, and broken small appliances like dustbusters, toaster ovens, and even air conditioners.
It just keeps accumulating until Hearst Elementary School, near the intersection of Tilden and 37th Streets, holds its annual e-cycle and swap event. Perhaps you missed the latest one, but I didn’t. It was held last Saturday, November 1st. I spent the previous Thursday and Friday nights in a frenzy, running up and down stairs from the attic to the basement boxing, bagging and stacking the detritus that accumulates in our throw-away culture. Except, this stuff is not so easy to throw away. We have to do it the right way – batteries go here, metals there, hard drives must be crushed, documents must be shredded.
I had known for a few years that Hearst had this e-cycle day, but it never seemed to be at a convenient time. I realize now that it wasn’t true. I just had not reached my tipping point. When I did, I felt like I was slowly being drowned by stuff we were housing but not using. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but maybe the house was slowly sinking under its weight. So when my ears caught the announcement about the Hearst event at the October ANC meeting, and I was bound and determined to get myself in gear for this one.
By Saturday at 9 a.m., the car was loaded up, packed to the gills. I drove and parked right across from Hearst. Hearst dads Ben Pershing and Collin Harris attacked the carload of stuff and had it emptied and distributed to the right locations within ten minutes of my arrival.
There was a place for the electronics and appliances. I saw them break open our two consoles and then crush the hard drives, at a cost of $10 each.
Dumping the old TV cost $20. Then there was the paper shredding truck which had a small live stream screen where you could watch the paper being chewed – so satisfying.
I also dumped off some out-grown shin guards and roller blading padding for the sports equipment swap. If I’d had some children’s books, I could have given them away, as well.
I ran into David Dickinson, who is the head of Hearst’s SIT (Site Improvement Team) and LSAT (Local School Advisory Team) and Liz Stuart, the PTA President. I thanked them for pulling this event together. I drove home in my empty car feeling so much lighter.
I can’t wait for next year’s e-cycle. This time I am going to start ransacking the house much earlier, and I am giving you lots of warning that you can do the same. Put it on your calendar – the first Saturday in November, 2015.