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Is it a sin to throw things away?

By Geniene P. (Contact)

Published September 22, 2008

    Why can’t my father throw things away?  Is it some old school sin like not finishing your dinner? He’s from that generation that survived the Depression, a WWII vet, came from immigrant stock – you know like your parents or grandparents.  Is it because he grew up in that era that he feels the need to keep every freaking thing since they had nothing growing up? Every magazine he gets in the mail (all 11 subscriptions!), every address label from the legions of charities begging for some part of his social security check (and shame on them for targeting people on that budget), every rubber band, closure to a bag of fruit, those dastardly plastic bags from every retailer, packaging from a box in the mail, the Sunday comics and the list could go on and on.  I’m sure there are those of you laughing because there is one in every family.  

    I moved into his house last year and began the clean up.  My dear deceased mother was probably elated somewhere out there to see someone finally throw the accumulation of stuff out.  Hmm, let’s see there were old, expandable window screens that fit the old windows (still in the basement) from 10 years ago, 6 radios (remember the kind we listened to police talk on the front porch), fans of various decades and sizes, suitcases from my parent’s honeymoon, cassette players and recorders, rusted tools, old canned goods in the cellar because “You never know when those crazy Ruskies might drop the bomb on us”, old garden chairs, holiday decorations, pieces of brooms for his garden, scraps of wood/metal/clothing because “You just don’t know when you might need something like that.”, I even found reams of the original wallpaper from this house built in the 40’s, and those bloody magazines, magazines, magazines.   Aaargh!  If anyone wants to lose weight – just take the ‘clean out an old house workout’ and the pounds disappear!  I can’t even tell you how much old chemical stuff is sitting around, waiting to be taken to the Green Team’s October 11th Household Hazardous Waste Collection.  I was so excited to learn of that event so I can safely dispose of things from his work bench and garage.  

    I regaled my cousins with these stories of what relic I would find from the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s (believe me – of no value to anyone) and they would laugh with hilarity because they had been there, done that with all of their parents.  Phew!  Glad to know that my father isn’t insane, just a typical old man.

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